One of the growing trends in travel is eco-tourism. When you take an eco-vacation, you have the chance to see an interesting environment in a way that is sustainable (depending on what you are doing to offset the impact of the travel undergone to arrive at your destination).
An eco-vacation can give you the chance to view other cultures, as well as amazing scenery that should be protected as part of the earth’s biosphere. However, because of the nature of an eco-vacation, you might run into some safety issues.
In order to reduce the chance of mishaps on what should be an awesome adventure of a lifetime, here are 5 tips to employ as part of eco-vacation:
1. Learn and Obey the Rules
One of the first things you should do is understand the rules of your vacation. Many eco-vacations are operated as tours and expeditions. Listen to your guide, and stick with the rules. In many cases, the rules are in place for a reason — and that reason is your protection. You might be involved in potentially dangerous activities, from zip-lining to rock climbing to hiking in remote areas to seeing dangerous animals. Follow instructions, and stick to the path.
2. Find Out about Local Law, Custom, and Culture
Don’t be an ignorant traveler. Find out what you can ahead of time about local law, custom, and culture. Learn what offenses can result in trouble with the law, and try to avoid causing trouble. You can learn a few greetings in the local language, and you will be more respected as you travel. If you try to stay on the right side of local practices, you will be less likely to be in danger from the law.
3. Carry Supplies
Make sure that you have water with you, as well as portable, non-perishable food. You don’t know when inconvenience will strike, and drinkable water, as well as food like granola bars, trail mix, and dried fruit can make a difference. It also makes sense to know basic survival skills.
Don’t forget First Aid supplies, and understand basic First Aid practices.
4. Don’t Bother the Animals
It wasn’t exactly eco-tourism, but I frequently think about a scene that played out in Yellowstone National Park when my family went once. We saw a woman walk up to a bison and begin prodding it. The animal was dozing in the sun, and she wanted a picture of a standing, alert bison, and didn’t listen to the warnings of others. She didn’t figure on the bison being a wild animal (although one used to humans). You can probably guess what happened next — and it wasn’t pretty for that woman.
Don’t approach animals, and always remember that you are in the wild. They are majestic and beautiful to look at, but many of them can also be dangerous and deadly. Even an animal we consider docile and cute, like a deer or a chimp, can deal serious damage.
5. Keep Communications Open
Find out what communication options you have while you are out. Will your cell phone get reception? Do you know what to do if you get separate from your party? Also, make sure that your loved ones know your itinerary, and when you expect to get back. Arrange for regular check-in as well. That way, if something is wrong, your loved ones will know sooner and can alert the proper authorities.