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.


Tour with the Locals

When booking tours, check out the credentials of the tour operators. Are they locals, or are they just visiting for the busy season and will take their money elsewhere to spend it? Does the tour guide on your bird tour have a formal education in Ornithology? Does the company do other anything to give back to the local community, or any conservation efforts? Pick one a company that really cares.

10 Ways to Weave Impact Into Your Vacation

Take eco-friendly tours with locals who care


Helping local charities is one of the most fulfilling and memorable experiences you can have — and it’s great to share on Facebook. Before you arrive, do some searches for local charities and animal shelters or projects. Talk to the concierge at your hotel and ask them to give you a list of volunteering opportunities. Once you arrive, ask around to find out what charities need help during the time you’re visiting.

10 Ways to Weave Impact Into Your Vacation

Travel to Thailand’s Chiang Mai Province and assist with the rehabilitation of elephants rescued from working in tourist camps.

Don’t Feed the Poachers

Many souvenirs in exotic places are made from endangered animal parts. Purchasing knickknacks made from ivory, reptile skins, tortoise shells and animal fur just encourages poachers to keep up their illegal practices. Not only that, but some items may be illegal to bring back to the US or Canada. So, unless you’re hoping for an aggressive patdown, stay away from animal-part souvenirs.

10 Ways to Weave Impact Into Your Vacation

Don’t support the people who are pushing animal species to extinction.

Don’t Eat (or Ride) the Animals

While turtle meat might sound exotic, because of tourist demand, many species of turtles are now going extinct. Riding an elephant might sound like a great Instagram photo-op, but that elephant was stolen from his mother as a baby and beaten for years to make him obey. Same goes for many other types of animals. If someone offers you an exotic meat to eat, or an animal to use, just say no.

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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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