Easy methods to Change into a Sustainable Traveler in 2020

A solo male travelers backpacking in Southeast Asia

Posted: 2/17/2020 | February 17th, 2020

After years on the sidelines, sustainable journey has made its strategy to the forefront of the journey trade. Environmentally pleasant journey is now one of many fastest-growing actions within the trade, and I, for one, welcome this development. It’s an extremely essential matter that I’ve been writing about for years.

In any case, why destroy what you’re keen on? Nobody needs to see paradise paved over. All of us cringe after we return to an overdeveloped, polluted vacation spot. None of us wish to contribute to that.

Being an eco-friendly traveler is just being a respectful traveler.

As we attempt to develop into extra environmentally acutely aware, the questions for vacationers develop into:

Simply how will we “inexperienced” our travels?

What can we do to decrease our carbon footprint as we journey the world?

How can we higher work together with the communities we go to?

What modifications can we make which can be truly useful?

Flight shaming individuals is just not the reply, however will we all simply keep house and stop touring?

Thankfully, there’s truly rather a lot we are able to do as vacationers to cut back our ecological footprint whereas contributing to the sustainability of the communities we go to.

Listed below are 13 concrete methods to cut back your environmental influence as a traveler:

1. Keep Near House

Although the unique is all the time interesting, journey doesn’t must be about going someplace far-off. Journey is the artwork of exploration and discovery — and that may simply as nicely be close by. Discover someplace near house you haven’t been, get in your automobile (or higher but, take the bus), and go go to. You by no means know what you’ll come throughout!

“X” is all the time essentially the most fascinating place on the map.

2. Make Greener Transportation Selections

Should you can, attempt to journey by practice or bus. Not solely does this scale back your carbon footprint however corporations like FlixBus, Megabus, and Greyhound all the time have some low cost tickets, so it can save you cash too.

And when touring by automobile, think about providing rides to different vacationers to decrease your collective emissions and lower prices. Many individuals will probably be blissful to chip in for fuel if it saves them time, which suggests it can save you cash and decrease your carbon footprint on the identical time. Win-win! That can lower your per-person transportation emissions in half (if no more). Use platforms like BlaBlaCar, Couchsurfing, and Craigslist to search out rideshares close to you.

Keep away from flying or driving lengthy distances by your self every time you possibly can.

3. Journey Gradual

Once we journey overseas, we generally tend to hurry round from place to position, attempting to soak in as many sights as potential. I get that. In any case, not everybody might be everlasting nomads, and when you might have restricted time and aren’t certain if you happen to’re coming again once more, I can see why individuals “journey quick.”

Nonetheless, not solely does this elevate your transportation prices because you’re shifting rather a lot, you find yourself growing your carbon footprint. All these trains, buses, and planes add up. The less you are taking, the higher.

Moreover, being an excellent traveler not solely means lowering your carbon footprint but in addition doing good by the communities you go to. Day-tripping brings in little or no cash to communities however impacts their infrastructure closely (it’s why town of Hallstatt in Austria is proscribing day excursions). So attempt to keep at a vacation spot for a least an evening.

Touring to fewer locations is sweet not solely in your pockets and the local weather, it’s good for native communities as nicely.

(Plus, slowing your travels will allow you to get to know locations in a deeper manner, because you’ll get to spend extra time there. In journey, much less might be extra.)

4. Pack Sensible

Whereas the specifics of will depend upon the place you’re going, there are some things you’ll wish to deliver with you that can assist you journey extra sustainably:

  • Reusable water bottle – Nalgene makes sturdy bottles which can be BPA-free and made within the USA.
  • Water filter – Many locations don’t have potable water, which suggests you’re going to be utilizing tons of single-use plastic. As a substitute, deliver a Lifestraw or SteriPen. These units will purify your water so you possibly can drink from virtually anyplace, making certain you possibly can keep away from single-use plastic bottles.
  • Tote bag/stuff sack – Should you’re touring long-term, deliver a tote again or an additional stuff sack. You should utilize them for getting groceries and keep away from plastic baggage. At different occasions, they can be utilized to maintain your bag organized.
  • Diva cup – This can be a reusable menstrual cup. Whereas I can’t converse from private expertise, it’s one thing our resident solo feminine journey skilled packs when she travels, since menstrual merchandise will not be all the time accessible (and will also be fairly wasteful).
  • Utensils – Journey cutlery (a fork, knife, and spoon, or only a spork or a set of chopsticks) can turn out to be useful if you happen to’re on a finances and plan on cooking your personal meals. However they’re additionally helpful for road meals and consuming out, as you possibly can keep away from plastic cutlery.

Moreover, deliver a small Tupperware container for leftovers. I all the time discover myself with further meals once I prepare dinner in hostels. This helps keep away from waste and supplies meals for the subsequent day. It’s an incredible journey hack surprisingly few individuals make use of.

5. Fly with Fewer Connections

Whereas I don’t imagine in flight shaming, it’s unattainable to disclaim that flying does have a hefty carbon influence. Along with limiting your flying, attempt to use longer flights with fewer connections. Twenty-five p.c of airplane emissions happen throughout takeoff and touchdown, which suggests if you happen to fly shorter flights with extra connections, your emissions will probably be drastically larger.

Flying direct is just the higher choice environmentally, so go for that every time potential.

6. Keep away from Overvisited Locations

Should you can, keep away from cities grappling with overtourism. You’ll discover fewer crowds and decrease costs, and also you additionally gained’t be placing as a lot pressure on native communities struggling to maintain up. (And, from a sheer personal-enjoyment perspective, who needs to cope with crowds or lengthy traces? Nobody.)

Should you do go to overtouristed locations, resembling Venice, Amsterdam, or Barcelona, decide a lodge or hostel as an alternative of utilizing websites like Airbnb. House leases drive up rents for locals and drive them out of town middle. Until you’re going to share lodging with a neighborhood by renting a room from them (or utilizing Couchsurfing), persist with resorts and hostels. Airbnb and comparable websites actually are detrimental to cities that don’t have a whole lot of housing.

7. Take Public Transportation

After strolling, public transportation is the subsequent greatest strategy to discover new locations. On arrival, head to the native tourism workplace to be taught concerning the choices (in addition to any customer reductions accessible for public transit).

Should you do want a taxi, use ridesharing apps as an alternative. Uber and Lyft have a “pool” choice in lots of cities, which helps you to cut up your trip with different vacationers. Whereas it could take somewhat longer to get to your vacation spot, it should prevent cash and be certain that your trip is as eco-friendly as potential.

In the case of longer distances, finances buses are your greatest manner of getting round, since they normally pack in a whole lot of passengers. Megabus and FlixBus are two of the preferred choices.


8. Eat Native

Meals that’s imported has a a lot larger carbon footprint than regionally grown meals (and it’s normally not as contemporary both). To maintain your carbon footprint down, eat like a neighborhood. Stick with meals which can be grown regionally, and keep away from packaged and imported meals a lot as potential. This may be certain that you’re consuming seasonal produce, which not solely goes to be the freshest however will even help the native economic system. (Additionally, persist with natural meals if you happen to can.)

Certain, the odd Western consolation meal is just not the tip of the world, however the extra you eat regionally, the extra you scale back your environmental footprint and the extra you assist the native economic system as nicely. In any case, you didn’t come to Thailand to eat a burger you may get at house, proper?

9. Lower Again on Meat and Dairy

I’m not saying it’s essential go vegan. I like meat and by no means plan to surrender bacon. However if you happen to’re involved with the influence of your meals, lowering your meat and dairy consumption is extraordinarily useful. Over 25% of world greenhouse fuel emissions come from meals — and nearly all of these emissions are from animal merchandise. So by slicing again in your meat and dairy consumption, you’ll drastically scale back your carbon footprint. (Keep away from Brazilian beef if you happen to can, as lot comes from cleared rainforest land. Cattle ranching is the #1 reason behind rainforest deforestation on the planet. Similar for soy too.)

Plus, it’s by no means been simpler to journey as a vegan or vegetarian, as there are tons of fantastic eating places on the market — in addition to apps that can assist you discover them (you possibly can obtain the HappyCow app to search out the very best vegan and vegetarian choices close to you).

Even if you happen to take meat and dairy out of 1 meal per week, you’ll be shifting the needle in favor of a decrease carbon footprint and a extra moral weight-reduction plan.

10. Keep away from Animal Sights

A part of touring inexperienced helps the opposite creatures that inhabit his earth. Which means it’s best to keep away from any and all points of interest that use captive wild animals for leisure. The commonest offenders are driving elephants, swimming with dolphins, visiting captive whales, and petting (drugged) tigers. These actions require animal abuse and imprisonment and must be averted.

Animals are greatest seen of their pure habitats. If you wish to see them, go on a safari, jungle hike, or whale-watching tour and see the animals the place they belong, within the wild.

If you wish to be an moral and accountable traveler, persist with taking pictures and keep away from direct interactions with animals.

For extra info on animal tourism and how one can keep away from it, try these useful organizations:


11. Scale back Your Plastic Use

I hate plastic. It creates a ton of waste. From plastic bottles to toothpaste tubes to buying baggage, plastic sucks. I admit I’m not good, and I nonetheless use an excessive amount of, however I’m all the time attempting to cut back my consumption (each at house and overseas).

Avoiding plastic as a lot as potential is an effective way to cut back your environmental influence. You should buy a reusable water bottle, use toothpaste tabs, carry your personal cutlery, and journey with a canvas bag for starters.

Moreover, skip the plastic straws and cutlery and keep away from getting take-out except it is available in biodegradable containers. Straws can take 200 years to biodegrade, and plastic baggage take 20. Don’t let a couple of minutes of comfort endanger the planet. Skip the plastic.

12. Lower Again on Cruises

Cruises are one of many worst offenders in the case of carbon footprints and overtourism. Taking a cruise has the identical common per-person carbon footprint as flying from London to Tokyo — round-trip. That’s virtually 20,000 kilometers (12,500 miles)!

Due to cruises, carbon emissions in standard port cities might be so excessive that hundreds of individuals truly die prematurely yearly.

And to prime all of it off, day-trippers from cruises visits are overwhelming native economies, driving up costs, forcing out locals, and creating locations which can be over-reliant on tourism.

Don’t get me flawed: cruises are a enjoyable strategy to journey. However if you happen to’re trying to decrease your environmental footprint, you’ll wish to keep away from cruises as a lot as potential.

13. Take a Nature-Associated Journey

Journey is among the greatest private improvement instruments there’s. It opens you as much as an entire new world and widens your perspective of so many issues — individuals, tradition, historical past, meals, and a lot extra.

If you wish to higher perceive and respect the pure world, attempt taking a visit with the only function of connecting with nature. Head to the Australian Outback, go diving and swim round coral reefs, go to nationwide parks, camp within the Moroccan desert, keep a couple of weeks in a city with little or no electrical energy, canoe down the Amazon River, or spend a couple of nights below the celebrities in a subject near house.

Do one thing that will get you in contact with the world in a manner that sitting at house with all of the electrical energy and free-flowing operating water doesn’t. I promise that whenever you come house, you’ll have a brand new perspective on why we’re all so centered on being environmentally pleasant today.

It doesn’t take a lot to see that we live unsustainably and one thing’s bought to provide. Happening a nature journey can get you to assume in another way in the case of the setting and the way essential it’s for us to deal with it nicely.


Touring in a extra inexperienced and eco-friendly manner is one thing we should always all aspire to. As vacationers, it’s our duty to ensure that, whereas we discover the globe, we accomplish that in a manner that doesn’t hurt the planet or the native communities that we go to.

With a couple of easy modifications, you possibly can all develop into higher and extra sustainable vacationers. You simply have to take that first step. Motion begets motion, and the extra actions you are taking, the simpler the opposite ones will probably be.

E-book Your Journey: Logistical Ideas and Methods

E-book Your Flight
Discover a low cost flight by utilizing Skyscanner or Momondo. They’re my two favourite search engines like google and yahoo, as a result of they search web sites and airways across the globe so that you all the time know no stone is being left unturned.

E-book Your Lodging
You may e-book your hostel with Hostelworld as they’ve the biggest stock. If you wish to keep someplace aside from a hostel, use Reserving.com, as they persistently return the most cost effective charges for guesthouses and resorts. I take advantage of them on a regular basis.

Don’t Neglect Journey Insurance coverage
Journey insurance coverage will defend you towards sickness, harm, theft, and cancellations. It’s complete safety in case something goes flawed. I by no means go on a visit with out it, as I’ve had to make use of it many occasions prior to now. I’ve been utilizing World Nomads for ten years. My favourite corporations that supply the very best service and worth are:

On the lookout for the very best corporations to save cash with?
Take a look at my useful resource web page for the very best corporations to make use of whenever you journey! I listing all these I take advantage of — and so they’ll prevent money and time too!

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