Eco Vacations

By guest writer, Mike J

Go on eco vacations, if taking a break abroad is something you really must do.

Consider volunteering at places like the Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms (also known as Willing Workers on Organic Farms, or WWOOF). At such eco vacations, although you may have to use a lot of elbow grease (ie. get yourself moving around), but these might have been just what the doctor ordered!

Your volunteering will in turn help these green organisations (and may even help you reduce the guilt, and some of your carbon footprint, from travelling). Food and basic accommodation is supplied (which can help you reduce your holiday cost) and if you are normally desk-bound at work, a bit of hard graft might tone you up too! WWOOF holidays are about self exploration and a chance to learn something new – so try it. You might like it.

Besides such green destinations, there are also other going green tips for holidays that you can adopt when you travel. Read more.

Amongst the various forms of eco vacations, the one that comes to mind least is staycations (as it has come to be known in the modern parlance), ie. where people don't go abroad for their holidays.

A staycation essentially means that you do not leave your home country but find things to do (or not to do) in your country of origin.

It's not that far fetched really or unusual, it is only really with the advent of cheap (and polluting) flights that many of us really gained a taste for travelling abroad in the recent decades. In fact, in the 70s, for most people air travel would be the equivalent of a new car or several months of savings, but since the 90s, air travel became less expensive at times than rail travel.

A lot of this has changed in the past year. The current credit crunch has forced people to tighten their belts and even if flights are still reasonably priced, the amount of money most people expect to spend on their holidays abroad certainly puts a dent in the wallet. So from a financial perspective the staycation is not such a bad idea.

Also, eco vacations like staycation can be good for the soul as well. Not only are some vacations costly, they can be exhausting as well. How many times have you heard someone come back from a holiday and say they need another holiday to get over the recent one? And there’s also other issues. People often come back to work knowing they will need to do plenty of overtime to pay for the trips they have had (making them more stressed and desperate for the next holiday). It's part of the vicious circle of commercialism. The solution can be an eco vacation, like staycations, which can be a more relaxed one.

And very importantly, staycation can help you reduce your carbon footprint. Taking the plane is the most harmful when it comes to carbon footprints. In other words, opt for local holidays if you can.

But aren’t eco vacations like staycation a bit mundane for a break away from work?

To some people, a staycation can be pretty un-eventful – for some, it might literally mean to stay home and play video games endlessly, or watch TV and spend nights downing the local boozer. While these activities don't add up a lot to the carbon footprint (compared to the flights), they don't really serve to inspire either.

You can actually learn to make the best of your staycation. Plan in advance. Make the most of the local attractions, events and places of interest in your local area. Visit the places you have always wanted to go, like the museum, historic buildings, or even take a walk at the park or nature reserve.

Or book a room at your local resort, and relax with your loved ones by the beach for a couple of days. Such versions of eco vacations might even help you to build closer bonds with your loved ones, as you spend quality time (in a relaxed mode) with them.

Make the most of your local entertainment too. Take the kids to the cinema, or take your partner out for a romantic meal in a nice restaurant. Try our new sports as a family, for example, golf, paint-ball, or even go bowling.

The trick is to do something meaningful with your time off, rather than let the time slip away doing everyday mundane things like watching TV. Remember, whether it is a holiday abroad or locally, advanced planning is very important.

May you have enjoyable, affordable and green eco vacations ahead!

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