Everybody loves to travel but what we all love can be severely harming to our environment. While of course not travelling at all would be the most environmentally friendly option that probably is not an option for the majority of travellers. Luckily, there are some ways to reduce your environmental footprint and do a little less harm to the environment. Here are 23 ways to travel more environmentally friendly!
Table of Contents
- Bring your own reusable water bottle
- Refill small shampoo bottles rather than buying new ones
- Take busses rather than flying
- Discover the city by foot
- If you have to travel by car try to find other people to fill up the car
- Stay in eco friendly hostels
- Pack lightly
- Offset your CO2 Emissions
- Only do laundry when necessary
- Slow Travel
- Enjoy local foods
- Shop locally
- Travel locally
- Don’t support fast fashion
- Use e-tickets rather than paper ones
- Join beach cleanings or pick up some trash
- Have a reusable shopping bag
- Eat less meat
- Don’t touch any Corals when you are Scuba Diving/ Snorkelling
- Fly Economy Class
- Ethical Wildlife Encounters
- Follow Assigned Hiking Paths
Bring your own reusable water bottle
In that way you can fill up your bottle at the airport, hostel etc. and you won’t have to buy new plastic. Also inform yourself if the tab water of the country where you are traveling to is drinkable. If not you can also invest in a filter bottle which would not only save you the effort of buying plastic bottles but also reduce your plastic wastage.
Tip: Always check if the tab water is drinkable before you travel to a new destination.
Refill small shampoo bottles rather than buying new ones
Especially when you are just travelling with carry on or doing a small weekend trip we often pack travel sized hygiene products such as small shampoos, shower gels and conditioners. If you already bought the packaging once you can easily refill them from your big bottles at home. That’s not only cheaper but saves plastic as well.
Take busses rather than flying
If it is only a short flight you should consider rather taking the bus or train. It is not only a more environmentally friendly way to travel but also saves you the hassle of weighing your suitcase, going through security etc. Additionally, you can also add some stops along the way and split your bus ride into smaller trips.
Discover the city by foot
Walking everywhere is also a good way to stay fit while travelling. Personally, I’d rather walk two hours to get somewhere than pay for a bus or Uber. Mostly, because I like to travel on a budget and paying for busses that I don’t need seems like a waste of money. But also because I get to know a place so much better if I walk around and discover random places along the way. And of course it is more environmentally friendly. Biking is also always a good option.
If you have to travel by car try to find other people to fill up the car
If you are driving anyway, do find some people that are going the same way. You can for example sign up for bla bla car, where you can indicate where you are going and other people can find you. In that way at least only one car will travel instead of two or three. And a big bonus point is also obviously that you can split up the costs and you will save some money as well.
Stay in eco friendly hostels
Another way to travel more environmentally friendly is to stay in eco-friendly accommodation. There are a couple of places that are more eco-friendly than others. They for example pay extra attention to recycling or use renewable energy sources. Other examples are collecting rain water or using fair trade materials. Whatever it is, in general, staying at an eco friendly hostel/ resort/ lounge etc. you will travel more environmentally friendly.
If your luggage is heavier then airplanes will need more fuel which obviously isn’t great. Also, there is little that is more annoying than overpacking when you travel with a bunch of stuff that you don’t actually need. Just think about what is necessary when you start packing.
Offset your CO2 Emissions
You know when you sometimes order a package and you have the option to pay a little bit more to offset your CO2 Emissions? You can often do the same for busses or planes! Flixbus for example has that option. It is often only a couple of cents more expensive, so if you have the chance make sure to always offset your CO2 emissions.
Only do laundry when necessary
With that I do not only mean your own laundry but also consider for example towels when you are staying at a hotel. You do not need to get new towels every single day. A lot of water wastage in hostels actually is being used on laundry so keep that in mind. For your own laundry make sure to not only bring clothes with you that require washing after wearing them once. It also saves you some money, especially when you travel on a budget as doing laundry abroad can be expensive at times.
With slow travel you often get a better feeling of your environment and the country which you are visiting by travelling at your own speed. In that way you do not only get to experience a destination more in depth but also travel more environmentally friendly by reducing your plane travels and carbon emissions.
Traveling by bus? In Europe I always travel everywhere with Flixbus.
Enjoy local foods
While grocery shopping, try to mostly buy products that have been produced in the area or close by in order to make sure that they have not travelled through the entire world. Going to a local market would have to be a good idea if you are looking for local foods.
Of course it always helps to shop at local places and therefore support small local businesses. This doesn’t only have to be limited to food items but the same is important for clothes, souvenirs or whatever else you feel like buying.
Especially now during social distancing times, people have been travelling more locally and started discovering their own country a little bit. But even when we can travel internationally again, why not opt for travelling locally every now and then. Try discovering place in your own country as well, you don’t always need to be flying to places on the other side of the globe.
Don’t support fast fashion
This shouldn’t be something that should only concern you during travelling but also in your normal daily life. But that is obviously the case for pretty much all of these on the list. Fast fashion has a huge environmental impact, contributes to heaps of water pollution and often exploits overseas workers. I’m sure those are already enough reasons to not support fast fashion items. Like seriously, you don’t need to be following every single fashion trend.
Use e-tickets rather than paper ones
It not only saves you the hassle of finding a printer to print out your ticket but it is also more environmentally friendly when travelling. Some airlines for example still require printed tickets but if they don’t just always keep your tickets on your phone. And you will also be less likely to loose your ticket as I’m sure you will pay more attention to your phone than to a piece of paper.
Join beach cleanings or pick up some trash
While you are traveling to a new destination you might want to help out the environment a little bit. Some hostels for example organise weekly beach cleanings where you not only keep the beach free from plastic waste but it is also a nice way to meet new people.
Have a reusable shopping bag
Small shopping bags don’t really weigh anything and they come in quite handy every now then. You can use them for buying groceries or just keeping your backpack a little more organised. Either way, way better than buying plastic bags.
Eat less meat
Meat production contributes to heaps of water pollution and contributes massively to global warming. I do know that there are a lot of countries where it is kind of impossible to not eat meat and that’s a whole other story. But if you can avoid it at least try to reduce your meat consumption and opt for a vegetarian option every now and then. That’s not only when travelling but in general try to at least limit your meat consumption a little bit.
Don’t touch any Corals when you are Scuba Diving/ Snorkelling
If you are exploring the underwater world please always refrain from touching anything at all. Just by touching it you can do severe damage to the marine life, so please don’t do that.
Fly Economy Class
If you do have to fly, fly economy class. Most people, including myself of course, would never even think about flying anything else but economy class. Even if I had all the money in the world that would seem like such as waste of money honestly. But if you do think that you should be flying business class, keep in mind that it is even more harmful to the environment than flying economy.
Ethical Wildlife Encounters
There are a lot of places around the world that will offer you animal encounters, most of them under horrible conditions and by visiting them you are supporting all the harm that is done to the animals.
Please always do your research.
Speaking of Tiger temples or riding elephants in Thailand, please never ever visit or support these places.
But on the other hand, meeting animals can be done ethically by visiting a wildlife sanctuary for example. If you do visit any animal places just make sure it is ethically and do your research.
When you are already travelling to a country, volunteering can be a good option to give back. Make sure to do some research before where you could volunteer if that is something you are interested in.
Follow Assigned Hiking Paths
When you go hiking, make sure to stay on the assigned hiking paths. Not only because it is of course safer for you but also so you do not damage the nature around you.
I went on a really really cool 4-day hiking tour in Colombia to the Lost City! Go check that out if that is something you would be interested in!
And these were 23 ways to travel more environmentally friendly and more eco friendly. But you shouldn’t only follow these when you are travelling. Most of these are important as well during your normal daily life.
It is important that we take as many measures as possible to reduce our carbon footprint. Even if you think changing one little habit isn’t of much use, if everybody only changes their habits a tiny bit we can still make a little bit of a difference. We only have one planet to live on!
Please do let me know of any other tips that you might have to travel more environmentally friendly and drop them in the comments if you’d like.
Talk to you later x
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