The Green Traveler: 5 Eco-Friendly Destinations to Visit This Year

The principles of eco-tourism are continually rising in popularity as the world becomes more environmentally conscious. Many tourists now seek eco-friendly activities and accommodation during their travels as a way of protecting the communities they visit. You can enjoy a much richer travel experience knowing that your presence isn’t harming the environment nor the wellbeing of the locals.

Certain countries are leading the way regarding eco-tourism, making it a top priority to unite conservation, local communities, and responsible travel. Here are some of the best eco-friendly destinations to visit this year…

New Zealand

Over the years, New Zealand has worked hard to protect its spectacular natural beauty and wildlife by practising sustainable travel. New Zealand offers an abundance of eco-friendly tours and activities, including bird-watching, dolphin and whale-watching, and nature cruises.

One of my favourite places to see wildlife up close is the Otago Peninsula. Located in Dunedin, the Otago Peninsula is rightfully recognised as the wildlife capital of New Zealand, and offers a unique opportunity to see the world’s only mainland breeding colony of Royal Albatross.

I’d also recommend a visit to the Glowworm Caves. Set in the Waikato Region, this tour showcases an incredible light display of thousands of glowworms inside the Waitomo Caves. The experience of watching this light show is truly magical, and one you cannot find anywhere else in the world.

Photography courtesy of Alex Siale for Unsplash

Samoa

Samoa is one of the most naturally beautiful destinations in the South Pacific. The islands of Samoa are comprised of gorgeous reefs, beaches, and lush rainforests occupied by crystal waterfalls and breathtaking gorges. Eco-tourism is widely embraced in Samoa, where responsible tour operators are regulated and are proud to protect Samoa’s delicate environment, economy, and marine life. These tours are also supported by many of Samoa’s eco-friendly hotels. The eco-friendly accommodation options in Samoa ensure that tourists have a unique travel experience without compromising the welfare of the environment.

Photograph courtesy of Moon for Unsplash

Iceland

Iceland’s breathtaking scenic beauty has made it a bucket-list destination for many travellers who are enthusiastic about ‘nature tourism’ (look it up!). The dramatic landscape has a form unlike anywhere else on earth, made up of volcanoes, lava fields, hot springs, and geysers.  

Iceland boasts a well-deserved reputation as one of the most environmentally-conscious countries in the world. Over the years, the country’s government has continued to fight against ocean pollution, and actively promotes the use of hydroelectrical and geothermal resources for heat and electricity production, particularly in the nation’s capital city, Reykjavik.

You can find one of Iceland’s most amazing eco-friendly activities in the town of Húsavík, where you can go whale-watching in an electric-powered ship named Opal. Opal was designed and built over half a century ago as a trawler, and has now been converted to operate carbon free and cause the least amount of noise disturbance to the whales. Even though Opal runs on electricity, it is rigged like a beautiful, traditional sailing ship, and can even recharge its batteries at sea when the ship is under sail.

Photograph courtesy of Giuseppe Mondì for Unsplash

Costa Rica

Costa Rica has been yet another primary leader of the eco-tourism movement. This small yet captivating corner of Central America currently produces 95% of its electricity from renewable resources, with a goal to become the first carbon-neutral country by 2020. Costa Rica has over 12 main ecosystems, which is said to take up 5% of the world’s biodiversity. With a growing selection of eco-lodges situated in mountains, volcanic regions, and alongside national parks, Costa Rica is an ideal destination for the green traveller.

Photograph courtesy of Max Boettinger for Unsplash

Norway

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Norway is often voted as one of the best places in the world to live. The essence of its appeal lies largely in its natural beauty and outdoor adventures like cliff-climbing, hiking, and kayaking. This Scandinavian country is indeed powered by nature, as its official slogan claims. There is so much to see and explore here, from mountains and glaciers to deep coastal fjords and waterfalls. Norway is dedicated to preserving its amazing landscape, with many green initiatives working towards responsible tourism.

Photograph courtesy of Mikita Karasiou for Unsplash

If you are looking for inspiring, eco-friendly destinations to explore and gain a greater appreciation for the world’s precious environment, New Zealand, Samoa, Iceland, Costa Rica, and Norway are just a handful of choices. Sustainable tourism by visitors who respect the environment is especially important, as the revenue generated through tourism will help to fund more eco-friendly initiatives in these countries for the future.

Author Bio

Harper Reid is a freelance writer from Auckland, New Zealand ,who is passionate about travel and adventure. She enjoys taking impromptu hikes with friends or driving along New Zealand’s most scenic routes. However, most days you’ll find Harper planning her next travel adventure – with Norway next on her list. See more of her work here.

Photos courtesy of Unsplash.

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Oi Ladies, Listen Up – It’s a Bloody Revolution! (feat. GIVEAWAY)

Let’s talk periods.

That’s right… periods. Some of us are blessed with a slight monthly inconvenience; others burdened with the living incarnation of a raised middle finger. Whatever your time of the month looks like, it’s something that most of us girls have to deal with. And because of that, it’s something we should be talking about.

When I was preparing for my first independent overseas trip, I was conscious of a lot of things that I needed to pre-organise. Amongst those included applying for visas, purchasing emergency meds and putting together a first aid kit. What completely slipped my mind was the fact that I was due to get my period overseas, and would need plenty of products on hand to manage the flow. This left me with graphic memories of sprinting into a rural Vietnamese pharmacy in the middle of the night and trying to mime to the lady behind the counter – who did not speak a word of English – that I desperately needed a pack of tampons (*face-palm*). Not one of my finer moments, I will admit; but it does illustrate the glamorous reality of being a menstruating woman.

Upon returning to New Zealand, I was determined to find a solution to my forgetfulness. The fact that I rarely carry around spare pads or tampons is only exacerbated by my period refusing to commit to any sort of regular routine. That + the price of sanitary products = 👎

Enter: Oi.

Oi – Organic Initiative – is an ethical New Zealand company that sells feminine hygiene products. They have recently released the Oi Cup, a reusable and recyclable menstrual cup that functions as a natural alternative to tampons and pads. The Oi Cup sits internally in your vagina and gathers your flow for up to a whopping 12 hours. It almost sounds too good to be true – but fortunately, it isn’t.

Switching to the Oi Cup completely transformed my menstrual experience. Sure, it took a little experimenting the first cycle I used it, but after that? I’ve never looked back.

If you’re anything like me and run laps to and from the bathroom when that time of the month strikes, you might be relieved to learn that menstrual cups hold around 5 times the amount of liquid as the average tampon. For the first time, I can sleep a full, uninterrupted night and wake up without looking like I’ve just survived a shark attack.

The Oi Cup is a game changer when it comes to the environment. Did you know that it can take centuries upon centuries for sanitary products to break down in a landfill? It’s time to face the facts: pads and tampons that are made of plastic just aren’t sustainable 🙅 Unlike those pesky products, the Oi Cup bears minimal impact upon the environment.

According to an article by the Huffington Post, women spend approximately NZD$3140 on sanitary products over the course of their lifetime. $3140?! That’s insane! Do you know what you could buy with that? A 12-day Contiki tour to Mexico. Or 7 return trips from Auckland to Bali. By contrast, the Oi Cup will cost you a mere NZD$39.95 for up to 10 years of use. That’s a jaw-dropping difference of nearly $900 every decade.

I’ll just let that sink in for a bit.

The Oi Cup is the perfect companion for the female traveler. There are three ‘criteria’ that people often try to meet when traveling: pack light, spend less, and explore the off-the-beaten track. Periods are simply incompatible with these. For one, the last thing you want to be sacrificing your precious luggage space for is cumbersome boxes of sanitary products. But at the same time, you don’t want to be budgeting to spend extra money on pads and tampons (a single pad can cost up to NZD$5.60 in some countries!). Furthermore, the last thing you want is to be caught empty-handed in the middle of nowhere with no resources to deal with your period. Trust me, I’ve been there… your underwear won’t thank you 🙈

Luckily, the Oi Cup solves all of these problems. Don’t want to have to lug boxes upon boxes of sanitary products in your suitcase? One small cup ticks that box. Don’t want to have to fork out additional costs to stock up on pads and tampons? No problem. Your period decides to make a malicious return a few days earlier than expected? Oi has you covered.

If a menstrual cup just isn’t for you, then don’t fret! Oi prides itself on providing a diversity of environmentally-friendly and socially-responsible products to tackle that time of the month. Think panty liners, pads and tampons (with and without applicators).

So… just what sets Oi’s products apart from the rest of the market?

  • 100% pure certified organic cotton
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Biodegradable
  • Free from perfume, dyes, chemicals and synthetics
  • Recommended by gynaecologists, midwives and obstetricians

The team at Oi are visionaries when it comes to the relationship between women and their bodies. They aim to empower people through educated, positive choices and the ability to stand up for what they believe in.

“Oi stands for every woman, Oi stands for health and Oi stands for our world.”

To celebrate an ethical and revolutionary approach to our periods, the Ginger Passports has teamed up with Oi to host a giveaway. By following the steps below, you will go in the draw to win an Oi Cup – worth NZD$39.95 – for free!

  1. Follow the Ginger Passports on Facebook
  2. Either comment on this post OR like this Facebook post

It’s as simple as that! This giveaway will run for two weeks, and the winner will be drawn on Tuesday 13th June. Good luck!

Let’s begin the period conversation. With Oi, we are doing our bit for the planet – and our own bodies – every month without even having to think about it. Healthy habits = healthy women. It’s a bloody revolution.

The ‘Deats

Name: Organic Initiative (Oi)

Website: www.oi4me.com

Social Media: Facebook ● Instagram ● Twitter

Disclaimer: This post is in collaboration with Oi. All opinions are my own 🙋

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