Colca Canyon, Peru in 4K Ultra HD

Amazing Places on Our Planet


Traveling to Canada

Traveling to Canada… Mackenzie King Estate The Gatineau Park is home to Mackenzie King Estate, the beautiful country home of Canada’s 10th Prime Minister, William Lyon McKenzie King. The estate consists of a number of cottages, a tea house, farm house and main buildings and remains a colorful part of Canadian history. The estate had great English gardens, trails including my personal favorite the waterfall trails. You can learn about the famous ruins and even watch films on the life of Mackenzie King. This is great family getaway spot. Vacation Rental Homes | Vacation Rental Caribbean

Gear of the Week: Farm to Feet Denali Sock

A sock to fend off the worst winter has to offer.

Our take On the coldest days, this sock can be the difference between turning around and enjoying a winter adventure. Our tester gave it the seal of approval after a 10-mile, sub-zero snowshoe near Colorado’s Hoosier Pass. “I was able to feel my toes for the entire day, a rarity for me,” he says. “Plus, I was breaking in a new pair of boots and fighting through a foot of fresh powder, but I didn’t get any hot spots, let alone a blister.” The Denali is made of 91 percent merino wool, which traps heat and moves moisture, while 8 percent nylon lends durability (the other 1 percent is elastane). After a full winter of use, our tester didn’t see any signs of pilling.

Trail cred “It’s not very stretchy, but this sock is so thick that it holds its shape well and doesn’t bag out over long days,” our Colorado tester reports.

$30; S-XL; Buy the Farm to Feet Denali sock now Backpacker

Traveling to Canada

Traveling to Canada… We took the opportunity to the visit two great fall local attractions – the Gatineau Park and Mackenzie King Estate both are located in the Gatineau Park. Our drive started from downtown Ottawa, we drove about 15 minutes on the highway heading north west to a small town named Chelsea in the province of Quebec. From the center town we navigate to a huge parking lot where we grab our running shoe and off we when to a great adventure. Vacation Rental Homes | Vacation Rental Caribbean

How to Be a More Responsible & Eco-Friendly Traveler

From fuel, to plastic use, to local conservation, taking a trip is guaranteed to have some sort of an environmental impact — one that can vary depending on the trip and our habits. Of course this doesn’t mean that we should all stop traveling, but rather to make better choices as we do.

Becoming a more responsible and environmentally-friendly traveler means making small changes and decisions that positively impact the earth. Here are some super easy things we can all do to make ourselves more eco-friendly travelers.

10 Ways to Be a More Responsible & Eco-Friendly Traveler


How to Be a More Responsible & Eco-Friendly Traveler


Seek Out Eco-Friendly Accommodation

Did you know that there are environmental seals of approval for hotels all over the world? In the US, this is called LEEDS Approval, whereas in other areas of the world there are programs such as the Green Tourism (UK, and some parts of Canada and Italy), the Rainforest Alliance (South America), and EarthCheck (Australia). Booking from an accredited hotel is a great place to start when looking for eco-friendly accommodation.

To go the extra mile, check and see what kind of in-house sustainability initiatives the hotel uses. For example, research if the hotel has a recycling program, uses energy efficient bulbs, has green laundry standards, etc.

How to Be a More Responsible & Eco-Friendly Traveler


Bring Reusables With You

In an effort to cut down plastic waste, it’s a great idea to bring along as many reusable items with you as possible. Consider bringing along a small silverware set (I love this bamboo travel set), metal straws, your own water bottle (they have great collapsible ones now!), coffee mug, bags, and toiletries.

This is a great idea not only for the environment, but in some cases for your wallet!


Support Local Conservation

Whether or not you plan on spending a lot of time in nature on your trip, try and support local conservation efforts whenever possible. For example, you could hire a guide service where part of the proceeds go towards conservation or donate to local efforts.

If you do plan to spend significant time in nature, always make sure to stick to designated areas to protect local vegetation, always follow a leave no trace regimen, and go the extra step and do a beach or park cleanup.

Read more: The Best Travel Cameras (And How To Choose One)

10 Ways to Be a More Responsible & Eco-Friendly Traveler


Carbon Offset

Even if you consider yourself someone who is pretty green at home, your carbon footprint will expand once you start traveling. As aviation accounts for as much as 2% of all carbon emissions, flight providers nowadays give you the option to buy a carbon credit when you purchase your ticket. If they don’t, then there are a few programs that let you buy these credits directly.

When you buy these credits, the money generally either goes into reforestation projects or energy efficiency efforts. Just be sure to do your research so you know how your funds will be used.


Eat Local

Opposed to eating shipped-in food that will further add to your carbon footprint, eat and drink locally sourced goods that are in season. This is an easy thing to do by either shopping in local markets, or by researching sustainable restaurants beforehand.

Not only can this method be healthier for you, it benefits local farmers and suppliers.


Book With an Eco-Conscious Tour Provider

If you plan on taking a tour on your trip, research the company beforehand and make sure they are part of some green initiatives. A lot of the major tour companies are part of carbon-offset program and are committed to supporting local businesses.

If the tour company is serious about their environmental impact, finding info on their website shouldn’t be too hard.

How to Be a More Responsible & Eco-Friendly Traveler


Be Animal-Aware

Being able to observe different species of animals on my trips is one of my favorite things, and yet I’m always hyper-aware of how I go about doing this. Generally, observing animals on a trip is okay (safari’s, whale watching, etc.) as long as we’re not impacting their environment or schedules. That said, interacting directly with wild animals is generally a no-go, and harmful activities such as riding elephants are no longer being tolerated.

Follow your gut on this one, be sure to research companies that are animal-affiliated beforehand, and try to protect their natural habitats whenever possible.

Read more: Packing Light: How To Pack For Carry-On Only

10 Ways to Be a More Responsible & Eco-Friendly Traveler


Use Public Transportation Whenever Possible

Buses, while not generally the most comfortable, pretty much take the cake when it comes to environmentally-conscious transportation. Switching to public ground transportation opposed to flying will cut down your carbon footprint substantially.


Consider Your Souvenirs

Souvenirs are popular for a reason — because they’re great ways to remember a place by. That said, the best souvenirs to get are ones that benefit locals directly and have a low environmental impact.

It’s generally known to not to buy items made from Ivory or Coral, but try and go one step further when purchasing your next souvenir and buy it from a local artisan. Not only will this give money directly back into the local economy, you’ll get a way cooler item in return.



Whether you’re at home or abroad, recycling when possible should always be a priority. Most major hotels and cities have recycling programs. If you’re worried about there not being recycling at your destination, then shed as much packaging as you can beforehand from necessities such as toiletries.


An Environmentally-Friendly Packing List


Water Bottles: I personally love to bring my Nalgene Water Bottle with me when I travel (and a Steripen for when I can’t refill from the tap), but also pack along a travel mug for days when I know I’m going to need a kick of caffeine bright and early.

Toiletry Bottles: Instead of buying those mini travel toiletries before a trip, I use refillable bottles for my shampoo, conditioner, reef-safe sunscreen, and body wash. Bamboo toothbrushes are also a great idea opposed to the plastic ones.

Cutlery: Useable for more than just camping scenarios, a set of metal or hard-plastic cutlery beats cheap plastic ones any day. And don’t forget your metal straws!

Bags: Carrying around a reusable tote on your travels is a great habit to get into, and if you’re prone to getting take-out, then a collapsible take-away container is also a great idea.



The post How to Be a More Responsible & Eco-Friendly Traveler appeared first on Ordinary Traveler.

Ordinary Traveler

Indiana Dunes Is its State’s First National Park

A National Lakeshore gets a promotion.

Indiana Dunes National Park

Indiana just got its first national park, thanks to a provision elevating Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore tucked inside the spending bill that the president signed last week.

The official Indiana Dunes Twitter account posted a photo on February 15 showing a handful of uniformed staff posing next to the area’s welcome sign, with a piece of cardboard reading “park” obscuring the word “Lakeshore.”

“The recent name change at Indiana Dunes helps elevate an already spectacular place to rubbing elbows with Everglades and Yellowstone,” said Park Superintendent Paul Labovitz.

A brief statement on the park’s website on February 19 also referred to the designation as a “name change,” and there has been no indication that the park will operate differently under its new status. As with all newly established parks, though, officials and friends of the area are hopeful that the dunes’ new standing will attract more tourists from out of state.

Situated on the southern shore of Lake Michigan in Northwest Indiana, the 15,000-acre park features 15 miles of shoreline, swamp and marshland, oak forests, and its namesake sand dunes. Visitors can enjoy guided hikes up 126-ft tall Mount Baldy (actually a sand dune), lounge on the beach, or explore a network of bike paths. Just under an hour by car from Chicago, Indiana Dunes receives up to 2 million visitors per year, according to the National Park Service, and is just under an hour by car from Chicago.

Indiana Dunes’ journey to national park status began in 1916, when activists petitioned to protect the area from encroaching steel mills and power plants; Labovitz points out that the first NPS director, Stephen Mather, pushed for the area to become one of the first national parks that year.

The outbreak of World War I put a halt to their efforts. Indiana Dunes would instead be named a state park a decade later, before becoming a national lakeshore in 1966.

“Our region is very excited about this recognition. A few are worried that the secret is out,” said Labovitz. “In true Hoosier fashion, though, the welcome sign is up and we invite everyone to check out Indiana Dunes National Park, 103-plus years in the making.” Backpacker

Whistleblower: Grand Canyon National Park Stored Radioactive Materials in Museum Building for 18 Years

But expert says uranium ore is unlikely to harm visitors’ health.

Grand Canyon National Park discovered three five-gallon buckets of radioactive uranium ore near a taxidermy display in the park’s Museum Collection building in March 2018, but failed to disclose their existence, a whistleblowing NPS employee alleged this week.

Though park staff supposedly removed the buckets and their contents from the site in June, the incident did not become public until this month, when Elston “Swede” Stephenson, the park’s safety manager, sent an unofficial email to Park Service employees on Feb. 4. In the email, Stephenson alleged cover-ups by management, and claimed to have been urging Park Service officials to disclose information about the radiation for months.

The Grand Canyon Museum Collection, located in Grand Canyon Village, houses historical, geological, and anthropological artifacts (among other collections) as well as research facilities. The facility hosts children’s tours that stop at the taxidermy exhibit for presentations up to 30 minutes in length.

According to Stephenson’s calculations, children who remained in close proximity to the uranium ore would have received radiation doses above federal safety standards in a mere 3 seconds, while adults would have had to stand there for approximately 30 seconds before they exceeded the limit. Stephenson said that the uranium had been in the building for 18 years.

It’s unclear, however, what practical effect the radiation visitors received from the ore could have on their health. In an interview with The Verge, Kathryn Higley, head of the School of Nuclear Science and Engineering at Oregon State University, said radioactivity would have been “zero” five feet away from the buckets of ore, and the likelihood of people receiving dangerous doses from touring or working in the building is “extremely unlikely.”

According to the Arizona Republic, a park employee’s son discovered the radiation last March when he happened to bring a Geiger counter into the building. Stephenson told the newspaper that the park failed to inform visitors and employees of the potential exposure, despite his insistence.

The National Park Service hadn’t responded to a request for comment by the time of publication. In a statement to NPR, a park public affairs specialist said that a recent survey of the building reported radiation at standard levels, but that the Occupational Health and Safety Administration would investigate. Backpacker

Mexico Holiday

Mexico Holiday… Mexico’s has a long and interesting list of historical attractions ranging frоm thе ancient ruins оf thе Olmecs, Maya, аnd Aztec, tо thе train routes uѕеd bу thе brash аnd legendary Pancho Villa* – which interestingly rank ѕесоnd to the countries main tourist attraction – to thе amazing beaches оf Cancun, cozumel аnd Alcapulco. Thе reason fоr thіѕ іѕ simple: thе tale оf Mexico’s past, accompanied bу аn overwhelming amount оf historical remnants beautifully preserved, іѕ аѕ romantic, dramatic, аnd complex аѕ іt саn get. Vacation Rental Homes | Vacation Rental Caribbean

Deal of the Week: Princeton Tec Vizz Headlamp

Conquer the dark and the rain with this waterproof light.

The Princeton Tec Vizz is one of our favorite headlamps. It has five bulbs that max out at 150 lumens on high, and two red LEDs preserve night vision. IPX-7 waterproofing means it can sustain at least 30 minutes of submersion in water, so feel free to use it in a downpour. Usually $50, it’s now just $19.98 at, so pick one up now and start planning your next night hike. Backpacker