Looking for some eco-friendly gift ideas? Why not look at giving the gift of Travel! Here are some of my favourite eco-destinations and top eco-travel tips.
Canadian trips to give:
There are tons of eco-options within Canada, so you’ll be supporting local and being conscious of your travel footprint!
The Algonquin Eco-lodge is a wilderness enthusiast’s dream, so if you have an adventure seeker you’re gifting for this would be perfect! You can visit summer or winter. It has over 40km of groomed trackset and wilderness trails inside Algonquin Park but also offers cross-country skiing, dog sledding, snowshoeing, and canoeing.
The Trout Point Lodge in Nova Scotia continues to uphold sustainable practices and win awards for its green innovation, they even compost organic waste in the resort’s garden. It’s a great rural escape for your friends or family looking for a calm getaway.
Spirit Bear lodge in BC. This rare bear – like a white brown bear, but not a polar bear- is heading towards extinction, but the lodge tourism is helping to fun their conservation, so you can experience rare wildlife in a luxury setting and support a good cause.
If you’re more of an urbanite- look for hotels that are committed to staying green. 1 Hotel Toronto has set a precedent for what you can do in an urban setting. It’s diverting over 85 percent of waste from landfills with its on-site composter, 3,300 plants, locally sourced cuisine, and they even reuse old kitchen oil and grease to create biofuel.
International Eco Trips
Costa Rica is at the forefront of sustainability aiming for net-zero emissions by 2050. Deforestation has been reversed and more than a quarter of the land has been turned into protected parks. You can find plenty of eco-lodges here like the Playa Cativo Lodge that generates 100% clean electric energy by hydropower and is steps away from a national park.
I also love the Azores islands off the coast of Portugal. It’s comprised of nine volcanic islands and is one of the most sustainable tourism destinations in the whole world with four of the islands having been designated as UNESCO Biosphere Reserves.
There are many sustainable hotels from just $100 a night including the Santa Barbara that overlooks the grand beach and is built using upcycled material with food grown on the property. You can even have a meal in Sao Miguel cooked in a volcano!
Eco-Friendly Transportation Options
A lot of people lean towards train travel instead of air travel, but the airlines are really committed to going green by 2050 and newer technology is rapidly improving, so it’s really not that simple.
Flights account for around 2.5% of global carbon dioxide production at the moment. In October Google flights started reporting the CO2 emissions from each plane so you can make the best possible choice when you are picking your flight. You can even search for the lowest emissions.
As a general rule, the shorter the distance from home you travel, the lower the carbon footprint, but you can also offset your CO2 emissions in a number of ways:
1. Many airlines like Qatar have a voluntary offsetting program where they offer you the option to pay to build wind farms in a remote area of India to power small towns.
2. There is also a company called Trees for travel that has a CO2 calculator that determines how many trees need to be planted to offset the emissions of your travel and the cost is similar to a good cup of coffee at about $4 a tree. A trip from Toronto to Cancun including the hotel will cost about 6 trees. Our planet has space for an additional 1.2 trillion trees, so I can really get behind this initiative!
3. You can also fly economy, choose an airline that uses cleaner technology, and fly direct.
4. Travel is never going to be totally eco but with a few tweaks, we can do our best to travel better and have a more eco-friendly holiday season!