10 Ways to Weave Impact Into Your Vacation - URBANETTE: Lifestyle Magazine & Blog


10 Ways to Weave Impact Into Your Vacation

How to travel in style — the ethical way.


Rent a Mini

…Or just take public transportation. Why pay big bucks to fill up a gas-guzzler when a cozy little car will get you where you’re going just as well? Unless you’re planning to go off-roading, or going to a country with poor roads, an SUV is neither necessary nor eco-friendly. And there are many destinations that don’t require a vehicle at all. Get your thrills on a bike, explore the city’s subway, or experience your location on foot. Sure, it may take you seven times as long to get there, but isn’t it the journey that counts?

10 Ways to Weave Impact Into Your Vacation

Take the bus, not the elephant

Don’t Pay to Use Animals

Animals are often captured and kept in captivity, used to entertain tourists, fed junk food, or captured and used as transportation. In the process, many are killed or tortured, some species get closer to extinction, habitats and mating rituals are disrupted. More importantly, it’s a horrible and unnatural life for the animal, and by paying those who keep them in captivity, you’re encouraging other locals to quit their job, capture animals, and do the same.

So, the next time you or your tour guide is tempted to pull a turtle out of the water (which can break their fin, causing them to drown), or feed a monkey (which limits their diet and teaches them to beg instead of forage for food), or buy art painted by an elephant (which is kept captive and forced to learn to paint while being jabbed with burning-hot rods), speak up and protest. The more tourists voice their disapproval, the sooner these practices will stop.

10 Ways to Weave Impact Into Your Vacation

You don’t have to cramp your style to stay at eco-friendly resorts.

Sleep Green

Look for lodges and hotels accredited with the Green Seal Certification for environmentally responsible practices. It’s not such a horrifying idea to use your hotel towel twice, instead of consigning it to an extra energy-depleting wash cycle. In case you’re curious, there are a ton of resources, such as Green Key Global, that can help you find hotels, motels, and resorts committed to improving their eco-friendly performance.

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A writer, artist, and designer since she was young enough to put pencil to paper, Hilary taught herself code and created Urbanette when she was a teenager. Currently, she spends most of her time traveling around Europe, with pied-a-terre's in Zurich, London, Milan and Lyon, France. Hilary spent the past decade living in NYC, still considers herself a New Yorker, and visits regularly. She's always looking for hot new topics, destinations, and life hacks to bring to Urbanette readers.

Reader Discussion: 46 Comments

  1. Martha Tucker

    When we travel. We consciously and actively mind our carbon footprint. We choose to at least not leave garbage or anything that can harm the environment when we are on vacation. That means we carry our own reusable bags for groceries and all our trash are completely segregated and sent to a recycling plant.

  2. Great tips Hillary. As a Vegan, I appreciate the efforts to help local animal sanctuaries and not supporting whoever exploit animals. Traveling should enrich us culturally and spiritually, and respecting/supporting our exploration surroundings is a great souvenir to take home with us!

  3. Brett Lee

    Instead of taking the bus, how about using the city public bikes wherever possible. Best way to see a city. Also, rent bikes in other places for a more interesting view.

  4. Kathryn Gibson

    I love the idea of volunteering while traveling. Such a great idea.

  5. Eloise Ferris

    You always have such great photos in every article! I love the travel ones, especially.

  6. Genie Mackenzie

    I’m going to use this to teach the young people in my life — they’ll spread the word quickly, I’m sure. The younger generation really cares about these things. Gives me hope!

  7. Blanche Martina

    This is a great list. You make it seem so easy!

  8. Joss Butler

    Purchasing locally produced food is another eco-friendly travel advice. This is because locally grown food has less food miles and carbon footprint. If you could spare time, visiting the local market is also a good option.

  9. April Henry

    Smart points. Didnt realize about animals.

  10. Good timing for this one — I’m booking a trip today. 🙂

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