Green Travel Getaway

By Nicole Dorsey Straff / September 14, 2011

Read this before you book your next Green Travel sustainable holiday. Richard G. Edwards, president of says there’s a ton of misinformation out there, so we asked him to narrow it down for us:

How do I know the places I want to visit are truly eco-friendly?

Pour over websites of the hotels, lodges, or tour operators you’re considering working with and examine their sustainability policies. Ask the staff relevant questions about their green programming, how it helps the environment or local community. A solid indication of a strong commitment to sustainability is obvious when everyone in the organization speaks enthusiastically about it. Start by monitoring news from the destination over a period of time, including hotels and lodges you’re considering for your trip.

How am I assured that my presence in a destination assists local economies in a sustainable way?

Are you eating fresh food that’s grown and produced locally by family-owned farms? Ask the front desk about water use and conservation, waste management and energy consumption. If you’re going through a travel agent, ask about plans for future development and the scale of that construction. Has the resort taken the time to train people from the local community as guides and staff? Asking the right questions and measuring the quality of the answers will provide clues.

Are there ways I can add sustainable value to my visit by giving back or volunteering?

One booming travel trend is called “voluntourism.” Several international non-profit organizations and reputable tour operators offer trips that combine sightseeing with volunteer service, performing worthy projects in developing countries or environmentally sensitive areas in the states. Earthwatch and the Sierra Club are non-profits with voluntour programs. If you’re hoping to just spend a morning or single day volunteering in the midst of a trip, find out what local schools need before you go.

Nicole Dorsey Straff

Nicole Dorsey Straff

Nicole Dorsey, M.S. is a travel and wellness expert who earned a Master’s Degree in the health sciences while writing and editing for industry giants, such as The New York Times, Fitness Magazine and Her true passion is adventure travel and her spa reporting has taken her all over the world.
Nicole Dorsey Straff

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