12 Tips for Your New Years Resolution in Travel

12 Tips for Your New Years Resolution in Travel


For most travelers, the beginning of a new year often brings the inspiration to plan a bigger adventure than the year before. As our experience in traveling grows, so too does our desire to find a place more diverse, more thrilling (or relaxing!), or more exotic. While these are great intentions, if we don't travel consciously we may end up doing more harm than good. That's why TIES has collected our top twelve travel tips for a New Year's resolution of sustainable travel. 

Pre-Travel tips:

  • Do your research. Choose a location that hasn't been strained by tourism, such as the once pristine Macchu Pichu in Peru. Instead, find a place that has been relatively unaltered by crowds of people, and one that has a commitment to maintaining the integrity of the site you're visiting. We suggest a place like Costa Rica, where the diverse landscapes including tropical rain forests and active volcanoes provide unique wildlife encounters. 
  • Choose a green hotel. There are hundreds of ecolodges, resorts, and rustic opportunities that won't leave a negative impact on the environment. Things to consider when choosing a hotel: is the establishment staffed by local residents, and does the hotel take steps to ensure sustainability in its selection of food, energy resources, and other consumption practices? You can find great deals on responsible accomodations on the TIES EcoAuction webpage.
  • Whenever possible try to stay in a place that has undergone a certification program. It's very easy for hotels to market their business as "eco-" or "sustainable" to attract consumers; but those with certifications are genuinely responsible businesses, tour operators, or service providers.

While you're there:

  • Be prepared when traveling so you don't leave a trail of plastic water bottles behind you. Travelers Against Plastic (TAP) estimates roughly 3.4 million plastic water bottles are used by American travelers each year. This can be avoided by bringing your own canteen and water purification filters, such as the Steripen. The Steripen uses UV technology to kill 99.9% of bacteria, viruses, and other protozoan cysts. It has been used in the most remote locations and has proven effective time after time.
  • Buy local and bring your own bag! Aside from the ecological damage that plastic bag pollution leaves on the earth, most places charge you to use one of their plastic bags. Skip the hassle and bring your own while shopping. Buying local souvenirs is also a great way to not only embrace your surroundings, but it helps the local economy thrive. 
  • Take the train, bus, bike or walk! These options not only save energy and money, but they allow you to see more of the place you're visiting. Your money remains in the local economy and you get to spend more time with the locals. It's a win/win. 

While on an Excursion:

  • Choose an adventure that allows you to learn about the community you're experiencing. Many ecolodges offer tours and trips that teach visitors about their local customs, history, and traditions. It enriches your experience and allows you to gain a deeper understanding of the region you're in. Bonus points: find a tour operator that is affiliated with TIES. This is a good indication that they have met several important factors of being an ecologically responsible business. 
  • Stay on marked trails. A major contributor to site disintegration is due to thousands of people walking the same trails you've picked out. It's imperative to protect these trails, as well as the flora and fauna found on them, while we enjoy the sights so future generations can enjoy them too. 
  • Never feed or go near the wildlife. Enjoy it from a safe distance. Aside from protecting natural biodiversity and the health of species, many economies rely on their wildlife and wouldn't want any unnatural contributor to play a part in its decline. In fact, you can plan an entire trip around wildlife encounters. For instance a trip to Saruni Samburu, a design lodge located on the Kalama Conservancy, will give you unprecedented views of wildlife and 200,000 acres of unspoiled land to explore exclusively. 

Cultural Sustainability:

  • Foster and respect the cultural heritage of the place you're visiting. Choose excursions run by locals to areas of great historical impact. Tours that offer interpretation of their customs and traditions will give you the best benefit of learning something while on vacation.
  • If a region or community has a locally scarce resource, don't use it. Or try to limit your use of it as much as possible. An ongoing dilemma in this field is the issue of water scarcity in many places. This relates to our point above, bring your own water bottle and water purifcation device to ensure you're not impeding on the community. 
  • The best way to preserve a culture is to learn about it. Set aside a portion of one of your days to really delve into the community. Learn about the cuisine of the region, the recipes and ingredients used to make traditional dishes, or just enjoy a drink with the locals. You'll be so glad you did. Lauren Melde


About TIES

As the world's oldest and largest international ecotourism association, TIES seeks to be the global source of knowledge and advocacy uniting communities, conservation, sustainable travel..




> The International Ecotourism Society 



The Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference will highlight global challenges and local opportunities, supporting sustainable development of tourism and promoting solutions that balance conservation, communities and sustainable travel.

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