BOISE – Ecotourism, or sustainable travel, is becoming more popular as families plan trips with a reduced impact on local communities.

“With Earth Day just around the corner, what better time to start thinking about simple ways to enjoy a vacation while protecting these beautiful places for future generations to enjoy,” says AAA Idaho public affairs director Matthew Conde.  “The good news is that many of the elements of sustainable travel aren’t just ecofriendly – they enrich the experience.  It truly is a win-win.”

AAA Sustainable Travel Tips

  • Travel in the “shoulder season.”  You’ll avoid putting extra strain on local resources, and you’ll also avoid some of the big crowds!
  • Book non-stop flights whenever possible.  A lot of fuel is burned during takeoffs and landings.
  • Consider a tour with shuttle vans and buses instead of a rental car, or walk and bike to explore your destination if possible.  Carefully route your trip to eliminate unnecessary backtracking.
  • Eat at restaurants and buy souvenirs that support the local supply chain and the local economy.
  • Participate in hotel linen policies that don’t change towels and bedding every day during an extended stay.
  • Pack re-usable water bottles and other containers, and eat at sit-down restaurants to avoid extra packaging.
  • Leave items in their natural environment.  Please don’t disturb natural or cultural wonders by leaving designated trails or areas, or by dis-regarding rules on where you can be.  The quest for a perfect photo could easily damage fragile plant life.

“Eco-friendly travel is all about leaving a destination better than you found it,” Conde said.  “You can participate in a local clean-up or planting activity, but please remember that you don’t need to take part in an organized event to make a difference.  When individuals and families show appreciation for a destination by making a few simple adjustments, it creates an amazing ripple effect that benefits everyone.”