Eco-tourists are a breed apart yet the one thing we have in common with “normal” travelers is the decision to be frugal or splurge. Conde Nast Traveler has their suggestions but do they work for us?
1. Checking a bag – I say nay. We don’t really need a big wardrobe for birding. Who’s going to be looking at us when there are so many stunning birds to look at? Besides, who wants to risk having a bag go astray or waste time at the carousel? I never bring more than 3 days worth of clothes and wash along the way. I can fit everything I need plus camera gear between the eBags Motherload convertible backpack and my Scottevest
2. In-flight Internet – I say nay. There’s enough to keep me amused while in-flight with the airline’s AVOD and I can always keep a few movies or eBooks on my tablet. Or just get some sleep!
3. Out-of-Hotel Breakfasts – Usually necessary due to birder’s hours unless it’s a transit city stay. If breakfast is included in the rate, I’ll take it. Birding lodges will have breakfasts served at birder-friendly times. Otherwise, we grab something at a supermarket and bring it along.
4. Taxis – I say mostly nay unless there is a safety issue. I wouldn’t want to walk around some town late at night with my gear. Plus there is just something wasteful and un-green about taking a taxi if there is safe public transport available.
5. One lavish meal – I’m not a foodie so easy for me to say nay on this one. Birding lodges usually provide meals in the package. If birding from a city with short drives into the bush such as Panama, we are happy to just grab takeaway and bring it back to the hotel.
6. Souvenirs – I say YEA! But only if they are locally made items, preferably by people who are honoring their native wildlife in the artwork. Always support local communities to encourage eco-tourism! Molas from Panama, numerous paintings, batiks, statues and arpilleras from Peru’s Amazon have all found a place in our home and serve as wonderful memories of our trip!