With 87 percent of us feeling overworked, one way to reduce that work-life imbalance is to take a break – both for the body and the mind.
As you plan your 2013 vacations, you might consider “responsible tourism” or “eco tourism” – a way to give your getaway a bit of added inspiration and immersion, helping you to escape and treating you to new experiences that give relief to the mind.
Lara Solomon of ResponsibleTravel.com says it’s one way to travel that is based on authentic, local experiences “rooted in local communities, cultures, and environments – responsible tourism is not more expensive than other forms of tourism.”
Responsible Tourism Tips
Conservation International gives these sustainable travel how-to’s to maximize the benefits:
- Travel with respect: learn a bit about the culture and language before you travel. You’ll appreciate your time there more, as well as gaining local respect.
- Give gifts: if you will be staying with a family or in a family owned hotel in a foreign country, ask the tour operator if there are useful gifts you could pack for your hosts, the local people, or local schools
- Ask about social or conservation projects: mix the fun with doing good by looking into local conservation or social projects and learning how you might support those efforts on your trip.
Places to Go
Northern Lights Winter Holiday – Lapland
The aim of the trip is to give you the best chance of seeing the Northern Lights – and they give you a cell phone with an immediate text message if the lights appear. The trip’s stay is in a family run hotel with husky safaris across frozen lakes, a visit to a reindeer farm with sleigh rides, snowshoe excursions, and an authentic teepee dinner. More at www.responsibletravel.com.
Receiving Gold Eco-rating Certification status from Ecotourism Kenya, Elephant Pepper Camp is a wilderness safari experience in Kenya, Africa. The camp is semi-permanent and is situated within the Mara North Conservancy away from permanent lodges – essentially, you’re out with the animals for an authentic stay but you still get the luxuries of toilets, “safari” showers, and furnished rooms within canvas tents complete with bed turndown service. You eat outside in the fresh air, enjoy daylong drives to view wildlife, and have nighttime African entertainment. http://www.elephantpeppercamp.com/
Local Culture via Stateside
You don’t have to go to another country to frequent local culture. Pick any town or city in the United States and there’s bound to be a bed and breakfast inn that will not only contribute to the small business, local economy but also give you a home-like atmosphere. http://www.tripadvisor.com/ is a great resource for locating bed and breakfast establishments, along with ratings. Last time my husband and I were at a B&B, we were served a delicious breakfast and then given insider tips on enjoying the local area. For example, the Vintage Towers Bed and Breakfast Inn near Sonoma, California has family style breakfasts, proprietors that have insider tips on surrounding vineyards, and nearby walking and jogging trails.
The International Tourism Society is another resource for finding eco travel companies and trips.
Photos by: theaurorazone.com and Vintage Towers Bed and Breakfast Inn