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Enjoy an eco-vacation.

So we've learned to recycle compost and grow our own foods. We've gotten into solar lighting, allergen-free bedding, and air purifiers. We eat seasonally when we put the effort in and our kids are reading the labels right along with us. We can claim that we are conscious on the home front, but how do we avoid the pitfalls of consumerism out there? And how exactly, might one ask, can we make conscious vacation choices?

You do not want to 'give in' just because it's vacation time, nor do you want to waste your time and money. And for your precious time off, it's exceedingly important to take the time to prepare a peaceful, meaningful break away. Simple research proves that it is certainly doable. And the options these days are numerous and tantalizing. Your ideal vacation is actually out there, and if you know what you're looking for you can truly 'take it on the road' and continue your conscious lifestyle, if not sample for the first time some of the most natural and green ways to vacation.

The concept is called ecotourism, a movement that gained popularity in the late 80's and which has been evolving and gaining recognition ever since. The International Eco Tourism Society defines ecotourism as "responsible travel to natural areas that conserve the environment and improve the well-being of the local people." So it's a win-win on both ends here. Low impact; high return.

It is noted that local business people have found that making a living by sharing the natural beauty of their home can also have risks. For example, while it makes sense to provide enough services for tourists while they visit, there is the chance of overdeveloping the very attractions that people have come to appreciate. Heavy traffic, smog, and an influx of chain restaurants and retail shops near natural attractions can destroy the very thing that was meant to be conserved. However, utilized wisely rather than exploited as a marketing ploy, ecotourism can serve as a means to raise awareness of the fragility of the environment, as well as create local jobs and give residents a reason to preserve the natural resources and heritage of their area.

Amy Moore is a mother and an artist and a freelance writer for Appalachian Vacations and Adventures. Contact Appalachian Vacations and Adventures at 1-888-404-9622 or check out their website at http://www.ncvalley.com.

RELATED ARTICLE: Make any vacation an eco-vacation!

Try these ways to ensure a truly conscious eco-style vacation, no matter where you are traveling:

1. Pack your own food for the road trip.

2. Pick an area that non-commercial such as a small town, or a family farm.

3. Inquire about lodging that uses environmentally safe cleaning products.

4. Choose recreational activities that enable you to take in the on the area's local scenery, such as guided hikes, farm tours, river trips, mountain biking, horseback riding.

5. Sign up for a workshop, if available, to learn something new and give you the opportunity to connect with local flavor and wisdom.

6. Shop the area's local tailgate and farmers markets instead of the nearest grocery store chain and indulge in the season's fresh produce and meats--grill up some veggies and organic burgers!

7. Eat at local restaurants that serve their local farm foods, instead of a typical chain restaurant.

8. Keep a journal to make notes of your experiences, and take time to write while you're there,
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Title Annotation:Vacation Inspiration
Author:Moore, Amy
Publication:New Life Journal
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2005
Words:576
Previous Article:World away escapes.
Next Article:Live laugh & learn.
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