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Eco-Friendly Holidays: What to Do and Where to Go

By Bidvest Bank
We all need to consider the environment in everything we do these days, whether it’s choosing to recycle, buying a fuel-efficient vehicle or eating certain foods that don’t negatively impact the environment. But this awareness should extend to holidays too. With this in mind, we’ve rounded up some tips on how to prepare for an eco-friendly holiday, as well as a suggestion of where to go.

1. Choose your destination carefully

The reality is that most international holidays involving a long haul flight mean that you’re contributing negatively to climate change. If you want to minimise your carbon emissions and contribute to ecotourism, choose to travel somewhere closer to home. We have a multitude of unique destinations right here in South Africa, as well as many close by in neighbouring African countries. 

Great Plains Conservation is an organisation that blends conservation, communities and commerce together by specialising in “tourism experiences that are environmentally sound”. Zarafa Camp in Botswana is one such destination that some consider the “greenest luxury safari camp on the continent”. Only recycled hardwoods and canvas were used in its construction and all the camp’s electricity comes from its solar farm, while “bio gas” plants recycle waste into usable cooking gas.

2. Pack light

Heavier luggage means that the transport you’re using has to work harder to get you to your destination. So ditch those 11 pairs of shoes, pack some washing powder and only take a few changes of clothes that you can re-wear while you’re away.

3. Get your home ready

Turn off the geysers, ensure all lights are switched off and cancel any unnecessary subscriptions or services. This will not only help the environment, but it will also cut down on your bills!

4. Reuse

Instead of buying a new bottle of water wherever you go, pack a reusable one in your luggage and use that on your trip. Another eco-tourism tip is to take along a reusable shopping bag: find one you can use multiple times on your trip.

5. Choose how you’ll get there

If you can avoid flying to your destination, it’s preferable to drive in your car. Even better would be to take public transport like a train or bus, if that’s possible. Once you get there and are renting a car to get around, choose the smallest most fuel-efficient car possible. If you’re trying to have an eco-friendly holiday, you could also use taxis or other public transport while you’re away, as well as share transport with other hotel guests.

6. Be a responsible guest

Just because you’re on holiday, doesn’t mean you should forget about your environmental impact. Don’t leave the taps running, only turn on the air conditioning when necessary, don’t litter or feed wild animals and consider what impact your recreational activities will have on the environment too. 

7. Souvenirs

It may be tempting to take beautiful shells from the beach home with you, or exotic plants – but rather buy a souvenir that won’t affect the the environment. There are also various laws regarding the transportation of animal and plant life across borders that you may be breaking. Leave a positive environmental impact on the place you holidayed at, rather than a negative one.

With the Rand fluctuating often, it can be difficult to plan and budget for trips that involve using different currencies. That’s why the World Currency CardTM is an excellent option – it lets you pre-load your card with up to 17 currencies at a fixed rate, giving you peace of mind that your budget won’t be blown, and your memories of your eco-friendly holiday will be happy ones.