10 Tips for Sustainable Travel

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Sustainable travel should be on everyone’s mind when it comes to planning a trip. Unfortunately, the environmental impact of many of the traditional ways of traveling are enormous. From airplanes to hotels, the traditional ways of traveling are not always so kind to mother earth. However, there are some easy things that you can do that will lighten your trips carbon footprint, and maybe even give you a unique experience at the same time.

For a complete list of green travel suggestions, check out Bed and Tree’s Green Travel Guide and Charlie on Travel’s What is Sustainable Travel?. Below are our picks for 10 easy ways you can be mindful of your carbon footprint while traveling.

1. Couchsurf: Obviously! Staying at a home where you are aware of the water and electricity consumption will help you reduce the amount you use. Stay with friends, family, use Couchsurfing or plan a home-stay!

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2. Small, Local, Eco-Friendly: If you have to stay in a hotel, the smaller the better. And check their eco-friendly credentials! The smaller the property, generally the less electricity used!

3. Do Not Disturb: You don’t wash your towel after every use at home, why do you when you travel? If you are staying at a hotel, throw on a ‘do not disturb’ sign on your door and let the housekeeping staff know you don’t need the daily room clean.

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4. Avoid Flying: Traveling over land is much better for the environment than by air. Sometimes it’s unavoidable but if there is a train or bus option – consider taking it!

5. Fly direct (and economy!): If you can’t avoid it, try to cut out layovers as take off and landing are the worst for emissions. Economy class is the most eco-friendly of the flight classes.

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6. Pack light, and sustainably! The heavier your bag, the heavier your footprint. Keep in mind how much you bring and how sustainable, reusable and wasteful each item may be.

7. Use your legs! Walk, hike, run, bike, unicycle, rollerblade. Anything that uses your personal energy is the best transportation of the environment!

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8. Public Transportation is your friend: If walking (or roller blading) isn’t an option, try to utilize public transportation rather than a car.

9. Buy second hand: We all love shopping when we travel, but the fashion industry has a huge carbon impact. Break the cycle! and next trip, head to a used clothing store, thrift shops, vintage and second-hand to get a taste of the local fashion there. Save money and the environment.

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10. Eat in – don’t take out: The paper, the plastic, the styrofoam! Cut it all out by simply dining in and enjoying the ambiance.

Now, with these tips in mind, go forth and plan your next trip! Seeing the world is great, but lets be mindful of our footprint so that it’s around for the next generation to explore as well.

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2 thoughts on “10 Tips for Sustainable Travel

  1. Think twice about foregoing housekeeping services in hotels – limiting it to every two or three days might be a good idea to cut down on waste from towel changes, but many hotels now have programs that allow you to say you’ll reuse towels unless you leave them on the floor to replace. Other than that, daily housekeeping services are important to ensure that the housekeepers are able to maintain a regular schedule and reliable pay. When you forego regular housekeeping, the main benefit is saving the hotel money by cutting back staff, and when you check out after no housekeeping for days, they have to spend more time doing more cleaning that’s not part of the housekeepers’ planned schedule: https://viewfromthewing.com/make-a-green-choice-program-still-generating-protests-by-marriott-housekeepers/

  2. Mmm buy second hand sure also Buy Local, buy ethical, buy ethical fibers.

    – Some places you visit will have clothing they designed and even made close by…
    – Check tags, when you are in Mexico City or Seattle and its “MADE in China, or PRC” then you know you there was a major amount of waste. The energy was spent not in the creative process of design and production, it was spent in finding people far away to exploit for a few extra dollars per item. Dodging the cost of ethical employment, community investment. Ignoring the impact on the oceans of the vast shipping container vessels blasting across the ocean.
    – Synthetics are mostly petroleum based, I think we all know about the havoc oil companies have had on the enviroment. How many species decimated, how many hectares cleared? The pollution of synthetics continues with each wash and walk as microplastics dump into the enviroment like microscopic oil spills.
    Some additional idea to think about that have legit impact.

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