Published on March 30th, 2008 | by Stephanie Evans
International travel has long been considered a luxury. The pricey plane tickets, the time it takes to cross time zones and oceans, and the expense of transportation and accommodations all add up to an intimidating sum.
The recent rise in eco touring opportunities gives international adventurers unique alternatives when it comes to learning about a different culture. Many nature- and volunteer-based travel expeditions support the ideals of ecotourism. Some organizations and ecotourism programs create trips that make responsible travel possible and affordable for many would-be eco-tourists…
A couple of main concerns arise as tourists considering a trip to a non-commercialized international destination.
Protecting and fostering natural resources and other conservation efforts are of ecological concern. “Leave nothing behind” is a great motto for travelers striving to leave an area as untouched as possible by their presence.
Similarly important is the cultural part of the tourist equation—often, American tourists arrive in a foreign country with very American expectations. The combined disappointments of tourists and local community members can be difficult, if not downright damaging, and ecotourism supports leaving those expectations at home.
International ecotourism groups abound. Both nature-based trips and volunteer vacations are popular with eco-tourists, as they both offer challenging learning experiences in an interesting setting.
Research trip possibilities with the help of these eco-focused organizations:
Nature-based trips, like the ones found at Planeta.com, take place in many countries. Latin America is particularly rich with experiences that involve communing with the natural world while learning about various indigenous cultures of the local area. Australia and New Zealand also offer plenty of adventures in the broad expanses of beautiful rural areas that both countries boast.
Short-term volunteer trips offer eco-travelers a different kind of experience. Community service projects have long-term positive effects, for both globe-trotting participants and local communities. The Ecovolunteer Organization coordinates trips that give eco-tourists the opportunity to provide a valuable service to communities, ranging from elephant sanctuaries in Thailand to field stations in Bolivia committed to saving giant otters to project sites protecting orangutans in Indonesia.
See what the world holds with an eco-tour and share your experiences with others to promote and keep the sustainable travel industry alive. Whether your interests lay in service, in personal growth and education, or both, an eco-adventure is out there waiting…