Luxury travel adviser group Virtuoso released its trend forecast for 2023 and sustainability is at the top of the list. In a survey, 70 per cent of customers said that travelling in a more eco-friendly way enhances their experiences, and 74 per cent are willing to pay more for that type of trip if they know how the funds will be used. But the industry continues to struggle with its green goals. Some European countries, such as Germany and Spain, are considering banning domestic short-haul flights, while France already has. How you can explore responsibly was a topic of discussion during the inaugural Whistler Cultural Symposium this past fall. It helps when travellers find ways to connect to the “core values” of the place they’re visiting, Claire Ruddy, executive director of AWARE, a community-based group that works to protect Whistler’s natural environment, said at the event. More than half of emissions in Whistler come from vehicle use, so travellers could consider car pooling and/or electric vehicles, and bicycle use in town. Heli hiking and skiing have notable climate impact thanks to carbon emissions, so opt for paths that are already carved out and have stellar views. And look for ways to contribute to the community, such as engaging in beach cleanups or trail restoration activities.
Airbnb received its fair share of criticism last year as travellers, excited to be back on the road, were hit by sticker shock from hosts charging cleaning fees, sometimes equivalent to a night’s stay. This fee is set at the discretion of the host and is on top of service charges, and in many countries, the complete cost isn’t revealed in searches. A traveller doesn’t find out the complete cost until checkout. So last month the booking platform implemented “total price display,” which will show the full price, inclusive of fees and taxes, from the start of a search. Dennis Schaal at Skift, an industry news site that covers the business of travel, points out that even with this shift, booking platforms still struggle with pricing transparency. Both Booking.com and VRBO display nightly rates without taxes in searches.
Canadian bag and luggage brand Herschel Supply Co. has just opened its first Toronto store in the Eaton Centre. In addition to its well-known backpack line, the shop will carry the brand’s apparel, Herschel Supply Uniform, and luggage options. “While backpacks have been our bread and butter … luggage continues to be a growing category for us,” says managing director and co-founder Lyndon Cormack. As with other retail locations, a section of the store is being used as exhibition space for local artists with new shows appearing every three to six months. The debut artist in this space is Jacquie Comrie. A mental-health advocate, Comrie uses bright and bold work to explore the relationship between colour and emotion. “Creative education and supporting the arts has always been important to us. Jacquie has designed a limited-edition tote bag that we’re gifting at our Toronto store while supplies last,” Cormack says.
Herschel Supply Co., Toronto Eaton Centre, 220 Yonge St., herschel.ca.
Experience has taught me that everything in its place makes life – and zipping up one’s suitcase – much easier. But the one thing I’ve never managed to bring order to are the multiple charging cords I travel with (computer, phone, earbuds, Fitbit etc.), which is why I’m drawn to the Tech Case from Away. It’s a little suitcase in your suitcase, designed to hold cords, chargers, adapters and other accessories.
The Tech Case, $65 at Away (awaytravelcom).
That’s the ticket
Quebec’s Eastern Townships is bringing back its L’est Go pass, which enables skiers to have fast and easy access to four mountains in the area – Sutton, Orford, Bromont and Owl’s Head – while saving as much as 32 per cent on entry. Valid for skiing at any time (days, nights and weekends), the pass can be for as few as two lift tickets to as many as eight, with no blackout dates for use. The mountains have also stepped up their tech infrastructure this year, which means pass holders won’t have to visit customer service to check in on arrival. They can simply head to a lift at each resort.
L’est Go ski pass, from $148 through lestgo.ca.