If you are passionate about travel and you have a strong environmental conscience, you probably face a dilemma when planning a vacation. Can one travel while minimizing one’s carbon footprint? Absolutely!
You probably know about what good habits to have for more eco-friendly travel such as reducing your use of water and energy, eating local and organic food as well as using reusable bags and bottles.
Do you need to stop flying? Not necessarily.
To limit one’s carbon footprint, the most obvious would be to never fly again. For Europeans, this can easily be done by replacing flights with train travel.
However, if you live in Canada, the 2nd largest country in the world, and want a change of scenery, your options are truly limited.
Let’s not forget that travel is about seeing the world’s beauty—what is at risk of being lost, with your own eyes. This brings something positive to both our individual and collective consciousness.
So without condemning air travel, here are 5 unique ways to make your travels more eco-friendly:
1. Pack your bags with a (literal) significant contribution to your destinations
Thanks to the non-profit organization Pack with a Purpose, whose mission is to make a positive difference in local communities around the world, you can bring school supplies, medical supplies, or any other items that are needed in the communities that you will be travelling to.
By coordinating with the organization’s projects, you can easily help improve the lives of those who live in the destinations that you will be visiting.
As well as doing a good deed, you could also benefit from a more significant and authentic travel experience by interacting with locals and learning more about their culture and way of life.
2. Get a “cleaning kit” for your next trip
Does it break your heart to see nature strewn with trash during your travels? Don’t worry, you can be part of MyGreenTrip, a community of travellers and organizations that gather litter in order to preserve the environment.
As a traveller, you can order your cleaning kit or, depending on your destination, pick one up directly from one of their local partners, who include cleanups with their outdoor activities. Set off on your nature hikes equipped to collect litter on the ground and make a difference.
3. Go plastic fishing
Head for the Netherlands where PlasticWhale provides a surprising fishing opportunity in Amsterdam and Rotterdam! Their mission is to clean the world’s waterways of floating plastic waste. In 2022, over 14,000 people fished over 25,000 plastic bottles, and 6,500 bags full of waste.
This Dutch foundation was created in 2011 with the mission to not only collect plastic from Amsterdam’s canals and the port of Rotterdam, but also to transform this waste into useful objects.
The plastic bottles are turned into foam boards for building their boats, and into recycled PET felt used to make furniture such as meeting tables, chairs, lamps, etc.
Picture yourself on the canals of Amsterdam, on a boat made from recycled plastic fished from the waterways! You will have a fishing net and will try to collect floating waste!
4. Visit destinations that have succeeded brilliantly in banning plastic
Since seeing is believing, why not plan a trip whose goal is to witness remarkable environmental initiatives?
Head to Rwanda, a leader in terms of sustainable development. A few minutes before arriving in this African country, you will be advised that the fabrication, use, import and sale of non-biodegradable plastic bags is forbidden.
Travellers visiting Rwanda must comply with these restrictions and are not allowed to bring plastic bags into the country, to avoid receiving a fine.
You will notice that Kigali, the capital, is very clean, much cleaner than any large European or American city. In October 2019, Rwanda became the first African country to completely ban all single-use plastics, an eco-friendly initiative that deserves to be commended.
Also worth mentioning is Umuganda, a community cleanup organized every last Saturday of the month. The goal is to take care of the environment collectively!
5. Discover the Tao travel guides for respecting the planet and its inhabitants
These French-language travel guides provide travellers with concrete and innovative ways to travel differently and give them the keys to having a positive impact when they travel the world.
The Tao guides collection includes about 50 works that cover a multitude of destinations, ranging from popular ones such as the "Guide Tao France : 2 000 idées et adresses pour voyager engagé" (a guide to France with 2,000 ideas and addresses for eco-friendly and socially responsible travel) to off-the-beaten-path destinations like "Bénin : un voyage écolo et éthique" (a guide to travelling in Benin in an environmentally sustainable and ethical manner).
When eco-friendly rhymes with originality!
As a traveller conscious of the environment, there are many ways to plan your trips so as to include more eco-friendly aspects. You can bring school supplies to communities, help clean up nature, fish waste out of the water, or discover destinations that are pioneers of sustainable development.
So start planning your adventure now and speak to a soNomad agent to see what travel insurance is right for this type of eco-friendly trip!