We know. Sticking to sustainable practices while travelling can feel as confusing as having a reboot of Sex and the City without Samantha Jones.
But that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible!
Fear no longer sustainable pals, because we have compiled the ultimate list of eco-friendly travel tips to ensure this season is not only a hot girl summer but also a guilt-free one!
Tip #1: Find a Green Destination
First up is making sure your destination is as green as can be. The Global Green Economy Index is a handy resource to start with! This index essentially ranks countries based off of their eco-friendly initiatives, making finding your eco-friendly destination as easy as pie.
Once you have a place in mind, consider if they offer basic things you’d want to see in your own neighbourhood like a good recycling program, big parks, and farmers’ markets!
One of the best places to practice sustainable tourism? The beautiful town of Ljubljana, Slovenia! 😍
Tip #2: Discover Eco-Friendly Activities
Which brings us to activities! Do you want to get in touch with nature? Explore old ruins? Laze about all day by the beach? It’s worth planning your itinerary in advance so you can have the trip of your dreams while keepin’ it green.
Luckily some of the best vaca activities - like great hiking trails, cycling tours or simply walking to the beach will leave you tan, chiseled and greener than ever 💪 🌱
Tip #3: Try Eco Hotel Practices
Some hotels have practices that waste lots of food and water and make avoiding single use plastic challenging. Luckily, The Global
Sustainable Tourism Council is a great resource for this very issue! Already booked a stay at a hotel that isn't necessarily the greenest?
Here are a few things you can do to offset the impact:
- Try bringing your own cosmetics and donate the soap and shampoo you typically get!
- Opt out of daily room service to swap towels and bedding, which will help save water and energy!
- Hotel offering a (wasteful) buffet? Hit up a local restaurant instead! Not only is the food likely to be better but you’ll get a chance to mix ‘n mingle with the locals 😉
- Or consider renting an apartment or Airbnb for even more control over your eco-trip!
This is Villa le Barone Hotel, an eco-friendly hotel in Tuscany! Brb, we're packing our bags. 👀
Tip #4: Explore Greener Flying
Being thoughtful about flying is a great way to reduce your impact! Though it would be ideal to stay closer to home we know that isn’t always possible.
Here are some things to consider when booking your next flight:
- Search for flights with fewer layovers
- Use an e-ticket to save paper
- Bring your own food in a reusable container!
You can also purchase a carbon offset that can help balance out your impact if your flight isn’t as green as you’d like.
Tip #5: Consider Slow Travel
Slow travel is exactly what it sounds like! Whether it be staying at your destination longer instead of hopping around from city to city, or walking to your activities, it’s basically just taking it easy on yourself and the planet!
Taking the train is also one of the most eco-friendly modes of travel so if that’s an option for you, consider taking the long way ‘round. Slow travel is not only a more relaxing way to travel but you never know which adventures might be sprinkled along the way!
Tip #6: Think About How You're Gettin’ Around
Once you have a destination in mind, start to think about how you’ll get around once you arrive. Does this place have a bike share program, reliable public transportation or walkable neighbourhoods that will reduce your impact?
Tip #7: Pack Light
The lighter your suitcase, the lighter the plane! This means less fuel is used to get you where you’re going, plus you’ll have a few less pounds to haul around! When you’re packing, pick a few good quality pieces that can be layered for different weather conditions and don't be afraid to outfit repeat!
Tip #8: Bring Your Own Reusable Staples
Eco-friendly packing is not only about packing less but packing smart! Anything that will avoid single-use plastic or excessive waste deserves a spot in your suitcase. There’s nothing worse than being in the middle of a walking tour absolutely parched and looking for somewhere to buy water. So bring a reusable bottle!
Other staples might be your reusable shopping bag, bamboo cutlery, your own beach towel and a reusable paper towel for cleaning your airbnb 😉
Tip #9: Avoid Harsh Chemicals
Packing sunscreen for a week at the beach? Check your cosmetics and sunscreen for ocean-safe ingredients! There are a surprising amount of chemicals in cosmetics like triclosan and parabens that are harmful to aquatic life so using an app like Think Dirty is a great way to ensure what you’re bringing or purchasing on your trip wouldn’t even hurt a fly 🌱
Tip #10: Support Locals
Supporting local businesses isn’t just great for your community, but for every community! Buying local foods, services and goods will lower CO2 emissions and help out local farmers, artisans, and service workers, ultimately nourishing the community you're visiting. Besides, this practice will most likely ensure higher quality items, tours and fresher food so it’s a 🏆🏆🏆!
Tip #11: Donate!
Another great way to support locals and the planet is to donate your time or money to a local organization! Whether you dedicate a few hours to pick up trash on the beach, or find a local organization that supports people or the planet and donate small contribution, every bit counts! Jon Bruno, The executive director of International Ecotourism Society suggests this more modern approach stating, “Sustainable travel is all about creating a positive effect on the communities you visit," and we couldn’t agree!
Tip #12: Speak up (we LOVE this story!)
Advocating for green practices, wherever you go, is a shockingly good way to enact change. One success story took place in the 80s in Aruba (🎶come on pretty mama🎶), where one guest voiced their concern to the staff at the Bucuti & Tara Resort about their use of plastic cups at the bar.
The resort not only changed their policy as a result, but ran with it, continuing to implement green practices, and was eventually named the most sustainable resort in the world in 2016! Most businesses are dying to get inside the mind of their customers, so giving them a piece of your mind willingly doesn’t only benefit the planet but also their business! 🎉
There you have it, eco-babes! At the end of the day sustainable travel is all about preparation. Once you make it to your destination you’ll not only experience a guilt-free adventure but you’ll have most of your trip planned, allowing for you to kick back and enjoy the ride 😉
Where have you traveled lately? What was the sustainable landscape like? Drop your travel recos in the comments!