The United Nations has named 2017 the “International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.” That means minimizing the negative effects of tourism on local communities and environments. But doing so isn’t always a simple process—especially in a culture where we too often value expediency and savings over quality and authenticity. But traveling sustainably doesn’t mean giving up all the fun of travel. With a little know-how and forethought, you can plan the vacation of a lifetime that you can also feel good about. Here are some easy tips for making a positive impact along your travels.
1. Always do your research in advance.
You can’t know which tourism practices are good and which ones bad if you don’t do your due diligence. And actually, there are plenty of organizations doing the heavy lifting for you: Sites such as Responsible Travel, BookGreener, Global Travel Press, and Rainforest Alliance all exist to help tourists plan vacations that support local industry, protect the environment, and give back to the communities people are visiting.