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Ecotourism & Sustainable Travel

Q&A with Christine & Sarah from Wellness Travelled

Mediaplanet sat down with Christine and Sarah, the Canadian sisters behind Wellness Travelled (@wellnesstravelled). Christine and Sarah shared some insight on why sustainable travel is important to them as well as some tips for Canadians looking for sustainable travel destinations and accommodations.

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Why is sustainable travel important to you?

When we started traveling together, sustainability wasn’t top of mind. We were simply looking for adventure and somewhere to de-stress from our busy jobs.

It wasn’t until a trip to Thailand where we started to see the impacts of over-tourism, single use plastics, and animal exploitation. It’s also where we had one of our best travel experiences doing a sustainable homestay in the Northern Thailand mountains. There was no plastic waste, the funds went to the local community, and we stayed at someone’s house instead of a hotel. This experience made us think differently and more consciously about how we travel. The sustainability message became important to us because we want to see these beautiful places across the world flourish for generations to come so our future generations can enjoy these same experiences. 

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How do you find sustainable travel destinations and accommodations?

The best way to discover sustainable accommodations is by doing a simple Google search. Accommodations that have sustainable practices and certifications (i.e. LEED or Green Globe) will often share these accolades on their website.

It’s important to note when doing research that there is no one-size-fits-all approach for sustainability for a hotel – it will mean different things in different locations. For example, solar power might be effective in some sunny destinations but not in colder climates. Some hotels grow their own food, which isn’t viable in a dense city.

Also, your accommodation isn’t always the number one thing to look at when trying to travel more sustainably, the destination itself can be implementing measures to ensure tourism doesn’t impact the ecosystem. Belize, for example, has been taking great measures to protect their barrier reef (the 2nd largest in the world). Bonaire, to protect its coral reefs, has banned anchoring, plastic bags, and sunscreens that aren’t reef-safe. If you’re trying to travel more sustainably, know that some destinations are making it easier for tourists to do so!

Google is a great way to discover more of these destinations, or following creators on social media that showcase sustainable travel on their page for inspiration.

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What advice would you give to Canadians looking to be more sustainable/eco-friendly while travelling?

You’d be surprised how easy it is for travellers to reduce their impact on the environment when travelling. The key is to plan ahead. Here are some of our favourite *easy* eco-hacks when travelling:

  • Book tours with ethical and sustainable tour operators. When it comes to ethical animal tourism we highly suggest reading the World Animal Protection Guide to being Animal friendly on Vacation:
  • Pack a reusable travel mug, water bottle, and reusable bag. These 3 items alone will greatly reduce your waste.
  • Do some research to find hotels that are eco-conscious or look into a homestay
  • Support the local community you are visiting by shopping and dining at locally owned spots.
  • Carbon offset your transportation at the end of your trip.
  • Do a “staycation” – travel locally and support your own community.
  • Try car-pooling, booking an electric vehicle on a car-share app like Turo, or taking public transportation to your destination. We took the bus from Toronto to Niagara Falls recently and it was a breeze.
  • Avoid small plastic toiletry bottles and instead bring your own products in silicone reusable tubes

To make things even easier, we created a packing checklist that includes sustainable items on it, you can find it on our blog here.

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What has been your favourite eco-friendly accommodation that you have visited/stayed at?

It’s hard to pick just one, so we decided to share our top 10 and broke it down further by destination.

Caribbean and Mexico:
Central America:
Within Canada:

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