How to green your summer vacation

Aveda founder Horst Rechelbacher believed each individual’s beauty is directly linked to the beauty and health of the world around it. Traveling is the best way to experience that beauty firsthand—but it can exact a heavy toll on the planet (trans-Atlantic flight carbon footprints and midnight cruise buffets, we’re looking at you). However, this doesn’t have to be the case. More and more people are going on vacation with an eye toward sustainability, opting for eco-tours, green hotels and volunteer opportunities on the road. Being an eco-conscious traveler doesn’t just help the planet—it also deepens the experience.

“People aren’t just looking to sit on a beach when they vacation,” says global travel agent Lila Fox. “They want to get more out of their experience and know that their time and / or dollars are going toward good. It adds a completely different element to a trip.”

Today, Lila and Andi Eaton, author of Wanderful: The Modern Bohemian’s Guide to Traveling in Style, share tips for travel that’s in line with the Aveda mission: it’s sustainable, it’s environmentally responsible, and it leaves both you and your surroundings enriched.

Check into a green hotel
There’s a world of eco-friendly options out there that are consistent with Aveda’s history of environmental friendliness. It just takes a little bit of research (or the help of an experienced travel agent) to find them. Eaton recommends Inn by the Sea, an eco-friendly resort in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. From the bamboo sheets and recycled rubber floors to the locally sourced menu and rabbit sanctuary, “every single thing had been thought about,” Andi says. “Every single component has an environmental mission.”

The hotel even has a program for adoptable cats and dogs that live on the property. Guests can keep them in their room and, if they choose, take them home at the end of their stay. “I learned so much about how the hotel supports the community around it,” Andi says. “Why not pile into an eco-friendly car with your four best girlfriends and find a place with an environmental mission?”

Cruise with a cause
Cruising, in many minds, has a certain connotation associated with it, Lila says, but there are cruise lines that give back to conservation efforts and research. Companies like Lindblad Expeditions partnered with National Geographic to create mind-expanding, immersive experiences for guests while conserving the planet’s flora and fauna.

“A portion of the money people spend on the cruise cost itself goes to science and conservation in these destinations,” Lila says.

From preserving Alaskan waterways and studying Antarctic marine mammals to promoting responsible Central American fishing practices and restoring salmon habitats in the Pacific Northwest, there are a multitude of ways Lindblad Expeditions invests the more than $12 million its guests have contributed over the years.

Get up close and personal with America’s national parks
Andi is kind of a roadtrip queen—she took nine of them during the three months she spent researching her book—but the one that stood out most in her memory was her trip to Big Bend National Park in southwest Texas.

“The topography at Big Bend is insane,” Andi says. “Start at the desert badlands and climb into these massive mountain ranges. Then you have the Rio Grand. You see so much of what the country has to offer from a topographical standpoint.”

Though Andi explored seven national parks in 18 days, a less-busy itinerary could pack three parks into a week. “You could do White Sands in New Mexico, Joshua Tree in California, and the Grand Canyon in Arizona in a week,” she says. “If you enjoy camping, that would be low-impact on the planet, but you could also stay in an RV. A lot of the parks have cabins or lodges that are environmentally friendly, as well.”

On road trips, Andi swears by Aveda products—and thanks to the Aveda mission, which includes a commitment to organic ingredients and sustainable practices, as well as a no animal testing policy, they’re the perfect eco-friendly travel companions. Multitasking beauty products such as lavender and patchouli essential oils are her favorites for fragrance and moisturizing. She’s never without Aveda lip balm with SPF.

“When I pack for a trip, I bring all the things on the travel display at any Aveda salon,” she says. “It’s everything I need, and Aveda has a great mission of reducing their environmental impact.”

Put on the Ritz
The Ritz Carlton Hotel brand is the ultimate in luxury—but did you know it’s also home to Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment program? The hotel partners with trained naturalists in Maui, Grand Cayman St. Thomas, and many other destinations in which they have a hotel located to provide eco-tours and education about of the local environment.

“It’s very immersive, particularly for children,” Lila says. “The educational component relates to the natural environment in which the hotel is uniquely located.”

Choose your own adventure
Lila and Andi agree that no matter what destination you have your heart set on, there’s a way to make your vacation positive for you and for the planet. Andi recommends getting involved with The Sierra Club and looking for work projects or environmental cleanup efforts where you can pitch in.

“You can tack on a couple days after the project to enjoy the location,” Andi says. “It’s a fun way to connect and give back to the place you’re visiting.”

“Anywhere you go, you can build some sort of philanthropic component into an itinerary,” Lila adds. “There really are a lot of folks in the travel space doing good in & for the communities in which they reside, as well as in the world around them.”

Got the travel bug? Head over to Andi’s blog or Lila’s Instagram for inspiration, and be sure to stop by Paris Parker for your eco-friendly travel essentials.

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