Eco-Friendly Travel just in time for Earth Day!

Courtesy Ontario Ministry of Tourism

It’s that time of the year, spring time, where, as Canadians, we are reawakened to the beauty that is Canada.  I don’t know about you but the spring season just makes me appreciate nature more – maybe because I tend to get out, walk along our neighbourhood trails, get my hands dirty in the garden and just clean up around the house.  With Earth Day coming up April 22nd this year, I thought this would be a great opportunity to share some eco-friendly family destinations ideas from around the country.

Eco-friendly is a term that is hard to define.  Even as a television producer who worked on many green features and interviewed many notable experts in the field, to claim that something or someplace is eco-friendly can be cause for debate.  We can discuss green cleaning practices, carbon credits or simply outdoor adventures.  For my purposes here I am going to highlight eco-travel ideas and activities that I personally think are good resources for those who would like to take an Eco-friendly vacation, as well as ideas to help make your travel footprint eco-friendly. Since it would be too difficult to recommend individual locations, WEplusTHREE…or more’s presents our suggested list of Eco-friendly travel ideas and resources for families.

Top 5 Eco-friendly Destinations Resources:

  1. Canadian Trails  - a great compilation of hiking, biking and sports trails across the country.
  2. Treehouse Cottages – these a growing attraction across the world, but here is one from Perth, ON made entirely of recycled and reclaimed materials.
  3. Eco-Volunteerism Travel – that’s right, there is volun-tourism and now there is eco-voluntourism.
  4. Eco-lodges – these locales across the globe offer the best eco-lodges, hotels and resorts that are certified ‘Green”.
  5. Eco-tours – Discover all the beautiful places, people and wildlife this planet has to offer on your next adventure-focused eco-holiday.

One of the best ways to travel eco-friendly is to treat wherever you go as your home. Travel responsibly and appreciate the individual landscapes without trying to take a piece home with you. Doing so will respect the people, land and ecology of your chosen destination.

Some tips for practicing Eco-Conscious travel are:

  1. Consider your carbon footprint – what modes of transportation will you choose and what alternatives do you have that will have less of an impact on the environment?  Can you walk rather than take a cab? Are you going to rent a car when you arrive to your destination or can you consider public transportation or bike rentals?

*Tip that we’ve learned in our travels – kids LOVE buses and trains and subways and streetcars – they just add to the adventure!

  1. Green Accommodations – what are the environmentally-responsible practices at your hotel or resort? Do they employ water conservation measures? What cleaning products do they use? Are they LEED certified? Not sure how to find out?  iStayGreen.org is a great website listing eco-friendly hotels.
  2. Are YOU Eco-friendly? – when you go on vacation does your conscience and good sense go too? Do you overuse towels and products?  Do you waste food and water?  Do you leave the lights on and AC jacked up high? Do you respect the grounds around the hotel or do you feel more careless with garbage and toilettries?
  3. Illegal Aliens – as tempting as it is to take home a piece or coral or wisk away a starfish, respecting your vacation locales ecology can be important for preserving its beauty for generations to come.  Not only can this deplete and alter the local ecosystem, it can cause hostile foreign species of plants and bugs to cause chaos to your local environment.  I’ve even heard of people taking seedlings of local vegetation with the hopes that they will adapt and flourish in our Canadian climate – it’s unlikely and unsound, so just don’t bother.
  4. Be selective with Souvenirs – I too am guilty of grabbing all those maps and tourist brochures offered up on the racks of travel stops and hotels.  Most end up in the garbage or misplaced before they are picked up again on the way out.  Be selective with what you take – do you really need it? Remember, most hotels offer an internet connection where you can look up the information offered in the brochures.

That being said, there are lots of great ways and incredible places to discover, and no greater way to appreciate the earth than to see and experience it for yourself.  Happy Earth Day everyone and safe travels wherever they may take you!!

How this Blog came to be:

This blog was the result of a frustrated and budget-conscious mother-of-three – ME – trying to plan a number of family trips and get-aways.  To my dismay I found that any time you have to travel with more than two kids (and that could be with three or more kids, step-kids, a nanny or a grandparent) its incredibly difficult to book travel (virtually impossible to book an all-inclusive, hotel or cruise on-line) and there’s a disproportionate cost too!  So with that I decided to go on the hunt for the best travel deals, offer insider tips and showcase all the fun stuff to do when traveling with a “large” family.

I hope you like it and find it helpful.  Please feel free to share with your friends and lets get the travel industry to take notice and realize that not all of us have neat and tidy four-person families :-D

Rania Walker is a busy mom of three kids who loves to travel and is always looking for deals and tips to allow her to do so with her “large” family of 5.  Through her company R.W. SPEAKBoutique she offers Media Training and On-Air Presentation Skills; P.R. & Marketing Consultation, and Corporate Training.  A television producer and host, she is a woman of very many words who loves to share information, especially tips and tricks to make life just that little bit easier.

About Rania

Rania Walker is a busy mom of three kids who loves to travel and is always looking for deals and tips that will allow her to do so with her "large" family of 5. Through her company R.W. SPEAK Boutique she offers Media Training and On-Air Presentation Skills; P.R. & Marketing Consultation, Media Planning, Corporate Training and Corporate Event Speakers. A television producer and host, she is a woman of very many words who loves to share information, especially tips and tricks to make life just that little bit easier.
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