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5 Tips for Eco-Friendly Travel


Going away this summer? Make sure your travel plans are as a green as your destination.

Summer vacations are the best—but they can come with a hefty environmental price tag. Here are some tips to help you get going, going … green.

1. Use greener forms of transportation

Before jet setting to Disney World or your favourite tropical getaway, consider the costly carbon footprint that comes with air travel. CO2 emissions from planes contribute a significant 4 to 9 percent of our climate change impact.

Take trains or busses to reach your travel destination if possible, as they’re less damaging to the environment. Once you’re there, walk, bike, or take public transit to get from place to place. Bussing may not seem glamorous, but it can be a fun (and cheap!) way to explore new places like a local.

If you must fly, take the most direct route and purchase carbon offsets—credits that go toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions—through your airline or travel agent.

2. Choose an eco-friendly hotel

Eco-tourism? Totally a thing. Check out these Canadian travel destinations that offer luxury and eco-friendly lodging.

Look for accommodations that boast certifications such as Green Seal or Green Leaf. Eco-friendly hotels and tours meet certification standards by

  • using fluorescent lighting
  • instituting recycling programs
  • using water-conserving products and asking patrons to reuse towels
  • buying local, organic foods

To find an eco-friendly hotel in your area, search the Green Key Eco-Rating Program’s database.

3. Take pictures, but tread gently

Beach days are a hallmark of summer vacations. Frolicking through the waves and kicking back on sand-covered towels are fair game, but leave your surroundings the way you found them. Resist the urge to take flowers, shells, and coral as souvenirs.

And of course, don’t litter. Bring a reusable, BPA-free water bottle along on your travels, and pack your toiletries and food in reusable containers rather than plastic baggies.

4. Buy local, seasonal produce

Let’s be honest—when we’re on vacation, our fit, healthy, and eco-friendly lifestyles may fall by the wayside. But just as you would at home, try to buy produce that is in season and has been grown locally. This will help reduce the pollution that comes with importing goods from afar.

5. Be a tourist in your own town

Alternatively, go really green by exploring your own backyard. Staycations not only minimize the environmental impact of travel, but also lessen the stress of choosing where to go, where to stay, and how to get there.

Visit museums, festivals, and art galleries that you’ve never been to. Go hiking on a local trail. Walk aimlessly through the city. Really, the options are endless.

Eco-friendly camping is also a sublime idea for kids and adults alike. Sleeping under the stars and traipsing through forests can help us really appreciate why it’s important to respect the environment. Plus, it’s pretty darn fun. Just remember to stay in marked areas to help preserve the natural vegetation!



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Matthew Kadey, MSc, RDMatthew Kadey, MSc, RD