How to Go Green While on Vacation
Travelling is about exploring the world and coming home a better global citizen. It’s important we leave the places we’ve visited better off. This creates a true win-win situation. Add a great tan to the mix, and we’re talking win-win-win!
Here are some surprisingly easy ways and means to travel more responsibly this season.
Green Vaca Tip #1: Bring your own water bottle.
This is very important whether you’re traveling in Canada or going far away. A lot of places you’d think would have recycling actually don’t, meaning your water bottles that are recyclable will end up in the incinerator, landfill or garbage heap.
Green Vaca Tip #2: Use garden-grade disinfectants, not chemicals.
While on vacation, we will end up touching some icky surfaces, like airplane trays and hotel-room remote controls. Why spray chemicals on your hands when you can opt for completely biodegradable herbal alternatives? All-Natural Hand Sanitizers kill 99.99% of germs on contact, including staph, E. coli and salmonella. Its active ingredient, thymol, is non-toxic, and safe for everyone.
Green Vaca Tip #3: Travel ethically by thinking locally.
Ethical tourism operates on the principle that activities should be sustainable (and therefore as green as possible), and include opportunities for local communities. Although there isn’t yet a fair-trade certification label, you can travel more ethically by:
Choosing locally owned inns over global chain resort.
Dining at local restaurants.
Hiring a guide from the local community.
Buying souvenirs direct from local artisans or arts collectives .
Green Vaca Tip #4: Carrying greener shower products.
Spending your summer on the road? Try to avoid working your way through a series of miniature plastic shampoo, conditioner and body wash bottles with a 50-50 chance of being recycled, at best.
Green Vaca Tip #5: Book a greener resort or outfitter.
As with household products, green can bring in the green (as in money). The downside: There’s a great deal of window dressing and ‘green washing’ going on in the tourism industry, with many outfits dubbing themselves ‘eco’ simply as a marketing tool, without actually doing anything meaningful on the ground.
Green Vaca Tip #6:
Make biodegradable sunscreen your default vacation formula.
A study in Environmental Health Perspectives claimed that the ingredients in chemical-based sunscreens can damage delicate coral reefs. If your next trip involves swimming, snorkeling or sea kayaking in sensitive marine environments, choose a biodegradable, or “reef-friendly” sunblock; they’ve become mandatory in some marine parks in Cancun and Cozumel, Mexico. Check for sunblocks that are labeled “biodegradable” or “reef-friendly” at sports or health food stores. But why limit the safe stuff to foreign trips? Wear it and protect Canadian waters, too!
Green Vaca Tip #7: Cool it with the shells and coral.
Don’t buy souvenir shells and coral—or jewelry made from coral, in particular. They’re almost always harvested illegally and in a manner destructive to the reef system. When snorkeling, don’t bring souvenirs out of the water with you.
Beachcombing dry land for washed-up shells and coral is generally regarded as okay. Rocky beaches and outcrops that get hit with big waves tend to yield better finds than sandy beaches.
Green Vaca Tip #8: Planes, trains and automobiles — carbon-neutral travel.
The best way to travel green is to catch a bus or take a train. If you use these two methods of transportation, you’ll reduce the energy and fuel needed per person to reach your destination.