8 Ways to Reduce Your Travel Impact in the Thompson Okanagan

Easy Travel Tips that Help the Planet


1. Plan ahead & pack wisely 

Planning ahead will help you avoid single use plastics like cutlery, shopping bags, takeout containers, coffee mugs and disposable water bottles. Pack these this with you ahead of time to cut down on waste during your trip.  

Two of my favourite local products that would be on my packing list are produce bags from The Market Bags and my Okanagan Lifestyle growler.

 Okanagan Lifestyle Growler & The Market Bag Credit: Meghan Reading

Okanagan Lifestyle Growler & The Market Bag
Credit: Meghan Reading


2. Shop Locally 

I could go on forever about how the Okanagan is one of the best places for local goodies. There are so many artisans creating beautifully crafted goods for you to enjoy and take home as souvenirs.

 Picking Fruit & Farmers Market Credit: Destination BC

Picking Fruit & Farmers Market
Credit: Destination BC

Instead of heading to the grocery store, stop by one of the numerous farmers’ markets or road-side stands for local fare that’s in-season.

Some of the goodies that I can’t live without are Karat Chocolate, Broken Ladder Cider (bring your own growler), Queen B Kettle Korn, and WINE!  


3. Take the Road Less Travelled

In the summer, crowds flock to the Thompson Okanagan to enjoy the relaxed lakeside lifestyle. As the temperatures cool down, visitors disperse and you’ll oftentimes have an entire beach, trail or lookout to yourself.

Plan on visiting popular areas in the off-season. Wells Gray Provincial Park makes a fabulous getaway in the winter - the frozen waterfalls are arguably even more magical in a frosty state.

 Wells Gray Provincial Park Credit: Meghan Reading

Wells Gray Provincial Park
Credit: Meghan Reading

Get off the beaten path and visit some of the Thompson Okanagan’s less well-known destinations. One of my favourite location is the Similkameen Valley - both Keremeos and Cawston have incredible wineries and fruit stands, but are less on-the-radar that the popular Okanagan Valley benches.

 Similkameen Valley & Harkers' Organics Credit: Meghan Reading

Similkameen Valley & Harkers' Organics
Credit: Meghan Reading

Visiting the Thompson Okanagan in the shoulder season also allows small businesses who might be financially reliant on a single season to grow and become more sustainable for the long-term. Win-win.


4. Try a New Kind of Transportation

Take a guided tour, spurge on an electric vehicle rental or opt for a bike trip to reduce your travel impact.

Kelowna recently adopted Drop Bike, a great way to see Downtown Kelowna. There are also some incredible bike tours along the Kettle Valley Rail Trail, you’ll cover a lot of distance and can even choose between a traditional bike or an electric bike to make the ride even more comfortable.

 Kettle Valley Rail Trail, Naramata Bench Credit: Destination British Columbia

Kettle Valley Rail Trail, Naramata Bench
Credit: Destination British Columbia

Power Trips is an electric vehicle rental company in the Okanagan. If you are looking to splurge, take one of these luxurious Teslas on a scenic drive through the valley. Definitely be a road trip to remember.


5. Choose Sustainable Accommodation

Choose accommodations who value environmental stewardship, social responsibility and supporting our local Indigenous cultures.

Keep an eye out for accommodations who have sought out third party certifications like Biosphere and Green Tourism Canada. This shows they have taken steps towards improving their external impact.

 Myra Canyon Ranch Credit: Destination BC

Myra Canyon Ranch
Credit: Destination BC

Check out these unique and interesting sustainable places to stay for some inspiration.


6. Stick to Designated Trails While Hiking

It can be tempting to venture off the trail for a viewpoint or a unique photo opportunity, but this can be extremely hard on the local flora and fauna. Stick to the trail and take breaks on hard surfaces like rocks instead of on mosses or forest floor.

 Kettle Valley Rail Trail, Myra Bellevue Provincial Park  Credit: Destination BC

Kettle Valley Rail Trail, Myra Bellevue Provincial Park
Credit: Destination BC

For more tips on how to reduce your impact on trail systems click here.


7. Embrace Farm-to-Table Experiences

The Thompson Okanagan celebrates sustainable farming and local fare. Throughout the year you will find a variety of restaurants and events to showcase the bounty of the valley in a variety of ways.

 Quail's Gate Winery & God's Mountain Credit: Destination BC

Quail's Gate Winery & God's Mountain
Credit: Destination BC

Some of my favourite foodie experiences are:


8. Participate in Carbon Offset Programs

There are many ways in which we can reduce our travel impact. Ultimately, travelling produces a carbon footprint in many ways - emissions from a car rental or a flight to the destination are two fairly large culprits. Carbon Offset Programs work to compensate for this carbon footprint in a variety of ways. Many of these programs are still in their introductory phase, so make sure you do your research to determine if they are a good fit for you.

Have sustainability suggestions to add? We would love to hear your input on our Facebook or Instagram.

Safe travels.


MeghanReading-Headshot1.jpg

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Meghan Reading is a Canadian travel photographer. She grew up in the rocky mountains of Alberta but now calls British Columbia home. While she looks forward to continuing to explore the world with her camera, her favourite destination will always be her own backyard.

IG @meghan_reading W meghanreading.com