By Spencer Hunter
Arizona State University
MAJR: Sustainable Tourism
One thing is for sure, you’re going to have a blast this Spring Break, but keeping a few things in mind can create a positive impact. While we know your college woes and concerns will be left far behind, here are MAJR’s top tips to have a great break and make the most of your time off.
Where You Go
The reigning kings of Spring Break destinations are places like Miami Beach, South Padre Island, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, and the Bahamas. Our generation is a creative one though, and with our growing ambition to help others, alternative Spring Breaks are also becoming increasingly popular. Instead of hitting the beachfront party scene, why not travel to some equally exotic destinations and volunteer? Ask about experiences through your school or check out International Volunteer HQ, where you can visit places like Mexico, Costa Rica, Bali, Thailand, and Brazil for the cost of your plane ticket and program costs as low as $200. The feeling of giving back to your global community is just as great or better than the fun of another beer pong championship.
How You Get There
Regardless of where you go, how you get there is definitely a factor for your costs and the impact it’ll have. Did you know for every gallon of fuel used to drive or fly, 20 pounds of carbon dioxide are released? If you’re hitting the highway for a classic road trip, we suggest taking a hybrid to cut down on both the costs of gas and your carbon footprint. If you’ll be flying, try renting a hybrid or electric car at your destination. If it’s a more popular beach or tourist community, a car might not be needed at all if you can walk or bike from your hotel.
Where You Stay
If you’re worried about the costs of being an eco-friendly traveler, one way to save some money is to share a hotel room with friends. For those going abroad, staying in hostels is the traditional way and it allows for a more social experience as you share dorms with other travelers.
Large hotel chains are typical to stay in but you can help out some locals by renting a room at a boutique hotel or a vacation home with private local owners. Do your research and be smart about where you’re staying, but locally owned accommodations are more likely to reinvest their money in the local communities rather than the large hotel corporations.
What You Do
Another way to help out the local communities is to try “Mom and Pop shops” to experience local culture and traditions. Leave your comfort bubble by trying authentic traditions and foods. You can eat McDonald’s or KFC any day back home, so try some street tacos in Mexico or the fresh fish of the Bahamas.
When you aren’t enjoying the international drinking age with a cold cerveza on the beach, partaking in activities with an environmentally low impact such as surfing, snorkeling, sight-seeing, biking, hiking, or trekking are all recommended. If you’re at the beach or out camping, picking up some trash and recycling can also make a difference.
Wherever you end up traveling to, your effort in sustainable tourism can have an impact in helping local environments, cultures, and economies. This Spring Break, take a small step in environmental stewardship and remember MAJR’s sustainable traveling tips!