While lots of tour companies are becoming more sustainable and reducing their carbon footprints, there are many travelers who still prefer to explore the world solo. Guidebook companies have answered travelers’ pleas, as the Washington Post recently noted:
The new responsible and ethical travel guides, including Lonely Planet‘s recent “Code Green: Experiences of a Lifetime“… aims to give readers a way to judge the sustainability of operations from lodges to wildlife treks. In a world where commercial enterprises are increasingly eager to tout their eco-tourist credentials, these specialty books help travelers distinguish environmental ventures from orchestrated PR.
Some publishers, such as the U.K.’s Rough Guides and Australia’s Lonely Planet, have integrated the concept into all their books and Web sites. They urge readers to reduce their global warming emissions and compensate for those they generate over the course of a vacation. Both companies’ Web sites have a feature allowing visitors to calculate the global warming impact of any given trip and then donate money to Climate Care, a British group that compensates for carbon emissions by funding initiatives that cut greenhouse gases. Every Rough Guide, moreover, contains a section urging travelers to stay longer in a given location to minimize their climate impact.
The guidebook companies are careful to practice what they preach: Lonely Planet’s Code Green: Experiences of a Lifetime is printed on 100% recycled paper and uses soy-based inks. Also be sure to check out the company’s “Is Your Holiday Green – Or Just Greenwash?” and its “Pick and Mix” PDF chapters for South America, Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. This spring, Fodor’s is also publishing Green Travel: The World’s Best Eco-Lodges & Earth-Friendly Hotels, which will feature reviews of 100 hand-picked eco-lodges around the world.
So, whether you prefer Lonely Planet, Fodors, Rough Guides, or any other guidebook, it’s likely your favorite trusted travel companion is turning green (and if it’s not, then it is at least green with envy).
Photo: Lonely Planet‘s Code Green: Experiences of a Lifetime