When it comes to planning a holiday, some people like nothing more than to sit scouring the internet for hours, maybe sometimes days or weeks, in an attempt to find the perfect holiday. Others find it a right pain in the neck. And when you’re desperately trying to be responsible and uphold your eco-friendly beliefs, finding a tour company that can prove their practices are genuinely green can be daunting.
Too many unethical companies are quick to jump on the eco band-wagon and freely brandish their vacations as being eco-friendly when in fact the closest they’ve ever been to green is dreaming about the colour of their money.
So to help you help yourselves when planning an eco trip, Ecotourism Logue has come up with a few tips and tricks to help you find a company that is true blue in the green stakes.
Top Tips for Finding a Tip Top Eco Travel Company
Tip 1 Decide on country
Decide which country you’d like to go to first. This will narrow down your choice of travel companies as most of them cater for specific destinations. And always consider the road less travelled to ensure your impact is kept to a minimum.
Tip 2 Decide on type of holiday
Once you’ve decided where you’re going, then figure out what you’d like to do. If you’re not sure, do a bit of research on the internet to see what is available in the country you’ve chosen. Do you want an adventure holiday, a volunteer holiday that involves working with local communities or a plan bog-standard all-about-you break (in an environmentally sound hotel or lodge of course)?
Tip 3 Investigate Company
When you know what you’d like to do start investigating companies online. There are very few travel agents on the high streets that concentrate on eco-friendly packages but if you’re lucky enough to know one, book an appointment and have a chat with them one-on-one so you get more ideas. On the other hand, too many ideas can make your decision harder so be sure to have a set agenda before you meet with them. After all, travel agents are sales people and work on commission so are experts at coercing travellers into taking holidays they had no intention of booking.
Tip 4 Use online forums
Decided on a few travel companies that might be able to offer you a perfect eco trip? Then do a little digging. Online communities and forums are a great way to find out information about holidays and companies from people who have already been there or used the company. Review websites can be useful but be wary of them as they are extremely subjective and more often than not are used by disgruntled customers who want to complain, so their number far outweighs those who were happy with the experience.
Tip 5 Book a small group tour
The travel industry is the biggest industry in the world and believe it or not, still growing; fast. People are earning more than they used to and many travellers are no longer content with visiting countries in their own continent. Television, books, guidebooks, the internet, all greatly influence people’s travel decisions as information has become more readily available. This means there are more people travelling to destinations that were once frequented by few travellers. The impact of visiting hoards on certain destinations has resulted in their demise. Booking a tour with a company that specialises in small group travel will ensure your impact is kept to a minimum.
Tip 6 Check tour frequencies
Check how many times a year the company makes trips to specific destinations. It may be better to book a trip with a slightly larger group if the tours occur only a few times a year rather than going with a company that promotes smaller groups but operates a few tours every week, all year round.
Tip 7 Ask for the tour company’s green credentials
A good green tour company will more than likely have their eco credentials listed on their website or show approved eco accreditation. If you’re booking accommodation, the same should apply.
- Whether they employ locals in their business.
- Whether you will have the chance to stay in family-run accommodations as part of the trip?
- Do the locals benefit from the tour?
- Is money ploughed back into the local economy?
- Does the tour operator work to minimize the impact of the vast numbers fed through their company?
Tip 8 Wait and book tour abroad with locals
Don’t book your tour online or in a travel agent, wait until you arrive at your destination and book a tour run by locals. It will guarantee the money generated will go back into the local economy and you’ve done your bit for ecotourism.