So, you’ve got the basics down – you’re carrying your refillable water bottle, buying in bulk when you can and opting for a bike instead of car when traveling short distances. But when it’s time for a much needed vacation, it can be hard to choose.
One of the biggest things you can do for the environment is avoid transatlantic flights. So consider checking out a destinations in your home country first.
If you just gotta get on a plane (and, let’s be honest, who doesn’t love flying?) you can offset the carbon footprint of your flight by purchasing carbon offsets for your trip. Most airlines offer this service through their site and it can cost as little as $50.
When you arrive at your destination, consider travelling by train, renting an electric car or getting around by bike. Of course, where you travel can also have an impact, so we’ve rounded up the best eco-friendly vacation destinations. Have a read below:
With its mountains, ocean and hundreds of islands to explore, British Columbia is about as different as you can get without actually leaving the country. (And, of course, there’s enough diversity for those in B.C. to find something new to explore as well.)
Once in B.C., there’s no shortage of eco-friendly options. Vancouver has a tone of great vegan and vegetarian restaurants, including Meet, known for its vegan takes on comfort food and longstanding fave the Naam, which is open 24/7. Getting around by bike is a cinch and when you’re tired of the city, you can catch a ferry to one of the many islands for some serious downtime.
Known for its natural hot springs, Northern Lights, impressive fjords and active volcanoes, Iceland is a dream destination for anyone looking to explore a landscape that’s both breathtakingly beautiful and otherworldly (trees are almost non-existent here). The capital, Reykjavik is easily navigated on foot, boasts a number of delicious restaurants and is renowned for its super cool music scene.
The rugged, and sometimes unpredictable terrain means that the Icelandic way of life is often dictated by the environment. (There are more sheep than people in the country, after all). And it uses its natural geothermal resources to produce heat and electricity throughout the country. A walking or hiking holiday will give you all the natural beauty you can take with just enough danger to make it exciting.
Looking for a European break without the guilt? Amsterdam is the fifth most environmentally conscious city in Europe (Bern, Switzerland takes the top spot), and with its many canals and bike-friendly streets, it offers a unique holiday escape. Getting around by bike or metro is quicker and more sustainable than driving.
The city also has a number of eco-friendly hotels to choose from, including the Hotel Jarkarta, which is made from sustainable and recyclable materials and features an entire indoor garden. Want something completely different? Stay on one of the city’s many houseboats and see the city and country from the water.
In addition to boating, cycling is also a huge part of the country’s culture. Biking through the countryside and other towns is easy and encourage, the country has more than 15,000 kilometers of bike paths. If you’re longing for a bit of surf Zandvoort on Netherlands’ west coast is a short trip from the city and popular seaside destination in summer.
When you’re in need of some serious sun and sand, there’s no better place to vacation than Costa Rica. The Central American country is one of the most innovative when it comes to both eco-tourism and overall sustainability. Approximately 25% of the country is protected as either a national park or biological reserve and it is working towards becoming the first carbon neutral country by 2021.
They’re able to maintain these goals by offering a wide-range of eco-lodges for the eco-minded traveller throughout the country. Hang out in the middle of the jungle in Monteverde or relax near the beach in your very own tree house in Playa Punta.
Want to explore a country that’s totally diverse and completely charming? Made up of two islands, the New Zealand has ancient forests, mountain peaks, incredible beaches and even a glow worm cave. The country’s also working towards being completely free of fossil fuels by 2025.
If you’re looking for an outdoor adventure, head to the Mangatepopo Valley on the North Island to explore some of the country’s many mountains. Cathedral Cove on the country’s east coast is only a 4.5 hour drive away and offers a completely different world to explore with sand, surf and snorkeling available.