Conscious travel

The 20 best tips for sustainable traveling

With this post, I would like to raise global awareness about how responsible tourism can act as a power of change. Responsible tourism or sustainable traveling is all about making simple choices to lessen your negative impact on a certain destination.

Most of the tips I mention, are ridiculously simple, but can easily help to make a difference. When we all become more conscious about these little things, we can collectively try to limit the negative impact on the world around us.

Sustainable traveling: transportation tips

1. Travel with bus and train

If you have the time, traveling via bus and train generally has less environmental impact than traveling by plane. When traveling by plane, book non-stop flights whenever you can. The takeoffs and landings create most of an airplane’s carbon emissions. Also consider contributing to a carbon offset program.

2. Stick to public transportation

Once you arrived in your destination, stick to public transportation, rent a bike, or walk whenever you can. If you’re driving, choose a hybrid vehicle if possible.

Sustainable traveling: water saving tips

3. Take showers, not baths

Baths use a huge amount of water and have a negative impact on our environment. Try to take a shower instead. Also try to take shorter showers, turning water off while you lather up, shave, or brush your teeth.

4. Never use the hotel laundry service

Hotels often wash every guest’s clothes separately. I always do my laundry while taking a shower.

5. Hang towels

Hang towels after each use, which is the universal sign that you’d like to use them again.

6. Trade disposable for reusable

Take bottles that you can refill repeatedly.

Sustainable traveling: energy saving tips

7. Turn off the electricity

When you leave your room, turn off all lights, heating, air-conditioning, and television.

8. Take any leftover soap, shampoo, or toothpaste with you

Unused portions are often thrown away, and this a waste of the liquids and the packing. Read this article if you are curious to what happens to leftover hotel soaps & shampoos.

9. Use the ‘Do not disturb’ sign

When you don’t want your room to be cleaned, leave the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door. This will help cut down on chemical cleaning products, electricity used in vacuuming, and the washing of bed linens.

Sustainable traveling: responsible activities

10. Return maps etc.

Return maps, brochures and other tourist info once you’re finished with them. They can sell them 2nd hand.

11. Visit sanctuaries instead of zoos

When you visit a zoo, you have no idea how animals are treat behind closed doors. Try making your visit instead to animal sanctuaries.

12. Don’t visit harmful tourist attractions

Don’t take any tour including encounters with wild animals, such as riding elephants or walking with lions. Every day more than 550,000 animals suffer from harmful tourist attractions. My latest post shares 15 harmful animal tourist attractions that you better should avoid.

13. Shop at local markets

Shop at local food markets whenever possible. Buy locally made souvenirs from artisan as opposed to big shops.

14. Don’t touch or step on the coral

When snorkeling or scuba diving, don’t touch or step on the coral. Also, don’t stir up sediment, as it can damage the reef’s fragile ecosystem.

Tips to make eating-out more sustainable while traveling

15. Eat street food or at local restaurants

The nicest part of traveling is to go somewhere new and experience new cultures. Visit a local restaurant instead of a familiar fast food restaurant that take the money you spend out of the local economy, but also create carbon footprints by delivering goods from abroad.

Look for restaurants serving locally produced food and you will help support local farmers and the local economy.

Other tips for sustainable traveling

16. Say no to plastic

A massive amount of human trash is stretching across the ocean, including gazillions of throw-away plastic bottles and bags. When you go shopping, take your own reusable bag or when you order a drink, tell the bartender you don’t need a straw. Looking for more ways to save plastic while traveling? You might like this article!

17. Pack light

The less you bring the less impact you have in many ways. You’ll be able to catch public transportation easier which means less carbon footprint.

18. Pack out your trash

No matter where you are, packing out your trash is very important to sustaining the environment. When you have the chance, try to separate your waste also.

19. Overnight eco-friendly

When looking for a place to stay, overnight in a local Eco-friendly lodging, sustainable hotel, or home-stay.

20. Share your experience

When a restaurant, hotel, or any other organization is doing good things, tell the world! Also, when you have find a nice Eco-friendly lodge, local food market, or anything else that can help other people to travel more responsible and in a sustainable way, share it!

If you have any other tips to make your travel more responsible and sustainable, please share it with us in the comment section below. I hope this post inspired you to make simple choices to lessen your negative impact on a certain destination. Thank you!

Author: Daphne

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  • Paige Wunder

    This is such an important thing for travelers to be talking about. It’s amazing that some of these things are so simple, and will make a difference especially if everyone takes these steps. I think people are starting to realize the straw thing. I know another blogger who loves to use straws, so she takes biodegradable straws with her everywhere she goes. Even though it’s still waste it is better than plastic. Also returning maps and brochures is a really interesting idea that I hadn’t thought about! Great tips!

    • Girlswanderlust

      Thank you! I am glad you agree that it is an important subject to talk about. The example you give about the straw is a good way to show how we can still do/use things, but at the same time limit our negative impact on the environment/destination. Thanks for sharing this info about the biodegradable straws! =)

  • The Soul of Seoul

    What an important topic. This is really something everyone should think about. I think a lot of people, myself included sometimes, see vacations as a luxurious treat and thus go a bit above and beyond and don’t consider how important it is to be eco-friendly while traveling. These are great tips.

    • Girlswanderlust

      Yes…. sometimes we forget to take the environment and local communities into account, but with these simple choices we can already lessen our negative impact on a certain destinations! =)

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