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“Sustainable tourism” is a buzzword that is often heard today; it implies that there is an environmental connection to this type of traveling. While sustainable tourism is concerned with making sure that visitors have a net-zero impact on the local environment, we can all take steps to make sure that our own traveling leaves as small of a footprint as possible on the local community.

Usually the most environmentally-impactful aspect of a vacation is the transportation to your destination. Jet engines let off an enormous amount of carbon exhaust into the atmosphere, introducing extremely harmful pollution in large quantities. Taking alternative methods of transportation like trains is a good way to maximize the per-person carbon footprint of your trip. Steps you can take to make your vacation more sustainable are often working towards offsetting the carbon footprint of a plane trip, getting back to as close to carbon-zero as possible.

The idea of leaving as small a footprint as possible comes into play with daily vacation life. Little things such as disposing of waste properly and using as few utility resources as possible can make a big difference in large tourism-driven locations. Patronizing locally-owned stores, restaurants, and other types of businesses creates less of a footprint by limiting the number of resources that it takes to get those goods and services to you. All together, it’s important for us to realize the impact that tourism has on our local (and global) environment, and to take steps to minimize that impact.