Try These Simple Tips for an Entertaining, Eco-Friendly Family Vacation

By David Janeson

You’ve seen the headlines about plastic waste and its impact on the environment. You’ve probably taken steps at home to minimize your use of plastic and recycle the plastic you do use.

You might have taken other measures to reduce your family’s environmental impact, too, including conserving water and making your home more energy-efficient. 

But, have you thought about that family vacation you’re planning? Is it possible to have a relaxing vacation without throwing your commitment to the environment out the window?

It is if you follow these tips.

Getting There

Planes, trains and automobiles — it doesn’t matter how you go, there’s a way to do it in an energy-efficient way.

“Air travel isn’t the greenest option, but if you have to fly, choose an airline with a proven record of implementing sustainable energy strategies and waste reduction.” — David Janeson

If it’s a road trip you’re after, think about renting a hybrid vehicle. Hybrids reduce fuel usage and, if you plan to travel many miles, your gas savings might make up for the rental cost.  

Have you thought about traveling by train? Train travel is incredibly eco-friendly. It’s also a great way to view the magnificent scenery.

Staying There

Did you know some hotels and resorts have green programs? Before you book your reservations, find out what types of environmentally-friendly programs are in place. Even if they don’t have a program, find out how they handle waste and if they’ve taken measures to reduce energy consumption.

Once You’re There

If getting around the destination is part of your plan, look at the region’s public transportation services. Hotels often have van services you can use instead of driving your own vehicle. Many places have bus lines, subways or trains as well.

When you’re out and about, do what the locals do. Eat at local restaurants. Purchase local produce. Look to local vendors and artisans for your souvenirs. Make sure the money you spend stays in the local community.

Take walking or biking tours. Visit museums. Explore city parks. Look at taking local walking tours to learn more about the region and its history.

Stay Close to Home

Look for areas close to home where you can have fun and explore nature without traveling every day. Rent a cabin on the lake, camp at a park or recreational area. Learn to love the areas close to your location.

It’s the Little Things

A family vacation gives you and the kids a much needed respite from the cares of everyday life. That doesn’t mean you don’t have to think about how your visit impacts the environment.

Follow these tips to not only leave your destination better than you found it but to  prove to your kids that living green is a way of life:

  • Reuse towels
  • Pick up trash as you visit areas and throw it in receptacles
  • Recycle when possible
  • Avoid single-use plastic utensils and cups


David Janeson owns Gull Harbour Marina, a seasonal lakeside resort on beautiful Hecla Island, Manitoba