Many of us are making strides to improve our green living game. We want to do more than just recycle soda bottles, ditch plastic straws and bringing our own mug to Starbucks. We want to make sure that even when we travel to far-flung places, we are leaving as little impact on the environment as possible.
That can mean considering different modes of transportation, bringing reusable items with us, visiting the not-so-hot-spots (i.e. avoiding the overcrowded travel destinations for the smaller tourist scenes).
Here are some of our top tips for travelling responsibly.
For over a century, Israel has been host to Kibbutzim – a collective community based on agriculture. In exchange for room and board, visitors to the kibbutz lend some elbow grease to the farm by doing various work.
The modern-day kibbutz alternative, known as agritourism, now exists around the world. Some of these are called WWOOFs (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms). These are a cultural and educational exchange program that require visitors (or WWOOFers) to spend half of the day working on the farm.
Recommendation: research unique eco-tours through Viator
Types of Transport
It’s no secret that flying isn’t ideal when you’re trying to be an environmentally responsible tourist. The good news is, thanks to the UN, by 2021 international flights will be automatically offset (think: carbon offset) extra emissions (think: CO2 emissions). This means you don’t have to cull your wanderlust just to maintain an eco-friendly lifestyle.
Once you’re at your destination, however, consider public transit, like the bus, over other modes of transportation (where available.) Bus travel emits on average 0.17 lbs/passenger mile of CO2 compared to the train (0.41 lbs/passenger mile) and a car (1.17 lbs/passenger mile).
Of course, cycling and/or walking for shorter distances are the greenest (and arguably the best!) ways to experience a new place.
Recommendations: book your travel at Booking.com, FlightHub, Air Canada, and carshare options from Uber.
When it comes to eco-friendly stays, camping is one of the lowest impact options. Just please be mindful if you plan on having a campfire that you do it safely and ensure it’s extinguished to avoid wildfires and brushfires.
If you’re interested in trying something new, look for cool rentals like yurts and glamping options. These might add a little more luxe to your otherwise down-in-the-dirt (literally) tents. And just because you’re going green, doesn’t mean you have to give up on some creature comforts and the niceties of home.
Recommendations: home rentals from Vrbo and HomeAway
“It’s really important to me to be as eco-conscious as possible when I travel, and I do a lot of research in advance for hotels that have solid green practices. For example, on a recent stay in Bali, I found a hotel where water conservation was a priority.”
– Graziella, PR Specialist, Rakuten Canada
Zero-Waste Travel Essentials
Sustainable and eco-friendly tourism doesn’t end with your flights and where you stay. It’s also important to think about what you bring with you to avoid single-use items, especially plastics.
We love the Stasher reusable bags from Chapters-Indigo. They come in a variety of colours and are, well, reusable. Perfect for taking snacks while you explore the streets of wherever.
We love the Bottle None from Well.ca. Their bottle-less shampoos and conditioners are perfect for travelling and they even have travel sets that come with travel containers (made of recycled plastics).
Other items to pack include reusable water bottles and reusable straws, tote bags, utensil sets, eco-friendly laundry detergent so you can pack light. Shoppers Drug Mart is a great place to shop (and get Cash Back). For more options, you can also visit our Gift Card Shop and the Travel and Vacations section.