The Responsible Traveler: 5 More Ideas to Travel Sustainably

The Responsible Traveler: 5 More Ideas to Travel Sustainably

Do you already make eco-friendly choices when traveling? Do you plan trips to green destinations? Stay in eco-friendly hotels? Shop small and locally? Do you make it a habit to travel by trains instead of planes? Are you a pro at using public transportation? If you’ve answered yes to most of these questions, get ready to learn how you can make your travel even more sustainable! We have prepared five more tips for you to try on your next trip! If you’re new to sustainable tourism, check out our earlier article on five easy ways to be a more sustainable traveler. Unlike the ideas in our first article, these tips will require more hands-on action before and during your vacation.

1. Before you go, use/freeze fresh food at home

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Cook your fresh items, give them to a friend, or donate them to a local organization.

By using or donating your perishable food items before your trip, you decrease food waste. What’s the harm in producing food waste? About 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted each year. That’s 1/3 of food produced for humans to consume. When we waste food, we also waste the water and energy that went into the production of the food.


Food waste is also one of the largest contributers to greenhouse gases. The carbon footprint of food waste is 3.3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent. If food is thrown in the trash and ends up in a landfill, it continues to release methane into the atmosphere. Methane is even more dangerous to the atmosphere than CO2 because it traps heat 25 times more efficiently than CO2.

2. Include a zero-waste pack in your luggage

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You can buy a completed kit or make one with items you have at home.

Think about when you travel. How many plastic shopping bags do you end up with? How many plastic straws and eating utensils do you end up using? For many travelers, the answer is: a lot. Having a zero-waste pack eliminates your need to use disposable items while traveling. 

A basic zero-waste pack includes: a water bottle, reusable utensils, a cloth napkin, and a cloth shopping bag. If you prefer you can also add a thermos, a straw, and containers for leftovers. You can find them locally, online, or DIY one.

3. Go sightseeing by bicycle or walking

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Not only is it eco-friendly, but when you walk or cycle through a city, finding small shops and charming restaurants is much easier!

Walking or bicycling through a city is more eco-friendly than taking a car or public transportation. Walking is the greenest mode of transportation because it produces zero greenhouse emissions. Bicycling is only a little less eco-friendly than walking, but is faster and let’s you cover more ground. These two ways of traversing a city or both friendly for the environment and healthy for you.

4. Place the "Do not disturb" placard on your door

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If you need housekeeping to come in, make sure to hang up your used, but clean towels so they’re not replaced.

By placing the “do not disturb” placard on your door, you help to decrease the amount of resources housekeeping uses each day. This helps to lessen the gargantuan amount of waste hotels produce each day. To be even more eco-friendly, take the recyclables out of your hotel room and recycle them in the lobby or outside of the hotel. If you need to throw away more harmful items, like batteries, consider packing them in your suitcase and disposing of them when you get home from your vacation.

5. Respect the traditions and culture of the locals

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The Penglipuran Village in Bali hosts a festival every December to showcase their culture to visitors. 

Sustainable traveling isn’t only about being eco-friendly. It includes preserving the local culture. Tourism can have a negative cultural impact on locals when tourists expect locals to forego their customs to make tourists feel more at home. Before traveling, take some time to learn about local traditions, culture, and gastronomy. A simple google search of “[country name] culture and etiquette” will help prepare you for engaging with locals while you are abroad.

We all love to travel. We love to become familiar with new experiences, try exotic foods, and learn about cultures that are different from our own. By using these tips, you will have a more positive impact everywhere you go.