How to Travel More Sustainably

Tips for sustainable travel and some climate-friendly destinations

Josephina DiMillo
March 29, 2024
Waterfall with girl hiking below

While travel brings incredible experiences, it is important to acknowledge the effects it can have on the climate. As a traveler, you have the power to make conscious decisions to minimize your impact on the environment. Responsible travel is incredibly important when it comes to preserving the beauty of our planet and ensuring sustainability for future generations.

In this blog post, we'll explore what sustainable travel means, offer tips for traveling more responsibly, and highlight five climate-friendly destinations that are focused on sustainability.

What does sustainable travel mean?

Sustainable travel involves making choices that prioritize conservation, reduce carbon emissions, and promote social and economic benefits for local residents. According to the World Tourism Organization, sustainable tourism is defined as "Tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities". Ultimately, sustainable travel allows us to explore responsibly, making mindful choices that preserve the environment and benefit local communities. 

A cliff overlooking the water

Tips for sustainable travel:

Whether you're traveling for business or personal reasons, there are many ways you can minimize your impact on the environment. Here are six tips for sustainable travel:

  1. Choose Eco-Friendly Accommodations - Look for accommodations that implement sustainable practices like energy-efficient lighting, waste recycling, water saving, and solar panel usage. Consider staying in eco-lodges that are made with eco-friendly materials and operate with minimal impact on the environment.

  1. Opt for Sustainable Transportation - By choosing transportation with lower emissions during your trip, you can reduce your carbon footprint. This can include using public transportation like buses and trains, renting a bike, or walking. If air travel is necessary to reach your destination, opt for non-stop flights to minimize environmental impact.

  1. Reduce Waste - Pack reusable items like water bottles, bags, and utensils to minimize waste during your trip. Choose products that use recycled materials or minimal packaging, and avoid disposable items when possible. Dispose of waste responsibly by using recycling and composting facilities when they are available. You can also save your leftovers for another meal, which both saves money and reduces food waste!

  1. Support Local Businesses - Immerse yourself in the community’s culture and support the economy by shopping at locally owned shops, restaurants, and farmers markets. Buy local handcrafted treasures instead of mass produced souvenirs. Grab dinner at farm-to-table eateries that prioritize locally sourced ingredients and support sustainable farming.

  1. Respect Ecosystems and Wildlife - Be mindful of your impact on the surrounding environment as you explore. Avoid disturbing animals or habitats and stay on designated trails when hiking. By doing so, you can contribute to the conservation of nature for future generations.

  1. Engage in Climate-Friendly Activities - Participate in activities with minimal carbon emissions and focus on environmental responsibility. This can include hiking, kayaking, snorkeling, or other fun outdoor activities. You can also enjoy exploring the local community or visiting historical landmarks, shopping and eating locally along the way. Additionally, consider joining an eco-tour or educational program that focuses on sustainability and conservation in the area.

Scenic mountains

Ideas for Climate-Friendly Destinations:

Listed below are five travel destinations that place a focus on sustainability and environmental activism: 

  1. Asheville, North Carolina - Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville is known for its dedication to green living. There is an abundance of local farmers markets, eco-friendly hotels, and picturesque city parks for travelers to visit.

  1. Burlington, Vermont - Burlington is dedicated to clean energy initiatives, running on 100% renewable energy. The lakeside town has various water activities, as well as scenic parks and community gardens.

  1. Portland, Oregon - Portland is a sustainable destination due to its well-developed public transportation system, bike lanes, and eco-friendly businesses. The city places emphasis on local, farm-to-table dining and beautiful public parks.

  1. Boulder, Colorado - Nestled in the Rocky Mountains, Boulder is known for outdoor recreation activities and sustainability. Visitors can enjoy hiking, biking, and farm-to-table dining. Green initiatives like solar-powered breweries make it a climate-friendly destination.

  1. Stockholm, Sweden - For those who are traveling outside the US, Stockholm is known for being an environmentally conscious city. Over half of the city is covered in greenery and nature reserves, and it has various sustainable activities for travelers.

Sand dunes with girl sitting

Eco-responsible travel is incredibly important as we look towards a more sustainable future. By adopting responsible practices like staying in eco-friendly accommodations, supporting local businesses, reducing waste, and choosing green transportation, we can become better travelers. Additionally, visiting climate-friendly destinations that prioritize sustainability and whose communities are unharmed by travel is important. Let's travel consciously, making mindful choices to benefit local communities and preserve our environment for future generations. 

Josephina DiMillo
March 29, 2024

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