And if you do like traveling, be advised, you DO have a responsibility. Because we are all indebted to this world, and we all are obligated to do our best to take care of it. You may not always realize it, but traveling - while economically positive for the regions you visit - can and does have a carbon footprint, and sometimes, a conservation footprint, that we must be aware of. And we must try to offset those negative impacts as much as we can if we wish to preserve these amazing experiences not just for ourselves and our children, but for our children’s children. Luckily, a little bit of help now can go a long way, and you don’t necessarily need to stray from your relaxing, fun, and fast-paced itinerary to help do a little good on your next vacation.
See, lots of people want to travel and help conserve and protect our natural environment, but not all of us want to commit to a full volunteer trip - we want to feel like we’re on “vacation,” but still doing some good, and supporting a good cause. So how do we accomplish that? Well, here are just a few ideas to get you started. Have fun on your holiday, be mindful, and rest easy knowing your fun-filled travels also helped make the world a better, more vibrant and verdant place.
1.) Save the Elephants While Touring Africa on Horseback
A horseback safari is a must-do bucket list item for many, and for good reason! Few experiences in this world match the sheer exhilaration of galloping alongside giraffe, elephants, gazelle, buffalo, and more across a wide and majestic savannah. Getting close to mighty elephants has never been so personal and awe-inspiring.
Sounds cool right? Well luckily, you can go on a horseback safari and get up close and personal with the world’s largest land mammals, and help protect them from poachers at the same time! One way is to sign up with an official horseback riding event, like this one from last year (these sorts of things go on all the time, so Google it!): http://writinghorseback.com/2015/03/save-an-elephant-journey-to-africa/
But you don’t have to wait for an event to get out there and ride along the elephants your tourism dollars are helping to protect. You can book a tour with any responsible operators who donate proceeds to conservation charities, like this one that comes highly recommended.
There’s a rainforest in Canada? Canada? Yup, and a huge one too, just brimming with wildlife. Stretching from northern Vancouver Island all the way to the Alaskan border, this is one of the world’s largest and most pristine rainforests, containing merely a fraction of a percentage of Vancouver’s human population. It is also home to bald eagle, salmon, and the incredibly elusive and mysterious white bear that roams the spruce-filled forests.
So how do you get those tourism dollars into the Great Bear Rainforest? Try one of the awesome adventures available via Maple Leaf Adventures. We recommend sailing and camping along the coast to really take in all the best sights!
3.) Help protect Gorillas with a trek from a low-impact camp
Seeing gorillas in their natural mountain habitat has been on many an adventurer’s bucket list since “Gorillas in the Mist”came out. And now’s as crucial a time to make the trip as ever: Rwandan and Ugandan gorillas are still at risk and more and more human encroachment and development of their land threatens their existence.
This trip in the Congo costs a good amount of money, but for the experience it is well worth it. over the course of six nights your experienced guides will take you hiking and camping through the wilderness and get you closer than you’ve ever dreamed to these amazing animals.
For more low impact treks, consider working with a reputable gorilla tours safari operator like this one.
4.) Protect Tigers in India with a 19-day trip
This is probably the most expensive trip on this list, but it’s well worth it. Wildland Tours offers this trip in India, tracking and viewing surreal Bengal tigers in their own home - as well as countless other species, such as sloths, swamp deer, and birds - over the course of 19 (!) days.
You won’t be roughing it for the 19 days, however - the tour includes stays at multiple eco-lodges, as well as sightseeing days that bring you to some of the region’s most popular tourist attractions such as the Taj Mahal. A portion of the proceeds will go to tiger conservation efforts in India.
5.) Visit Denali and Get Your Carbon Footprint 100% Offset with Natural Habitat Adventures
Sort of like the Great Bear Rainforest mentioned above, Denali National Park is an amazingly large and diverse wilderness filled with incredible animals - some of whom are vulnerable or threatened by human development and climate change.