A Beginner’s Guide to Sustainable Travel Tips

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

Hello fellow travelers! As a passionate traveler committed to exploring the world responsibly, I’ve gathered some insights and practical tips to help you travel sustainably. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or planning your first eco-friendly adventure, these tips will help you minimize your environmental impact and make a positive difference wherever you go.

Choosing Group Tours for Sustainable Travel

One of the first steps towards sustainable travel is choosing the right tours. Opt for group tours that prioritize eco-friendly practices. Group tours can reduce individual carbon footprints by consolidating transportation and maximizing resource use. Additionally, they often support local communities and economies, providing authentic experiences while preserving the environment.

Here are my favorite sustainable travel tips and hacks:

1. Eco-Friendly Accommodation


Your choice of accommodation plays a crucial role in sustainable travel. Here are some tips to ensure your stay is as eco-friendly as possible. You can check these quailities in your accommodation whether you are traveling with group tours or solo:

  • Choose Green Hotels: Look for hotels with green certifications such as LEED, Green Key, or EarthCheck. These certifications indicate that the hotel follows sustainable practices like energy efficiency, waste reduction, and water conservation.
  • Conserve Resources: Be mindful of your resource consumption. Reuse towels, take shorter showers, and turn off lights, heating, and air conditioning when not in use.
  • Support Local: Stay at locally-owned accommodations, which often have a smaller carbon footprint than large international chains. Plus, your money goes directly into the local economy.

2. Sustainable Stays


Here are some essentials to consider:

  • Eco-Friendly Toiletries: Pack biodegradable toiletries and solid versions of products like shampoo and soap to reduce plastic waste.
  • Clothing: Choose versatile, high-quality clothing that can be worn multiple times and mixed and matched. Opt for materials like organic cotton or recycled fabrics.
  • Energy Use: Be mindful of your energy consumption. Turn off lights, heating, and air conditioning when you leave your room. Many eco-friendly hotels use energy-efficient appliances and renewable energy sources.
  • Water Use: Conserve water by taking shorter showers, reusing towels, and reporting any leaks to hotel management immediately.

3. Sustainable Packing Tips


Packing sustainably not only helps you travel lighter but also reduces waste and supports eco-friendly practices. Here are some essentials to consider:

  • Water Bottle: Bring a reusable water bottle to avoid buying plastic bottles. Many airports and cities have water refill stations.
  • Shopping Bag: Pack a reusable shopping bag for groceries and souvenirs. This reduces the need for single-use plastic bags.
  • Utensils and Containers: Carry a set of reusable utensils and containers for food. This is particularly useful if you plan to buy street food or pack your own meals.
  • Biodegradable Toiletries: Choose biodegradable soap, shampoo, and toothpaste. Solid toiletries like bar shampoo and conditioner are great for reducing plastic waste.
  • Reusable Cotton Rounds and Towels: Instead of disposable cotton pads, use reusable cotton rounds for makeup removal and cleansing. A quick-drying, reusable travel towel is also a great addition to your packing list.
  • Versatile Clothing: Pack versatile, high-quality clothing that can be worn multiple times and mixed and matched. Choose materials like organic cotton, bamboo, or recycled fabrics.
  • Eco-Friendly Gear: Opt for eco-friendly travel gear, such as backpacks made from recycled materials or shoes made from sustainable sources.

4. Booking Flights


Air travel is one of the most significant contributors to carbon emissions in the travel industry. While it’s sometimes unavoidable, you can make more sustainable choices:

  • Fly Less: Consider alternative transportation like trains or buses, which have a lower environmental impact. In many regions, trains offer a scenic and comfortable alternative.
  • Direct Flights: Choose direct flights whenever possible, as takeoffs and landings create the most emissions. A direct flight usually has a smaller carbon footprint than multiple shorter flights.
  • Efficient Airlines: Some airlines are more committed to sustainability than others. Research airlines that prioritize fuel efficiency, offset their emissions, or invest in sustainable aviation fuels.
  • Offset Programs: Many airlines offer carbon offset programs. Consider purchasing offsets to balance out your flight’s carbon emissions. There are also independent organizations like Carbonfund.org and TerraPass that allow you to offset your emissions directly.

5. Behaving Sustainably at Tourist Sites


When visiting attractions and natural sites, it’s essential to minimize your impact and respect the local environment and culture:

  • Pack Out Waste: Always pack out what you pack in. Carry a small bag to collect any trash you generate, and dispose of it properly.
  • Stick to Paths: Stay on marked trails to avoid damaging fragile ecosystems. Straying off paths can cause erosion and disturb wildlife habitats.
  • Observe from a Distance: Enjoy wildlife from a safe and respectful distance. Avoid feeding animals or disturbing their natural behavior.
  • No Souvenirs from Nature: Do not take anything from nature as a souvenir, including rocks, plants, or shells. This can disrupt local ecosystems.
  • Learn Local Customs: Educate yourself about the local customs and traditions. Dress appropriately and be mindful of local etiquette.
  • Support Local Artisans: Purchase souvenirs directly from local artisans. This supports the local economy and ensures that your money goes directly to the community.

6. Supporting Local Economies


This is my favorite of all the sustainable travel hacks.

Sustainable travel isn’t just about the environment; it’s also about supporting local communities. On top of the material gain, I belive that this particular action allows you to create a bond with the local culture and communities.

  • Buy Local: Purchase souvenirs and products from local artisans rather than mass-produced items. This supports the local economy and reduces the carbon footprint associated with shipping goods.
  • Local Markets: Shop at local markets for food and goods. This is a great way to experience the local culture and support small businesses.
  • Eat Local: Enjoy meals at locally-owned restaurants and try local cuisine. This not only provides a more authentic experience but also reduces the carbon footprint of transporting food.
  • Farm-to-Table: Look for restaurants that source their ingredients locally and sustainably. Farm-to-table dining supports local farmers and reduces food miles.

Additional Tips for Sustainable Travel

Additional Tips for Sustainable Travel
  • Research Before You Go: Before traveling, research the environmental and social issues affecting your destination. Understanding these issues can help you make more informed and responsible choices.
  • Stay Informed: Stay updated on sustainable travel practices by following eco-friendly travel blogs, forums, and organizations.
  • E-Tickets and Maps: Use digital tickets and maps instead of paper versions. This reduces paper waste and is often more convenient.
  • Reduce Screen Time: Be mindful of your digital footprint. Unplug when possible and enjoy your surroundings without constant screen time.

FAQ about Sustainable Travel

What is the most sustainable way of traveling?

The most sustainable way of traveling is by using low-impact transportation options such as biking, walking, or using public transportation like buses and trains. These methods significantly reduce carbon emissions compared to flying or driving individual cars, making them the eco-friendliest choices for minimizing your environmental footprint while exploring new destinations.

How to make travelling more sustainable?

To make traveling more sustainable, choose eco-friendly accommodations, reduce waste by using reusable items, and support local businesses. Additionally, offset your carbon emissions from flights, conserve resources like water and energy, and respect local cultures and environments by following responsible tourism practices.

What are the 3 main areas of sustainable tourism?

The three main areas of sustainable tourism are environmental conservation, socio-cultural responsibility, and economic sustainability. Environmental conservation focuses on protecting natural resources and minimizing ecological impact. Socio-cultural responsibility involves respecting and preserving local cultures and traditions. Economic sustainability ensures that tourism benefits local economies and communities.

What is the need for sustainable travel?

Sustainable travel is essential to minimize the negative impacts of tourism on the environment, preserve cultural heritage, and support local economies. It helps protect natural habitats, reduce pollution, and ensure that tourism contributes positively to the wellbeing of local communities, making travel more ethical and beneficial for all.

What is an eco traveler?

An eco traveler is someone who makes conscious choices to minimize their environmental impact while traveling. This includes using sustainable transportation, staying in eco-friendly accommodations, reducing waste, supporting local economies, and respecting natural and cultural resources. Eco travelers prioritize responsible tourism practices to protect the planet and promote sustainable development.

Open until midnight

+44 20 809 995 96
[email protected]

Monday - Friday: 09:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Saturday: 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday: Closed
W. Europe