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Eco-tourism companies, green hotels, green cruises, and local retreats have all made sustainable travel easier and more obtainable for couples everywhere. Everyone can help maintain popular travel destinations by remembering these minimal impact guidelines for reefs, trekking, and wildlife safaris.

Reefs: Keep the coral healthy

Touching the coral or stirring up the surrounding sand can permanently damage and even kill coral. The best way to avoid unintended contact is to stay in deep enough water where waves won't make you accidentally bump the fragile coral. Avoid lathering up in sunscreen before snorkeling:

National Geographic News reports that sunscreen contributes to coral bleaching.

Leave your fish food and plastic at home

While feeding fish may create great photo opportunities, it could destroy their natural eating habits and tamper with the natural balance of the reef. Plastic and Styrofoam products that drift into the sea will fall to the sea floor and kill wildlife.

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Souvenirs harvested from the sea may make for some unique decorations but they help encourage others to damage an already fragile habitat. Leave the coral and starfish alive in the sea where they belong.

Trekking: Walk in the footsteps of others

The best way to leave wilderness unharmed on your hiking trip is to stick to well-worn trails and campsites, whenever possible. Leave the wildlife to the wild. Binoculars are a must have accessory on your hiking trip.

They will let you view wildlife closely without disturbing nests, burrows, creek beds, meadows, and other nursery areas.

Support the local community

Before your trek, research the outfitters who will have a positive impact on their local communities. When communities benefit from the surrounding wilderness they will be more likely to help preserve the natural wonders around them.

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Safaris: Choose a reputable green tour

When taking a packaged safari tour, choose carefully. Help offset the impact of erosion, pollution, and deforestation by selecting a tour operator like Rainbow Tours (rainbowtours.co.uk), a company that offers green, fair trade lodges and has helped build recycling facilities and schools in local communities. Binoculars are also a must-have on a safari.

Tell your safari driver that you want to keep your distance from wild animals, so as not to disturb or distract them in their natural habitat.

Give a green gift

Encourage others to support the green cause by not buying products made from bone, exotic animal hide or endangered wood species. Decreasing the demand for such products will discourage suppliers and help spread the message of sustainability.

Photo Credits: Elevate Destinations