Guide to sustainable travel for dummies

sustainable travel guide

Sustainable travel has become more popular since the pandemic began and for all the right reasons! Many people are looking for ways to reduce their impact on the environment and climate change. Travellers are starting to think about sustainability in a whole new way. Making the decision to live consciously can be tough. But once you get into the groove of things, it becomes easier than ever before. Whether you are backpacking through Europe or trekking around Southeast Asia, sustainable travel can be easier than it seems. What do you need? A few simple changes in your routine will make all of the difference. The best thing about making these decisions is that they don’t just help you – living sustainably has a positive effect on everyone around you too!

What exactly is a “sustainable choice“? If you are reading this article, you probably know this already. Let me explain for those who don’t know. Sustainable means that one person’s actions do not have (or has reduced) negative consequences for another living being or the planet. This includes fair trade goods, conserving energy in your home or workplace, recycling waste products where possible and so much more! Think about how you can use this concept for responsible travel and its benefits for you and future generations.

Guide to sustainable travel for dummies

The question on our minds (and lips) these days is how we can save our planet without sacrificing our vacation plans. This guide will help you minimize your environmental footprint while still enjoying your time off! First, let’s start by making one thing clear – the shorter the distance you travel, the lesser the carbon footprint. Why? Because you reduce the production of emissions such as carbon dioxide. It affects climate change. But! If we want to go farther from home or visit touristy places, we can slow travel. It can lower the impact on the planet. What are the other ways we can travel responsibly?

1. How to choose a sustainable stay

I highly recommend doing your own research before choosing your holiday destination. Some destinations are more sustainable than others. For example, Spain (certain places) makes it to the list of top 100 sustainable places to travel. So, make sure to do your research and pick a destination that’s not too popular or touristy. Book your accommodation through eco-friendly booking sites like,, or Airbnb. Choose homestays, farm stays, and local guides. These options help give back to the local economy. Use a low-energy lightbulb instead of turning lights on all day long – this will save electricity over time.

2. Guide to sustainable travel by air or by road

Avoid air travel as much as possible. Choose, Bus and trains or even driving whenever you can instead of flying because they are more eco-friendly options. If you’re flying, use less water when brushing teeth or shaving; avoid using plastic bags; bring reusable shopping bags with you on your trip. If you do have plastic bottles, reuse them or recycle them. Consider opting for a vegetarian meal while travelling (and during your stay). This will cut down on energy costs from food production and reduce pollution from meat processing plants. You can choose to add more days to your travel or an extended layover. When travelling by car, try and choose greener options. That is, choosing more efficient gasoline vehicles if you do not want to choose electric ones. Make sure your tires are correctly inflated and check for any leaks in the oil or coolant fluid. These are few ways you can reduce your carbon footprint while travelling.

3. Things you should pack when traveling responsibly

guide to sustainable travel

If you are reading this, you are likely considering travelling like an eco-traveller. That’s great! I understand that the thought of packing for a trip can be overwhelming. Especially when it comes to deciding what items are necessary and which ones aren’t. You don’t want to lug around too many things or forget something important like your toothbrush! On the other hand, you don’t want to pack so lightly that any essentials are missing (like bug spray!). Fear not – I have put together some of the most essential items for a sustainable adventure. Of course, you could add to this list however, these are the items you should not miss.

Let me start with clothes! Before you go shopping for a vacation, take a look at your wardrobe, likely you have all that you need. But if you don’t, make sure to buy vegan or recycled clothes/shoes. Choose eco-friendly clothing brands that are doing their best to reduce their impact on the planet. Alternative Apparel is one such brand. Nowadays you can buy clothes made from recycled plastic too!

 We must do our best to avoid plastic. This means either recycle the existing plastic or carry travel/ reusable water bottles and food containers! When you buy a takeaway from a local café ask them to pack in your reusable-container, instead of plastic cups and boxes! There are so many good reusable water bottles that even come with integrated filters that purify water! 

Carry your own utensils if you want to avoid buying food from restaurants. So that you can avoid plastic and cook yourself healthy meals. Airbnbs are excellent stay options for this. Most of them come with basic cooking utensils. Other items you can consider for packing are reef-friendly sunscreens if you are heading towards the sea. Natural bug spray, eco-friendly soap or shampoos, bamboo toothbrushes, reusable bags, cloth laundry bags and reusable travel kit also make to this list!

4. Support local business and ecosystem

ecotourism - travel guide

Book eco-friendly tours, hire local tour guides and shop locally. Respect the locals, their culture and the natural world too. Have a look at Intrepid travel to find an eco-friendly tour. Do not encourage wildlife cruelty by visiting aquariums and zoos that have animals in captivity for human entertainment. Nothing is more humbling than contributing to preserving the natural world. Do not disturb the native wildlife, do not litter and always recycle whatever can be recycled! Here is another source to find sustainable tour operator – Sustaining Tourism

If the pandemic has taught us anything then it is this, we are lucky to be a living witness to such a beautiful world. We are blessed to experience all the joys this planet offers. It’s our responsibility as individuals to protect, preserve and give back to nature and the community. The choices we make today will affect our loved ones and us. Always remember that life comes in a full circle, be responsible. Making mistakes is inevitable but what counts is every step taken to improve and make better choices than the previous ones. I hope this article gave you few simple ideas that you can use to plan a sustainable trip.

If you’re looking for someone to help with your itinerary then get in touch with me. 

Find my other blog posts here

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