Sustainable Travel

The environment and our ever changing world continues to subtly present unique opportunities for us travelers to play a special part in the way we travel while conscientiously participating in conservational efforts to help sustain eco-friendly tourism so our future generations will still have a pleasant world to enjoy when we are gone. This does not mean we have to go completely “green” or join an “eco-club”, but at the very least, considering a few of the following ideas before, during and after our journeys abroad will certainly help.

  • Buy local – help reduce fossil fuel emissions through supporting local vendors, farmers and crafts people who grow their own food and create their own goods without relying on importation from far flung places.
  • If going on a tour seek out eco-friendly tour operators who practice sustainable travel and give back to their local communities.
  • Know the regulations and special concerns for the area(s) you’ll visit.
  • Help preserve the past and leave what you find. It’s those all-too-memorable words we heard as kids – “Don’t touch!” Funny how this still applies if we want to continue protecting against the degradation of our cultural and historical artifacts and structures including the environment.
  • Respect the wildlife – observe wildlife from a distance so they don’t feel threatened, and avoid feeding them because it alters their natural behaviors and can make them susceptible to predators while relying on human handouts.

Tourism is probably the world’s largest industry, so its global impact is huge. Being aware of some or even one of the prior points can ensure that our planet and its inhabitants receive proper attention needed for dealing with the issues at hand. There are many important ingredients in the overall travel experience which actually reside in what we consume while traveling. Eating, drinking, and buying mementos and other goods and services help define our concept of this travel experience. And, although at times, it may be tempting to buy from the larger corporate restaurants and bigger department stores, it can be more rewarding to support the local artisans, merchants, and smaller eateries, ultimately contributing to the quality of their lives while minimizing the use of natural resources and toxic materials for foreign production and the importation of similar goods.

Take the master woodcarvers from Fiji for instance; they create beautiful hand-made wood art which includes the ceremonial drinking bowls called tanoa. When a visitor tries to decide between the purchase of a local product and a foreign one of similar like it’s good to consider how the latter choice can negatively affect the locals and their economy, plus it is nice to know that spending money instead with local farmers, villagers and small business owners will encourage cultures to remain intact and keep the places we love to visit from changing or spoiling.

Also included in this month’s itinerary is Sydney, Australia, which is a prime example of a city on pursuit to battle climate change and develop a sustainable future. Sydney will host 1000 international experts for the first World Congress of the Renewable City in 2009. And for each of us, there are a number of ways that our traveling ways can reward our surroundings and contribute positively to the regions and native lands we choose to visit.

Taking a “volunteer trip” is an alternative way to pass through the world where both the traveler and the locals get to experience the many benefits in providing help to both people and areas in need. There are many companies that offer these “reality tours”, which are aimed at giving back to the societies we enjoy visiting.

Our November air special includes Nadi (Fiji), Sydney (Australia), Bangkok (Thailand), and Johannesburg (South Africa) with an additional stop in either New York or Los Angeles. When choosing our travel destinations we should consider how our decisions can have a positive or negative effect on the inhabitants and countries we visit. Perhaps considering some of these ideas in our next around-the-world or other multi-stop international trip will add even more value to the journey that waits. You can plan and price a multi-stop international flight using our AirTreks® TripPlanner and also utilize our personal travel consultants for routing and travel advice and for customizing a well equipped travel itinerary before departing. If you have questions please call us at 1-877-AIRTREKS (+1.415.977.7100 outside North America) and remember to mention this newsletter. Thanks for reading.

Safe and happy times traveling!

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