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Friends of the Earth: Planning An Eco-Friendly Honeymoon
by: Michael Kabel


    The environmental movement is picking up steam, reaching new levels of awareness not seen for decades. More couples than ever are planning eco-friendly weddings and wedding receptions, incorporating sustainable development practices and ecologically sound food and decorations into their events. With such "green" weddings becoming all the rage, many honeymoon destinations around the world are touting their environmental sensitivity.

What Makes a Destination Green?
    Green honeymoon destinations feature environmentally sound or conscious practices in some or all of their day-to-day operations. Some do not offer electricity, relying on solar-powered conveniences and a "camping out" approach to lodgings. Others are more conventional resorts that utilize energy conserving cleaning and housekeeping measures. Many do not replace or wash towels and bed dressings from each room on a daily basis. Others studiously recycle paper and other disposable products as much as possible.
    Some resorts offer a chance to interact with nature at the same time their resorts practice conservation. As a few examples, the Post Ranch Inn offers a trek through Big Sur's scenic wonders and an on-site Shaman, along with organic architecture and gourmet organic cuisine. The Hotelito Desconocido is set inside a sea turtle preserve south of Puerto Vallarta Mexico but has no electric lights. Still another, The Tiamo resort in the Bahamas, has no Internet or phone access but promises snorkeling, kayaking and swimming.
    If you're considering an eco-conscious resort for your honeymoon, verify its credentials by visiting its website and researching its "bona fides."  An Internet search will reveal which resorts offer the most eco-friendly features, and give details about their activism and contributions. Visiting each resort's official site will also allow you to shop for a destination by price range, and see what's included in their vacation packages.

VolunTourism
    Among the latest trends for travel and vacations, volutourism involves donating vacation or travel time towards a non-profit purpose. The trend first gathered widespread attention in 2005, when thousands flocked to assist New Orleans, LA recover from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Always a popular honeymoon destination, the city still offers plenty of opportunities for couples to do good work while simultaneously enjoying the city’s romance. Other voluntourism trips include teaching expeditions to Central America and helping to build infrastructure throughout the Third World.
Unlike the Peace Corps or other charitable organizations, voluntourism is often reliant on the travelers to pay their own expenses and assume all health risks while working. Making the commitment to voluntourism is a deeply altruistic gesture, so couples should consider if such an excursion would satisfy their honeymoon expectations.

Eco-Friendly Travel to Your Destination
    As you might guess, travel to many resorts or destinations can be extensive, which increases the likelihood of pollution. Conservation experts advise using energy-saving mass transit whenever possible, including trains and buses, to keep fuel costs and smog emissions low. Packing light and bringing clothes that can be worn several times without washing is another way to save energy and reduce pollutants.