As the world opens back up after lockdown, I think travel destinations are taking a look at how they can guide visitors to be more thoughtful in their choices as they travel anywhere, but especially climate sensitive locations like Hawaii. Recently, I met with representative from both the islands of Kauai and Maui – and they had some great insights. My family visited Maui over a decade ago, and I know I would do some things differently (like not go over Christmas!) if I ever go again.
Mindful travel means being conscious of our actions and making choices that minimize harm to the environment and local communities. Here are some simple tips on how to do visit Hawaii without hurting the environment.
List of Tips for Mindful Travel to Hawaii
- Respect Nature: Hawaii is known for its stunning natural beauty, from pristine beaches to lush rainforests. As visitors, we must respect the natural environment by avoiding littering, staying on designated trails, and not disturbing wildlife. Avoid taking any souvenirs, such as shells or rocks, as it can harm the delicate ecosystems.
- Choose Sustainable Accommodations: When booking accommodations, look for eco-friendly and sustainable options. There are many eco-lodges, resorts, and hotels in Hawaii that prioritize sustainability through practices like water conservation, waste reduction, and renewable energy sources. Support these establishments to encourage sustainable practices in the tourism industry.
- Reduce Plastic Use: Plastic pollution is a major threat to Hawaii’s marine life and ecosystems. Avoid single-use plastics such as plastic bottles, straws, and bags. Instead, bring your reusable water bottle, cloth bags, and reusable straw to reduce your plastic footprint.
- Use Sustainable Transportation: Consider using sustainable transportation options such as public transportation, biking, or walking to explore the islands. If you rent a car, choose a fuel-efficient vehicle and carpool with other travelers to reduce carbon emissions. Avoid off-road driving, respect traffic rules, and practice responsible parking. No need to be that crazy tourist blocking the local’s access to their home or work!
- Conserve Water: Hawaii is a tropical destination with limited freshwater resources. Be mindful of your water usage by taking short showers, turning off faucets while brushing your teeth, and reusing towels and linens. Respect any water use restrictions or guidelines provided by your accommodations to help conserve water.
- Volunteer During Your Trip: Volunteer tourism, also known as voluntourism, is a form of travel that combines volunteering with tourism. It involves individuals or groups volunteering their time and skills to engage in community-based projects or initiatives with a unique cultural immersion experience. What a great way to give back. It may also be a way to save money, depending on if accommodations are provided!
- Support Local Culture and Communities: This is one of the most important tips, of course. Hawaii has a rich cultural heritage, and it’s important to respect and support their communities. Learn about the history, traditions, and customs of the Hawaiian people and be mindful of local sensitivities. Support local businesses, artisans, and farmers by buying locally-made products and dining at restaurants that use locally-sourced ingredients.
By practicing mindful travel in Hawaii, we can protect the environment, support local communities, and ensure that future generations can continue to enjoy the beauty of the Hawaiian Islands. Remember to always leave nature as you found it and be a responsible and respectful traveler to minimize your impact and help preserve Hawaii’s natural treasures.
Photos provided by The Hawaii Tourism Authority
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