Eco-tourism is one of the fastest growing trends in the world. More people are concerned about our planet than ever. Recent crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic and Ukraine war have made us more cognizant of our mortality as a species, which is likely to make people even more focused on environmentalism.
In order to do your part to lower your carbon footprint, you need to understand the nuances of your travel destination. If you are traveling to New York, there are specific things that you can do to embrace sustainability during your trip.
Ways to Be an Eco-Friendly Tourist in New York
The Big Apple has always been a top destination location for people when traveling, and it’s not surprising since it offers so many attractions and activities for many on a daily basis. It is difficult not to be intimated by the big crowds and large buildings, but NYC is actually a very tourist-friendly place. It is also a great place for eco-friendly tourists, since it is recognized as one of the global leaders in sustainability.
To make your trip more manageable, here are some of the best travel tips to follow on your next visit to New York, besides wearing comfortable shoes with all the walking you’ll do. You will learn how to enjoy your trip as an eco-friendly tourist.
Find Eco-Friendly Tourist Destinations
There are a lot of great eco-friendly travel destinations to check out if you are visiting New York City. Union Square Greenmarket, Queens Botanical Garden and a Rooftop Farm are a few of the best.
You should consider exploring these places if you are serious about being an eco-tourist. You will have some great experiences there!
Don’t Be Shy About Using Eco-Friendly Public Transit for Exploring
Cars are not the most eco-friendly way to travel. It is better to use the public transit, because the carbon footprint of public transportation is much lower for each person using it. Of course, you can also enjoy walking through the city. Walking is eco-friendlier but it can also get you around faster than driving during times when traffic is congested!
One of the best travel tips to start with is to recognize that getting lost isn’t the worst thing. You shouldn’t be afraid to explore more than just Rockefeller Center or Times Square. Those are wonderful places of course, but there are so many other areas of the city that have just as much to offer you like SoHo or The Village that you should also take some time to visit. Locals always have their own favorite places and spaces, so don’t be shy in asking where strangers recommend or love to hang out.
To that end but on a more serious note, if you’re traveling from another country, don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
Subway Or Taxi? How About Both!
Some people have a preference when traveling, and now in the days of Uber and Lyft, it can be easy to choose to stay above ground to walk and be driven around. But don’t forget to explore underneath take at least take just one ride on the subway, even if just for the experience. It is something that everyone should try at least once while in NYC. You never know what musicians might be playing out on the tracks, or the various kinds of entertainers or characters you might encounter in the railway cars.
If you are planning on taking a taxi, you might want to try sharing a cab. This is better for the planet, since you will not have as large of a carbon footprint.
Be Aware Of The Panhandlers
You’re going to see them everywhere. On the street corners, in subways, in Times Square they even have people dressed up. Don’t be compelled to give to every single one! The dressed-up characters will most demand money if you take a picture with them, so be aware of this before you decide to start snapping selfies. Especially if you have kids, because they may get very excited at seeing some of their favorite characters.
Pickpockets Are Still Around, Too
Just as you have to prepare yourself for the sad signs asking for money, be cautious in very big crowded areas for the pickpockets. Check your surroundings and make sure that you keep your belongings close to you. Instead of a purse, women, think about just taking a wallet in your front pocket, or a small backpack, or even a cross-body type of smaller purse.
Sometimes, pickpockets work in teams. There was an instance where someone got their cell phone stolen and passed through many hands, all demanding money before it was returned, only to find that everything on it had been wiped clean. Performances that happen in the street tend to attract these types of teams, so be safe if you stop to admire them.
Try Eco-Friendly Foods From Anywhere In The World
An attractive quality that New York City has is the diversity of cuisines. Don’t even think about going to any sort of chain restaurant that you can eat at back home. There are so many options for delicious and cheap authentic foods from all over, including Italian, French, Greek, and Japanese to name some.
There are many great Indian restaurants in Jackson Heights, and in Astoria, you can even find Egyptian foods. A great idea would be to utilize your Yelp search on the internet and locate some greatly reviewed places in your area to visit, especially if you are looking for a specific type of cuisine.
Since New York has so many delicious cuisines to choose from, you will be able to help lower your carbon footprint by finding some great eco-friendly dishes. Many of these cuisines are vegan, which is obviously better for the planet. You may also want to focus on trying fish and poultry, rather than beef or pork. This meat also has a lower carbon footprint.
Don’t Hold Up Traffic (it is rude and worse for the planet!)
So many tourists that come to New York City always will stop in the middle of intersections or sidewalks to take pictures. Don’t be afraid to do this, but also be aware that there are many people walking both ways on these crowded streets. New Yorkers especially can get easily annoyed with the tourists that constantly block their paths. Also, you will be causing more cars to stall in the street, which means they will pollute the air longer than if you helped them drive more efficiently.
Do your best to try to be out of the way or off to the side as much as possible or pick yourself a convenient cycle from GovVelo online bicycle shop for your time in New York to easily explore around and keep away from the traffic. When you do hold up traffic to snap a quick selfie, you should also know that certain tragic locations are not great for picture-taking. For instance, the 9/11 Memorial and the homeless are basically off-limits when taking photos. Exercise some respect so you don’t offend anyone.
Give Yourself A Lot Of Time
Lastly, you should always be giving yourself extra time when going to destinations. NYC traffic for taxis, subways, and even walking can take longer than you anticipate. You wouldn’t want to miss reservations or even miss that Broadway show due to poor timing.
You probably won’t be able to see everything that New York has to offer in one trip. Break up your time with some relaxation too, so you’re not so stressed out about fitting everything into just a few days, or even a week.
New York City can be a magical place. Enjoy the culture, the sights, the people, and just take it all in. There is something for everyone that can be enjoyed, no matter what your interest. Safe travels!