When we travel, we often have a bigger carbon footprint, because we may be flying or driving long distances, and eating out a lot. So it is crucial to apply some practical eco-friendly travel tips to support sustainable tourism and to be a responsible traveler.
While traveling, it is also more difficult to control the amount of waste we are producing and we may not have access to recycling and composting facilities.
However, I don’t want to prevent anyone from traveling, because I love exploring the world!
But, I try to do it intentionally by choosing the best ways to travel responsibly and support sustainable tourism.
Both sustainability and traveling are very important to me, so I wanted to share with you my tips on how to combine both.
Here are 8 eco-friendly travel tips for sustainable tourism that you can implement next time that you go on a trip!
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1 – Support the local economy
Rather than buying some cheaply made souvenirs, choose a hand-crafted one that was produced in the local community, with local materials.
You will directly support the locals with your money and you will have a more intentional and unique piece.
Be aware that some souvenirs might be produced with some animal parts that have been illegally sourced.
In this case, never buy those souvenirs because you could be supporting the killing of endangered species.
For instance, I wouldn’t buy a souvenir that contains ivory because I don’t want to support the slaughter of elephants.
Try staying informed about those issues that may happen in some places.
While considering buying a souvenir, make sure that it isn’t an impulse purchase and that you love and want the item.
Eating in local restaurants and staying in small hotels and Airbnbs rather than in big chains are other great ways to support the local economy and sustainable tourism.
2 – Alternative ways of traveling
One of the most important eco-friendly travel tips is to try to use public transportation as often as possible.
In big cities, there are many options like trains, subways, buses, bikes. You can also easily visit many cities walking.
In Europe, the majority of city centers are walkable, which saves you considerable amounts of money and helps you support sustainable tourism.
If those options aren’t possible for you, consider sharing an Uber or other car-sharing alternatives.
When you are traveling abroad, check if you can take the train, a bus, or your car instead of flying. Those alternatives are a lot less carbon-intensive than taking an airplane.
On the other hand, flying drastically increases your carbon footprint. But sometimes, avoiding plane travel isn’t possible.
In this case, choose a non-stop flight rather than a flight with stopovers. A great way to be more sustainable while flying is to carbon offset.
This means that you pay a small amount of money to compensate for the carbon emissions of your flight. This way, your money goes to sustainable initiatives such as reforestation projects.
3 – Don’t visit cruel animal attractions
Do your research before paying for an attraction involving animals, especially wild ones. By visiting one of these places, you may unknowingly be supporting animal cruelty.
Many people traveling in Asia want to take a selfie with a tiger or ride an elephant or take a bath with it.
But what they don’t know is that often, those places are mistreating and abusing these animals that cannot defend themselves.
Those animals are usually kept in terrible conditions, in small cages, or chained. They have barely enough to eat as well as have unsafe water to drink.
Those animals are often beat until they fear their owners so that they do exactly what they want them to do. Some of them are drugged and babies are separated from their mothers.
If tourists did their research, they would know that they should not ride elephants. Elephants’ spines aren’t supposed to support the weight of humans.
Walking all day with a heavy chair on their back can cause many other injuries. Please don’t support those attractions just to get “nice” Instagram pictures and show off.
4 – Take care of your car
Of course, one of the best ways to help the environment is to leave your car at home when you can take public transportation. But, sometimes you have no other choice and it’s still better than flying.
When you are traveling by car, make sure to fully inflate your tires. By doing so, you won’t be consuming excessive gas during your trip.
A study has shown that for every 1% decrease in tire pressure, your fuel efficiency decreases by 0.3%. So, checking and adjusting your car pressure before leaving will save you gas and money.
Another tip to increase fuel efficiency is to remove useless stuff from your car. The heavier it is, the more fuel it needs to provide motion. So make sure to travel light when you are driving.
5 – Consider having a staycation
As much as we may love traveling, we don’t need to go far from our home to discover new interesting and beautiful places.
Chances are that your country has amazing locations you would love to visit and that foreigners travel long distances to see.
Try to learn about what places you could visit in your country. Check for national parks, beaches, cultural cities, mountains, and other beautiful landmarks.
You can have an unforgettable vacation and create lots of memories by enjoying the beauty of your own country.
That is something I need to remind myself as I love traveling abroad. In France, we have many famous landmarks and beautiful nature that millions of tourists visit every year.
I often need to remember that I can just go on a trip nearby instead of flying abroad. This is an eco-friendly travel tip that many people tend to forget about.
6 – Don’t litter
This is one of the most obvious eco-friendly travel tips, but yet so important! And it should also be applied in your own community.
While traveling, respect the country you are visiting and don’t leave your trash in the environment. Recycle what you can and throw the rest in a bin so that it does not end up in nature.
Always have a bag to take your waste with you when there is no bin nearby. You can throw it away later when you have the chance to.
If you want to take sustainable tourism to the next level, try picking up plastics and other waste that are polluting beaches and natural landscapes.
7 – Bring your reusable water bottle
Of course, you cannot do this if the country you are traveling to doesn’t have safe drinking water.
If it does have safe water, having your reusable bottle everywhere you go will prevent you from buying single-use plastic bottles.
It will save you a ton of money, which means more money to spend during your trip.
Also, plastic water bottles often end up polluting the environment and their production requires oil drilling which isn’t great either.
Having your reusable water bottle everywhere you go is a great way to reduce waste and go green while traveling! Bringing your reusable bottle with you, you will only need to refill it when it is empty.
There are even collapsible reusable bottles that are super convenient for when you’re traveling and don’t have a lot of space.
8 – Conserve water and energy
This one is obvious, and we should all already do this at home!
But when you are abroad, it is especially important to do so because some areas suffer from water shortages and may experience electricity cuts.
You don’t want to have a negative impact when you are traveling somewhere. You should respect the country, its locals, and its environment.
Don’t forget to turn off the lights when you leave your hotel or Airbnb. Don’t take long showers and do everything you can to save water.
Many people don’t seem to care since they paid for their stay. But those actions don’t take a lot of effort, and they make a big difference.
Those were 8 eco-friendly travel tips for sustainable tourism that you can easily implement next time you go on a trip!
Traveling is an activity during which we produce more waste and have a bigger carbon footprint. So, we must take some concrete actions to reduce our negative impact.
What are some eco-friendly travel tips that you find help you reduce your carbon footprint while traveling? What are your favorite practices to support sustainable tourism?