With the winter season upon us, now is the perfect time for a snowy getaway. Whether you want to get away for a few days or take an extended vacation, finding the right trip that also meets your eco-friendly standards can take time and effort. Not sure where to start? Vikki Gerrard La Crosse, travel and sustainable tourism expert, shares her top tips for planning the perfect eco-friendly winter getaway.
1. Sustainable Practices
Look for destinations that already have sustainable practices in place. Consider one committed to conserving their local environment and employing sustainable techniques, such as using renewable energy sources and promoting responsible tourism. Look for accommodations committed to sustainability and have implemented practices such as using energy-efficient lighting and appliances, green cleaning products, and low-flow toilets.
Also, consider looking for hotels or resorts that use natural materials in their construction and offer organic amenities like bedding and linens. Knowing that the facility you’ve chosen is already trying to be eco-friendly can help make your decision easier and allow you to relax and enjoy your stay.
2. Local Transport
Another way to keep your carbon footprint down during your winter getaway is to use local public transport. Public transportation allows you to explore the area without relying on a car. Limiting the use of a car while traveling can reduce your carbon emissions and keep you close to the heart of the community. You can also look into alternative transport modes such as cycling or even walking, both great options if you’re planning to explore an area.
Local transport can often be an adventure and allow you to experience the culture and traditions of the place you’re visiting. It’s also an opportunity to meet locals and learn more about the area you are visiting. If you’re looking for a snow-filled adventure, look for resorts that offer ski buses or lifts to help you get around. You can also consider trying your hand at snowshoeing.
3. Support Local Businesses
By supporting and buying from local businesses, you can help boost the economy and ensure it remains sustainable in the long run. When dining out, look for restaurants with locally-sourced ingredients. Doing this supports the restaurant and local farmers and ensures you consume produce that hasn’t been transported long distances. You’re also immersing yourself in the local culture and cuisine.
Vikki Gerrard La Crosse also suggests looking for local artisans and craftspeople, as it’s a great way to learn about the culture and heritage of the place you visit. You can find unique items not available anywhere else and even get something custom-made for your trip. Research local markets and shops that use traditional production methods to help keep the culture thriving.
4. Reduce Waste
When packing for your winter getaway, consider bringing reusable bags and containers. This simple step can help reduce the amount of plastic waste you produce during your trip. Look for minimal packaging products and buy in bulk. Many hotels offer refillable toiletries instead of single-use items to reduce waste. You can also bring your reusable water bottle to cut down on plastic waste.
Look for souvenirs from recycled materials or eco-friendly alternatives such as soaps made from natural ingredients and sustainably sourced wood carvings. You can also consider supporting small businesses committed to sustainability and ethical practices.
5. Respect Wildlife
Respect the local wildlife and their habitats. Educate yourself about the local species in the area and understand how you can interact with them safely. Never feed wild animals, as it affects their natural behavior patterns, nutrition, and health. Respect nature by adhering to leave no trace principles: avoid picking up plants and leave the environment as before you arrive.
Another essential part of respecting wildlife is ensuring you don’t interfere with their habitats. Avoid littering, and dispose of your waste correctly in the designated areas. Travelers should also abide by the laws and regulations to preserve natural habitats and ensure the safety of wildlife.
6. Think Before You Print
Another way to reduce your carbon footprint is to use technology to your advantage and avoid wasted paper. Most of the time, digital receipts, tickets, and bookings are available. Rather than printing out maps or brochures, use a GPS device or your phone to navigate. This will help eliminate the amount of paper used for your trip and reduce your overall carbon footprint.
If you need to print something, look for eco-friendly paper, such as recycled and FSC-approved. Always use both sides of the paper and consider digital options for taking notes instead of paper and pen.
Traveling is one of the most rewarding experiences in life, and being mindful of our actions can help us positively impact the environment. By taking responsibility and making small changes, Vikki Gerrard La Crosse believes we can all make a difference and ensure our travels are sustainable and future generations can enjoy the same winter getaways we do.