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Travel Across Canada with a Clean Eco-Conscience

21 November 2023 | By Mélisande Blanchet
NewsTips and tricks

For the ecolucids of this world, the words “tourism” and “travel” probably rhyme with “carbon footprint” and “guilt”. And it’s true, the tourism industry is responsible for around 8% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions (The carbon footprint of global tourism, Nature Climate Change, 2018).

Am I the only one wondering if there’s a way to make room in your suitcase for a bit of environmental awareness?

What if we relearn how to travel? More slowly. More consciously. And above all, closer to home. The beauty of our Canadian territory knows no bounds, and believe me, the piña coladas on the beaches of Punta Cana are no match to what our landscapes have to offer.

Rethink your travel

Obviously, the impact of travel is the first thing to consider when it comes to mindful travelling. Even if we cross off the temptation to fly, there are several options for getting around in complete freedom:

Carpooling: To meet new people and save money in the process (several platforms exist to connect people offering/looking for a ride, including AmigoExpress, and even several Facebook groups).
The passenger bus: More economical than the train, it’s a simple, flexible option for travelling longer distances.
The train: Although a little pricier, it’s still a great way to get across Canada quickly (and enjoy the picturesque scenery just outside your window). VIA Rail makes many destinations across Canada accessible and affordable.
Active transportation: I hear you, crossing Canada on foot would wear out your shoes indeed! An unlikely option, especially if you’ve only got a few weeks ahead of you. On the other hand, at your destination or for short distances, walking or cycling is an excellent alternative for visiting the surrounding area! Many accommodations offer bicycles for rent or to borrow at low cost (and sometimes even for free!). It’s worth finding out!
Public transportation: Getting around like the locals is one of the best ways to visit a city and discover places off the beaten tourist track. I challenge you to hop aboard a random city bus and hop off wherever your intuition takes you! I’m sure you’ll make some amazing discoveries!


A different kind of accommodation

Rethinking the way we travel also means consciously choosing accommodation that limits its impact on the environment. From wilderness camping to eco-cabins, there are many ways to find affordable accommodation without compromising our social and environmental values.

Vaolo is a platform that offers accommodation and activities based on socio-economic, environmental and cultural impacts. By choosing accommodations from their website, you can be sure that the places offered match your desire to travel more ethically and responsibly.

You can also do the research yourself, by contacting the accommodation of your choice directly and asking the right questions!


Energizing activities

Wave goodbye to helicopter tours and 4×4 excursions. It’s best to opt for nature or community activities, preferably close to your accommodation. An opportunity to reconnect with the land and learn more about the biodiversity and communities that surround you.

Hikes: From wildlife reserves to regional and national parks, there are thousands of trails to explore across Canada.
Volunteer: It’s a great way to get involved in the community you’re visiting, to leave a positive mark and meet new people. Find out what’s going on in your neighbourhood at community centres, libraries or by searching online!
Discovery workshops: Develop new skills in pottery, edible plant and mushroom identification, art, writing and more. The possibilities are endless!
Gleaning: Do you feel strongly about the fight against food insecurity and food waste? Why not take part in a gleaning activity in the region you’re visiting? Earth Day has compiled a list of gleaning initiatives across Quebec (French only).


Add a pinch of lucidity

Forget the big fast-food chains. Instead, we turn to local restaurants that offer a seasonal menu. Ask around for suggestions, discover the best restaurants in the area and stimulate the local economy. You can also opt for accommodations that offer access to a kitchen and equipment, so you can concoct your own lunches and dinners.

In my suitcase, I’m bringing…

You can’t abandon your eco-responsible reflexes! Even on the road, it’s possible to maintain good daily habits!

The essentials to pack in your bag before you leave:

Reusable water bottle (we’re lucky enough to have access to drinking water in the vast majority of our territory, so let’s make the most of it!)
Reusable utensils (and an airtight container to store take-out or bulk snacks!)
A small paper or fabric bag to take with you on a hike (#leavenotrace).
Body products and biodegradable detergent: we opt for products that are not harmful to the environment (enter apps like Yuka to help us make the right choices).

Now it’s your turn! On your next getaway, make some room in your suitcases for environmental awareness!


The Travelling Jar, Logistic Manager

Mélisande Blanchet

An avid lover of life, Mélisande is constantly looking for new ways to move towards a more sustainable lifestyle and to inspire others to get on board to preserve our delicate Mother Earth. When she’s not wandering around Quebec looking for the best place to pitch her tent, she’s probably in her kitchen making natural cosmetics or expressing her creativity on paper in an unusual location.

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