Tips to Travel Sustainably

Sustainable travel means finding a way that tourism can be maintained long-term without harming natural and cultural environments. Sustainable travel should minimize the negative impacts of tourism and ideally be beneficial to the area in which it takes place.

Sustainable travel is about valuing the environment and looking after our natural resources. Travelers need to be more aware of pollution levels caused by travel and how that affects the environment and local wildlife. They also need to be aware of how tourism affects local people, businesses, and native cultures.

As travelers and tourists, we need to take responsibility for advocating sustainable travel and tourism. This isn’t going to happen overnight. There isn’t a magical solution to solve the problems associated with tourism. But we can work towards better, more sustainable travel. Here are some tips for ways we can be more sustainable travelers:

Transport

  • Consider the most sustainable form of transport to get to your destination
  • Take direct flights where possible – Shorter flights save fuel, Takeoffs and landings cause most of a plane’s carbon emissions.
  • Fly economy class - Flying in business class or first class means you have more space per passenger. This can result in a 5x larger carbon footprint. 
  • Be a slow traveler - Mitigate the negative impact of air travel by flying less often and staying for longer in destinations. 

Accommodation

  •  Stay in locally-owned accommodation
  • Check for green certifications at hotels and hostels
  • Avoid large resorts - Washing towels and changing bed sheets daily are common in large resorts and waste energy and water. Many resorts also concrete over large areas of natural habitat to build guest rooms and swimming pools.
  • Go wild and camp

Sustainable Tours, Activities & Voluntourism

  • Use sustainable tour operators with green accreditations
  • Only participate in responsible wildlife tourism - Avoid any wildlife tours that promise up-close encounters with animals, as these may be unethical. Look for tours that won’t disturb wildlife and that ensure you are a certain distance away from any animals. Do your research into each specific type of wildlife tourism to ensure it is responsible.
  • Snorkel and scuba dive responsibly
  • Volunteer with NGOs and Join Community Tourism Projects

Local Environment

  • Eat-in restaurants and cafes owned by locals
  • Eat local cuisine
  • Don’t be too afraid of eating local street food

Sustainable Shopping

  • Buy locally grown food and shop in local markets
  • Buy gifts made by local artisans

Be sure to travel in such a way that you leave no waste, no damage, and no encouragement for unethical practices behind, take nothing but experiences and memories back home with you. 

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