Especially when traveling overseas, many people believe that it’s impossible to travel sustainably. However, this is a misbelief since there are many green options making it possible to travel sustainably even for journeys far away from home.
In the following, we have collected some tips for traveling sustainable all around the globe without the need of having a bad conscious.
Every journey begins with packing suitcases. Packing the right things can not only be a little annoying sometimes but also be very hard – especially when it comes to long vacations.
However, for sustainable traveling, it is essential to pack light when going somewhere by plane (every single luggage adds up to the carbon emissions and plane’s fuel consumption is greater if the weight its carrying is heavy). It sounds like a challenge to pack light but here are some questions you can ask yourself while and before packing making it an easy procedure:
- For how long are you traveling and how many days of clothing do you actually need (be honest to yourself – what are you really going to wear?)
- How much can you comfortably carry?
- Check the weather forecast: How is the weather going to be?
Now, write a checklist and lay everything on the floor, then you will already see what you don’t need. However, remember to pack eco-friendly essentials. For instance, a BPA-free reusable water bottle you can refill over and over again (since many international airports have free water dispensers anyway, you can even save money on buying (expensive) plastic bottles), a reusable bag and a lunch box. In order to be an even more sustainable traveler, you can take shampoo bars and a natural deodorant block.
If you have to take the plane to get to your dream destination, you should consider taking direct flights wherever it is possible (every take-off and landing causes most of the plane’s carbon emissions). And when you walk down the aisle and envy the passengers in the business class seats, feel better in knowing that your economy seat is making you individually responsible for fewer carbon emissions.
After arriving at your destination, choose the most sustainable form of transport. Try to walk or bike wherever it’s possible. Also, try to take public transport or minibusses instead of renting a car. In order to be more sustainable, try to stay for some days at every place since every travel has a negative impact on the environment.
With respect to the accommodation, you should stay in locally-owned hotels or hostels. When booking the accommodation you should further check for green certifications as well as the commitment to sustainability initiatives (e.g. do they use solar power or energy-efficient lighting). Further, ask if the hotel has a recycling program. If not, encourage them to start one when you leave suggestions on comments cards at check-out. However, avoid large resorts and all-inclusive accommodations due to their water and energy consumption as well as very high waste production. For instance, it is common that they change and wash towels as well as bedsheets daily. With respect to this, you should remember to hang up your towels after each use, signaling to want to use them again. When leaving the room, you should also turn off the heat/AC. After your stay, you can return maps and brochures, so that they can be reused. Further, take leftover soaps, shampoos, etc. otherwise they will be thrown away.
Do you want to explore your holiday region the green way? Look for sustainable tour operators or even better and making it a once in a lifetime experience: stick to locals. They will show you the most amazing spots for sure and you support them at the same time. What a great win-win situation.
You can also support the locals when it comes to the food on your holiday. For instance, eat in restaurants and cafes owned by locals. Not just that traditional home-cooked food cooked with locally sourced ingredients is often the best, further, it is a great way to meet locals who are enthusiastic about you trying their traditional food. Also, you can eat local street food and buy locally grown food from local farmers in local markets. The food you buy there, for instance, fresh fruit and vegetables, are, for sure, the most delicious you’ve ever eaten.
All these tips make it possible for you to travel sustainable across the globe. Applying all of these tips before, during, and after your journey, you don’t need to have a bad conscious at all while traveling and you can enjoy your journey to the fullest. What are you waiting for? Start discovering our beautiful planet the sustainable way now 🌿✈️