The past few years have been full of global enlightenment, with a heavy focus on sustainability and change. This intense interest has even modified the way people travel. Where people once looked at vacation as an escape from responsibility, some now see it as a way to further philanthropic growth and improve the places they visit, leaving no trace behind.
One Arizona company is taking ecotourism to levels beyond minimalist trips and glamping. Green Travel Queen is assisting its clients in booking unique life experiences. Danielle Coletto founded her agency nine years ago on a mission to change the way her clients vacation.
Coletto began her career 13 years ago as an event planner specializing in destination weddings. Starting Green Travel Queen was born out of necessity.
“I was always referring my wedding couples to a separate business for their flights and accommodations,” she says. “I knew I could plan all the details, including the travel, so I started Green Travel Queen.”
She still runs her event planning business, Events by Danielle, but she is now a one-stop shop, fueled by her passion to see the world and live as sustainably as possible, while helping others to do the same.
Green Travel Queen takes pride in creating custom vacations through everything from transportation to lodging and service activities.
“People don’t want to pick up trash or volunteer while they’re on a trip,” Coletto says. “But I can plan excursions and outings that maintain the fun while helping out in the destination.”
That could be as simple as bringing boxes of pencils to schools in Cuba, where they are much needed and appreciated, or planning visits to assist in schools or orphanages.
“Any trip can be eco-conscious,” says Coletto. “Even if it’s just bringing along a case of water for areas where it’s not as readily available.”
Coletto also wants travelers to know that even in the most pristine places, there are areas that need help within the surrounding communities and landscapes, leaving plenty of opportunity for an eco-conscious vacation experience.
“In places like Bali, you see resorts with perfectly clean beaches, with crystal-clear water, and pure white sand, but nearby there are areas littered with bottles and a ton of trash,” she says. “People don’t realize this reality and this is where we, as tourists, can help out and give back to the places we visit.”
Eco-conscious travel can easily make a wonderful vacation into something wonderfully fulfilling and life-changing, and it can be as simple as how you pack. Coletto’s basic tips for planning an eco-friendly trip are:
Especially when flying. “The heavier the suitcase, the heavier the plane, the more fuel is used. Lightening the load truly does help reduce your carbon footprint.”
Research and Plan
Every destination has needs and programs for eco-tourism activities. Bring along a trash bag to help keep hiking trails or beaches clean and safe. Or pack some children’s books to donate to area shelters.
If you can drive to your destination, do it, advises Coletto. It leaves a much smaller carbon footprint than flying. Driving is also a great way to see and explore more and bond with traveling companions.
Coletto also advises travelers to verify their accommodations are green certified. “Find a hotel that is eco-conscious or has green certifications,” she advises. “Most hotels will make mention of that on their websites.”
For more information about booking an eco-travel friendly vacation, visit www.greentravelqueen.com.