How to plan a Sustainable & Ethical Vacation

How to plan a Sustainable & Ethical Vacation

How to plan a Sustainable & Ethical Vacation

How to plan a sustainable vacation, Blue Eyed Compass

Travel is one of our generation’s greatest gifts, and with gifts we cherish, we tend to carefully protect and map out how we can best utilize it. What better way to cherish and protect our gift of travel than by planning your next trip (and hopefully future trips too!) so that it is sustainable and ethical.

We’re diving into the best ways to plan a sustainable vacation, and providing all of the tools you need to do so, making the process easy and exciting for you!

This planning process follows an order that is most typically used when it comes to travel planning, and incorporates how to plan for sustainability & eco-friendly purposes. Lets begin!

Sustainable Travel PLANNING:

The planning phase of a trip is the most broad part of vacation planning, and can be the most exciting as the opportunities for your sustainable travels feel endless. One of the best sustainable travel tips is to be flexible in your destination and travel dates. This allows you to research for better prices and support destinations that you may not have considered before. Here is how you can best plan for your sustainable & ethical vacation:

 

– Research locations –

While this is a bit broad and can encompass many aspects, researching destinations can be fairly simple. We want to consider a few different aspects of a destination before we choose to travel there. Here are a few examples of what you may want to keep in mind:

-Is the destination struggling with overcrowding?

If it is, it may not be a good idea for you to go there

-How can I get there (transportation – more on this below)

-Is this destination expensive and/or within my budget?

-Are they having any shortage issues? I.e. clean water shortages.

Did you know that you can do the following?…

 

– Plant trees while you research! –

Use https://www.ecosia.org/ for your web searches when planning your next trip. Ecosia uses the ad revenue from your web searches to plant trees in areas that need the support. Simple & safe to use, Ecosia is a perfect way to start becoming a more sustainable traveler – you can literally help plant trees before you even begin your trip!

 

– Book nonstop flights –

Did you know that a plane’s carbon emissions are emitted most during its take off & landing? If you want to travel to a destination that requires air travel, aim for direct, nonstop flights. While nonstop flights tend to be more expensive, you are saving precious vacation time and being more sustainable.

– Consider your mode of transportations carbon footprint –

Can you take a greener mode of transportation to get to your destination and while you are there? Is it possible to take a train or a bus to your vacation spot? Both train and bus options are undoubtedly more kind to the environment than an airplane. But if air travel is the only way, research how you could utilize local transportation once you’ve arrived.

Many destinations have public transportation from their airports to the city center. There are also small businesses that also offer carpooling from the airport to your hotel. They will wait for a set number of people to land and then select a route that is most convenient for dropping off at multiple locations. It’s much more environmentally friendly than taking a taxi on your own. These options only take a small bit of online research to discover, and most often will save you money that you can instead spend while in your destination!

Speaking of budgets, you can also easily…

 

 

– Add in carbon offsetting to your travel budget! –

This simple sustainable travel planning tip is perfect for those destinations that require you to fly to reach. For only a few extra dollars, you can offset your carbon footprint.

You can find a list of vetted carbon offsetting companies here. Scroll to the bottom of the linked page to find the list.

– Honestly though, consider your budget –

While most of us want to travel without the high cost, we can plan a budget friendly & epically fun trip while incorporating the costs of supporting local businesses. It can look cheaper to save a few dollars by purchasing your souvenirs as the shop next to the main tourist site, or eat at the international chain because you know their menu better. However, your money is stretched so much farther when spent at a local vendors shop and a family owned restaurant. If you map out a budget then you won’t be stuck haggling with someone for souvenirs or at farmers markets. There are plenty of better budget tricks you can use for your vacations, so think ahead in terms of what you can spend your money on and the cost of goods in your destination.

– Opt for e-tickets –

Stop wasting expensive ink and paper, and save all of your itineraries to your cell phone. Doing this is also more convenient when you can have your documents all in one place as opposed to flipping through papers.

– Travel in the off season –

There is a reason the off season is cheaper. The majority of travelers tend to go in the summer months, when children are on summer vacation/out of school. However if you go a few weeks before or after those hot summer months, you will be saving money and be supporting sustainable travel. Off season travel lessens the load of visitors in hotels, restaurants, main tourist sites and will overall be much cheaper for you.

*You’ll be rewarded with fewer crowds for a more serene experience

*It will be cheaper for you to get there & stay there

*Off season travel evens out the strain of visitors to a destination (aka flattens the overtourism curve)

– Visit less traveled to destinations! –

There are so many incredibly beautiful and exciting destinations to visit. Consider traveling to less frequented places instead of just Paris, Barcelona or Bali. There are SO many reasons why those less visited places are ideal for travelers. You can find them in detail in this post about what overtourism is and how to help with overtourism.

– Research & choose a centralized location in your destination –

Doing so will typically make it easier for you to get around to other places and there will be better, more convenient forms of public transportation. For example, you could choose to stay in the outskirts of Rome, Italy as the hotel prices are cheaper, however, you will spend 5x as much time traveling into the city each day, and won’t be able to easily go back if you forget something.

– Carpool! –

I often wonder how we all managed to get around before the convenience of Uber and Lyft ride sharing apps. What makes using these apps different from taking a taxi? While rideshare apps and taxi’s typically support a local’s income, you can choose the option to carpool with others. Carpooling saves gas and saves you money.

– Learn a few phrases in your destination’s language –

In movies we often see this portrayed- an American scoffing at a foreigner not speaking English when in the United States. Well, imagine how overly popular destinations feel when thousands of Americans refuse to greet them in their local language. Learning a few common phrases in your destination’s language is a sign of respect, both for your destination and for yourself. Plus you’ll feel very accomplished if you can have a pleasant conversation with your barista.

Packing for a Sustainable Trip

Packing for your sustainable vacation means that your adventure is coming up soon! It’s an exciting part of the travel process, and if done with sustainable tactics in mind can feel very rewarding when you’re strutting your stuff through the airport like a sustainable travel boss.

 

-Don’t overpack –

Aim for carry-on luggage. This will save you money from paying to check your bag, and is sustainable for the airline. The lighter the plane, the less fuel they will need to use. While five pounds extra on your luggage may not sound like a lot, imagine if a plane with 100+ people went five pounds lighter on their luggage! And that number greatly increases when you consider those larger international flights where there are hundreds of passengers.

 

– Ask yourself ‘are my outfits culturally appropriate for the destination?’ –

Those who are frequent international travelers have most likely experienced a wardrobe issue while traveling, and for less frequent travelers you can save yourself the embarrassment and frustration if you do a bit of ethical travel planning beforehand. How can you do this? Does your destination have churches or religious sites that you want to visit? If yes, then you’ll need to have your knees and shoulders covered. Is the place known for having pickpockets? If yes, try not to dress like a cowboy out of Texas. That’s like putting an ‘X marks the spot’ signal over your head for smart pickpockets. A simple online search can help you pack perfectly for a safe trip.

 

– Pack items that will easily reduce your plastic footprint –

Having reusable items with you can make your travels feel seamless. You can find a list of the best sustainable travel essentials here.

Sustiainable Lodging Research

Where you stay during your vacation can make or break your entire experience. Here are ways to plan for sustainable travel when it comes to your lodging.

 

– Look for locally owned boutique hotels, not an international chain –

Oftentimes these locally owned hotels have extra amenities and can provide incredible suggestions for what to do and where to eat.

 

– See if the local lodging is also eco-conscious –

Eco-conscious hotels will proudly showcase it on their website and be happy to send you details if you ask for them. Simply sending an email prior to booking can allow you to decipher if they align with your sustainable preferences (think no plastic mini-shampoo bottles, or down feather pillows, etc), and you’ll get your first glimpse into how hospitable they really are.

 

– If you’re comfortable with it you can also choose to stay at homestays, couchsurf, or hostels –

While I personally haven’t stayed in a hostel since college, I have many female solo travel friends who do so for all of their trips. Be sure to research what eco-conscious tactics they utilize and that they are highly rated – your safety comes first! These local lodging options can save you money and provide you with a more authentic experience.

Ways to EXPLORE your travel destination sustainably

Once you are in your destination and are comfortably set up at your hotel, your sustainable travel self will be eager to get out & explore! Below are tips to help you explore your destination in an ethical and responsible way, without taking away any of the fun.

 

– Know your tour guide –

If you enjoy booking a day tour with a company do your research on them. Is it a local company? Are they transparent on their environmental & community support for the places they bring their customers? An important issue to be aware of  is greenwashing. Tour groups can present themselves as responsible public organizations, but in reality are providing disinformation and tricking paying customers into doing things that are negative to the destination. (For example, there are volunteer groups who ask participants to pay to volunteer and paint schools in third world areas, only to have those guests leave, paint the buildings white again, and bring in a new group of paying volunteers). You can learn more about how to find an ethical tour company here.

 

– Research the local culture of your destination –

Just like you researched how to appropriately and respectfully dress, make sure that what you plan to do on your trip is respectful to the local culture. For example…

-Is the hike you want to do sanctioned by the local authorities? Or is it a protected path that happens to have a great view?

-Is it ‘tradition’ to carve your initials into a tree? Or is that actually frowned upon & damaging to the local flora and fauna?

-Are you gearing up to jetski in your tropical destination? Or will that damage fragile coral reefs and potentially endanger wildlife?

These are important things to keep in mind when you’re planning your explorations, and while it sounds like it’s taking the fun out of your trip, I guarantee you can find even better things to do that aren’t hurting others.

 

What are ways that you plan your trips to be sustainable?

Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing online brand strategist. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

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How to plan a sustainable vacation, Blue Eyed Compass
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Sustainable Travel Essentials

Sustainable Travel Essentials

Sustainable Travel Essentials

13 Sustainable Essentials for Responsible Travelers, Blue Eyed Compass

This page contains affiliate links to products and tours that I have used for my own travels, purchased & enjoyed. Clicking these links does not cost you anything, however doing so will support Blue Eyed Compass and allow the site to continue.  THANK YOU!  You can view our disclosure page for additional details

One of the easiest ways to become a sustainable traveler is to reduce your waste when traveling. So instead of using items for a single use, swapping them with permanent pieces that are easy to bring with you – or what I call your sustainable essentials for responsible travelers!

This is not a list of additional items that you need to take up precious space in your luggage, but instead a set of wonderfully convenient swaps that will help you be a more responsible traveler while simultaneously helping the planet!

Getting to your destination:

1.) Travel pillow- avoid the plastic covered options that are far too often supplied on airlines and trains. Bringing your own travel pillow makes for a much more comfortable trip for you in addition to limiting the plastic use.

2.) Travel Sweater- for those long, overnight flights, pair your travel pillow with a deliciously comfortable & large sweater. I have one large sweater that I bring with me on overnight flights that eliminates the need for me to use the airline’s plastic wrapped (and extremely thin) blankets. I cozy up by wrapping my large sweater around me (all while resting my head against my travel pillow).

3.) Sturdy Carry-on Luggage- one of the best sustainable essentials any responsible traveler will have is a sturdy carry-on luggage piece. It is much more sustainable to pack in only a carry-on as opposed to a large and heavy suitcase that you have to pay to check onto your flight. To avoid having to buy multiple pieces of carry on luggage, purchase an incredibly well made one that will last you for years and will withstand the tolls that travel can have on a bag.

Collapsible Travel Pillow

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Comfy Sweater

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Sturdy Carry On Luggage

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Sustainable Travel Toiletries:

4.) Shampoo & soap bar- shampoo bars and soap bars are perfect for those ‘terrified of leaks in my luggage’ travelers and for long term travelers. They last much longer than traditional single use shampoo bottles you buy at a store, and they remove the need for single use plastics!

 

5.) Stainless steel razor- Did you know that razors are made entirely out of unrecyclable materials? Step up your razor game with a stainless steel razor where all you have to change are the blades. Plus, a stainless steel razor is much more sturdy than a plastic one, so you won’t have to worry about it breaking in your luggage. This can be a great swap for your at home life as well.

 

6.) Menstrual cup- ladies, if you can, PLEASE swap to a menstrual cup. Our menstrual products are some of the main cloggers in our plumbing systems (as in people have to literally go into sewers and pull them out, kind of clogs). They are extremely wasteful and 100% not needed for the average woman. In fact, menstrual cups are amazing for travelers! You can keep a menstrual cup in for up to 12 hours. Imagine not having to worry about needing to find a clean restroom on a trip for the entire day. You can wait to deal with your period in the mornings and evenings in the comfort of your hotel room. Menstrual cups are great for travel and for use at home!

 

7.) Bamboo toothbrush– similar to razors, plastic toothbrushes are found washed up on beaches every single day. Instead of continuing to contribute to plastic waste, swap to a bamboo toothbrush. When you’re ready for a new toothbrush you can recycle the handle and toss out the small bristles (the bristles are not recyclable).

 

8.) Silicone containers- Silicone containers are great for shampoo, conditioner, make up remover and anything else you may need to bring that’s a liquid. They are a great alternative to the shampoo bars if your locks require a stronger shampoo and conditioner (i.e. colored hair, curly hair). You can easily fill them up before every trip with your current home stock of supplies without having to use new plastic bottles for each trip.

Shampoo Bars

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Menstrual Cup

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Silicone containers (2.8oz)

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Sustainable Travel Tips for Eating Out:

9.) Water bottle- a reusable water bottle is a game changer for any sustainable traveler. Many airports now have water refilling stations and restaurants are typically happy to fill up your water bottle if you dine there. I’ve found that reusable water bottles are also great for long haul flights. When your flight attendants walk down the aisle filling up small plastic cups of water, you can ask to have your entire bottle filled → you’ll save the plastic cup AND you’ll be sure to stay hydrated on your flight.

 

10.) Travel coffee mug- for coffee lovers, you don’t need to use the flimsy plastic covered to-go mugs anymore! We use these collapsible coffee mugs that come with clips so that when you aren’t using them, they can easily clip to your backpack or purse.

 

11.) Bamboo utensil set- swap the use of dreaded plastic cutlery with your own beautiful bamboo utensil set! Imagine if you ate out for three meals a day for seven days, and used your own cutlery set for each meal – you would save 21 sets of cutlery from going into a landfill!

Reusable Water Bottle

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Travel Coffee Mub

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Bamboo Utensil Set

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Sustainable Shopping while traveling:

12.) Cloth bags- any traveler loves to shop. Whether it be souvenirs, groceries or drinks, an easy way to avoid single use plastic bags is to bring your own cloth bags. Cloth bags can easily fold and fit into most purses making them an easy item to bring with you during the day, because you never know when you’ll find a shop you’ll want to purchase goodies.

 

13.) Cash in the country’s currency- responsible travelers are well versed in knowing they should bring their destination’s currency with them on a trip. Oftentimes the most authentic experiences (restaurants, souvenirs, etc) will only accept cash, and you never want to be in a situation where you can’t purchase an item that you’ll regret not buying when you get home. *Interesting tip- depending on your destination, the American dollar may be good to have with you as well. In some countries the value of the dollar is much higher than their currency and they will give you a discount if you pay in USD as they would rather have dollars.

These are a few of the best swaps you can make to build your sustainable travel essentials. If you could only pick three of these to start, which would you choose? I would choose the reusable water bottle, cloth bags and travel sweater.

Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing online brand strategist. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

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13 Sustainable Essentials for Responsible Travelers, Blue Eyed Compass
13 Sustainable Essentials for Responsible Travelers, Blue Eyed Compass
13 Sustainable Essentials for Responsible Travelers, Blue Eyed Compass
13 Sustainable Essentials for Responsible Travelers, Blue Eyed Compass

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Six Sustainable Travel Tips you can IGNORE

Six Sustainable Travel Tips you can IGNORE

Six Sustainable Travel Tips you can IGNORE

This page contains affiliate links to products and tours that I have used for my own travels, purchased & enjoyed. Clicking these links does not cost you anything, however doing so will support Blue Eyed Compass and allow the site to continue.  THANK YOU!  You can view our disclosure page for additional details

Sustainable travel is becoming a major focal point in the travel industry. Even if you’re not part of the travel industry, I can guarantee you’ve seen people post online about saying NO to plastic straws & bring your own reusable bags to the store with you. The ideas are becoming more & more prevalent in mainstream society – yay!

But what I often find is that people who preach the sustainable travel lifestyle end up listing out what reads like a catalog of R-U-L-E-S. And let’s be honest, we all left school & many of ridiculous rules behind us now that we’re “adults”.

Let’s start by adjusting our mindsets about sustainable travel to one of abundance! Because it’s damn near impossible for any one of us to expect millions of people to suddenly 180 their entire travel lifestyle.

We gotta take those baby steps, because the little baby steps DO add up. And instead of seeing them as ‘rules’, lets see sustainable travel tactics as swaps or replacements. Like when you swap out sour cream for plain greek yogurt – tastes the same, but much healthier for you (*side note- vegan sour cream is so yummy, go try it out!).

Now, I’ve traveled quite a bit and I’ve done the ‘preach sustainable travel’ bit too, and here’s the conclusion I’ve come to… it IS possible to make a change (in fact multiple changes!) and no, you don’t have to go as far as taking a sailboat across the Atlantic to get to London.

So, here is a list of six ‘sustainable tactics’ that you can ignore if you want to.

The moral of this post is that you don’t need to become a 100% sustainable traveler or lifestylist overnight. You decide the lifestyle that you want to lead based on all of the information that you can research.

Sustainable ‘Tips’ or ‘Hacks’ that you can ignore

Sustainable ‘Tip’ #1 – DON’T FLY FIRST CLASS

The idea that flying first class is horrible for the environment is neither here, nor there. Because guess what? First class in a plane isn’t going anywhere, and that plane is taking off with the same amount of fuel & plastic waste regardless if you’re sitting in economy or a roomy first class seat.

And oftentime those who pay for the expensive first class are actually offsetting the economy class seats, which is what makes those seats cheaper.

I’ve flown first class and have LOVED IT. Loved it. It’s incredible. Now, do I fly first every time I travel somewhere? No. Frankly, it’s expensive and unnecessary for short haul flights under eight hours.

Should you avoid it all together? No. If you want to treat yourself to a relaxing travel experience or have earned up airline miles and want to use them for a first class trip – go for it!

 

*What you can do instead : avoid waste & plastic use on your flight. Do this by packing your own foods, bringing a small bag to hold your recyclables (if the airline doesn’t recycle & dispose of them at your arrival.

Sustainable ‘Tip’ #2 – FLY WITH BUDGET AIRLINES INSTEAD OF WASTEFUL NAME BRANDS

We have to understand the idea that these planes are going to take off regardless of which ones we choose to fly with. And while we may be drawn to cheaper flight options, you saving some money may actually be worse for the environment.

Budget airlines work on much tighter budgets (duh Laura). Meaning, I can leave a review or email their customer support and they most likely won’t or can’t do anything about my constructive feedback-

  • please use less plastic → plastic is cheaper for us
  • please fly less or use sustainable fuel→ how else we are going to pay the bills?
  • …And so and so forth.

 

*What you can do instead : when you fly a larger name brand airline, like United or JetBlue, email them after your flight and ask what they’re doing to be more sustainable? I’ve received responses from a few that will send me links to what they’re focusing on because enough customers reached out to them about it! And you can select an airline that is dedicated to lowering their carbon footprint, like United & Alaska Airlines

Check out these sustainably made travel backpacks! – Sustainably Made Travel Backpacks

Sustainable ‘Tip’ #3 – STAY IN A MULTI-PERSON DORM ROOM/HOSTEL

Unless you’re traveling on a budget, you do not need to stay in a multi-person dorm room in order to be a sustainable traveler.

If your travels are your escape from the 9-5 and you really want to enjoy your vacation, then treat yourself to your own hotel room. Wanting your own space to sleep, shower & use the restroom does not make you a selfish or non-sustainable traveler. It means you value your own self care.

Plus many hostels will cut corners in sustainable tactics to be able to charge for cheaper rooms.

 

*What to do instead– research & stay at lodgings that focus on sustainable matters. They avoid plastic, have a food waste program in place, were built out of sustainable materials, etc.

Sustainable ‘Tip’ #4 – AVOID HIGHLY POPULAR DESTINATIONS TO PREVENT OVERTOURISM

If you’ve always dreamt of visiting the beaches of Barcelona, Spain or tossing a coin into the Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy then girl (or guy!) go do it!

Yes, overtourism is very real. And yes, you will experience it like ‘woah’ at those popular destinations, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go.

While visiting less popular destinations helps to distribute the wealth of tourism, it shouldn’t mean you sacrificing the dream trip you’ve envisioned for yourself.

 

*What to do instead of avoiding these dreamy destinations : proactively be a better traveler when you are there. Wake up early for smaller crowds, be mindful of how you treat people, your trash and respecting the places you visit. And set an example for those around you.

Interested in sustainable travel? Learn about how you can help prevent Overtourism

Sustainable ‘Tip’ #5 – VOLUNTEER ON YOUR TRAVELS

Volunteering can be a wonderful thing to do on a trip. However, sacrificing your time for the greater good may not be all that it seems.

Unfortunately, impoverished areas can now take advantage of your goodwill. There is information coming out of ‘volunteer’ organizations that are complete hoaxes; often times involving kidnapping, false community work and abuse.

For example, a volunteer organization where travelers paint a neighborhood to cover up the graffiti. When after they leave, those same volunteer leaders go back to vandalize for the next tour group to come in & paint over. OR! Volunteering with orphanages. These orphanages will be children who were kidnapped from their home to fill up the space so that unsuspecting tourists will pay to help the organization. Sad but true.

You can still & should volunteer on your travels, but doing so while not automatically make you a sustainable traveler.

 

*What to do instead : really research the organization that you want to volunteer for. Ask them questions & if they have nothing to hide then they will be open & honest with you. You could even go a step further by asking them if the materials they use are sustainably made and recyclable.

Sustainable ‘Tip’ #6 – DON’T TRAVEL ANYWHERE AT ALL(OR DON’T GO IN THE FIRST PLACE)

I honestly shake my head when I see this advice given online. Where sustainable travelers suggest that you don’t travel at all (what?!)  We only have one life to live, and part of living a full life will often include experiencing other cultures and destinations.

Not traveling somewhere isn’t the solution to our environmental problems. So many destinations rely on tourism, and not visiting only hurts them.

 

*What to do instead : Be a slow traveler, meaning spend more than one day at any destination. You should also travel smarter, travel sustainably, and most importantly travel with respect. And keep in mind that there may be places you can travel to that are more local to your hometown.

The goal with these sustainable tips that you can ignore is to show you that being a sustainable traveler doesn’t require a 180 flip in your travel choices. You can be a sustainable traveler and still enjoy everything you did before. In fact, I bet you’ll enjoy your travels even more when you stop to focus on your impact and how you view the world.

Let me know if you agree or disagree in the comments – I’m always up for educated discussions and to learn more.

Don't Forget to Pack:

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Bamboo Cutlery Set

Insulated Water Bottle

Reusable Cloth Bags

Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing online brand strategist. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

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Set up your blog today by using my discount code for Bluehost – Click the image to get started.

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The ‘what’, ‘why’ & ‘how’ of Sustainable Fashion

The ‘what’, ‘why’ & ‘how’ of Sustainable Fashion

The ‘what’, ‘why’ & ‘how’ of Sustainable Fashion

We are given extremely mixed signals on what we should do in regards to sustainable fashion

  • Do we purchase local only?
  • Should we rent our clothes?
  • Does the fabric need to be 100% organic?
  • Should items be made from recycled materials?

All of these questions and ideas start to feel overwhelming, and even more so confusing.

However the notion behind all of this is that people are taking closer looks into the clothing they purchase – a sustainable lifestyle starts with an exploration or an interest in the topic. So you’re on an awesome path!

Unfortunately, fashion cannot be 100% sustainable or compostable; just the act of washing your clothes is unsustainable (and we’ll get to that in more detail below). However we can make massive improvements to what we currently purchase and our consumer choices.

While impossible to reach 100% sustainability, the point of sustainable fashion is to have a wardrobe that you are proud to wear, and that helps to maintain our environment and the textile workers. From the boardroom to happy hour, or loungewear to formal wedding, there are sustainable solutions for all of your clothing choices.

What will make the biggest difference, is up to us making smarter consumer choices

DID YOU KNOW- a clothing label that states ‘sustainable’ means next to nothing? The use of the term has little academic or authority backing to it – just like how many foods are labeled ‘All-Natural’ vs ones labeled ‘Organic’. One label (organic) needs quality checks and minimum standards, the other can be freely used. The solution to this? Become a smarter consumer.

Fashion is a consumer-forward industry, and we, as individuals, are the driving forces for it. Which means we are the ones with the power. When we are vocal and when we are selective for which brands to support with our hard earned money, we are making a change.

Read on to learn more about what sustainable fashion means and why it’s important (so that you can be that bad ass powerful consumer that makes a difference!)

What exactly is ‘sustainable fashion’?

Let’s break the phrase ‘sustainable fashion’ down:

The idea behind the word ‘sustainable’ means the process can be done indefinitely with no impact on the environment..

And fashion includes your clothing (of course), as well as shoes and accessories (jewelry, belts, hats, scarves, etc)

————

So, sustainable fashion, if done correctly, is the entire process of creating, selling & owning a fashion item, and one that can be created and used forever so that the planet would feel no negative impact from it.

What’s important to understand is that sustainable fashion is not just about the fabrics that are used in an item, but the entire system that’s in plan when an item is produced.

✔ From the beginning design,

✔ To sourcing the materials,

✔ The manufacturing process,

✔ The people involved in manufacturing,

✔ How the items are transported and what kind of carbon footprint that leaves,

✔ To the consumers intended use of the item, how they care for it,

✔ And when & how they discard it.

Are you beginning to understand how in depth this topic can be? Let’s clear up some confusion with a list of the types of sustainable fashion labels and terms you may see:

Interested in sustainable travel? Learn about how you can help prevent Overtourism

Types of sustainable fashion labels & terms

  • Artisan Made: crafted by a skilled craftsperson who makes a small quantity of an item
  • B-Corp: aka Benefit Corporation, a B-Corp label means the item has been certified by a third party known as B-Lab. B Corp Certification is “the only certification that measures a company’s entire social and environmental performance”. You can learn more about their process here.
  • Biodegradable material: fabrics that can be broken down and decomposed quickly

STAT- any one fashion item can take up to 200 years to fully decompose!

  • Bluesign Certified: the bluesign label guarantees that the items used in a product were sustainable and clean, resulting in a safely manufactured end product. You can learn more about them here.
  • Fair & ethical: this is for the manufacturing warehouse employees. If a company is fair and ethical, then they are paying living wages to their employees.

DID YOU KNOW- mill workers are notoriously underpaid by the majority of fashion brands? For example, women working in Delhi textile mills are paid $80/month, when the standard cost of living is around $350/month

  • Fair Labor: thanks to the Fair Labor Standards Act in the United States, it enforces a right to a minimum wage and overtime pay. For companies that are international look for a Fair Labor Association Certification here.
  • Fair Trade Certified: this organization certifies fair trade companies by ensuring the artisans and producers being employed in developing countries are paid fairly & work under healthy working conditions
  • Green & Clean: a phrase used for an item that was made with the environment in mind. It’s a turn of phrase and not a set standard.
  • Green America Certified: this 501(c)3 non-profit certifies companies looking to use their business as positive social change and want to be environmentally responsible. Read more about them here.
  • Locally Produced/Made: the item(s) was made locally to where you are purchasing it. A locally produced item has a lower carbon footprint as it did not need to be transported very far.
  • Minimalism: the act of owning a few staples in your wardrobe, rather than a large and seasonal wardrobe.
  • Natural dyes: use of natural, plant-based dyes to color fabrics and materials
  • Natural fibers: also known as fabrics, all natural, plant-based materials are used to form threads. These can come from plants, animals or minerals.
  • On Demand/Custom: instead of creating 10,000 of one item, an on demand item is created once a purchase is made or a need-by basis. Therefore, eliminating excess waste of items that may just sit in inventory only to be thrown away.
  • Organic Fabrics: Fabrics whose threads are made with no pesticides. *Many organic fabrics require large water usage.
  • Recycled Fabrics: fabrics that are stripped down to threads and reused in another item. They reduce waste, and are much less reliant on fossil fuels.
  • Upcycle: the process of taking an unwanted, older item, and updating it for re-purpose. For example, taking an old t-shirt and using it as a dust cloth, or cutting a long bridesmaid gown into a shorter, less formal dress.
  • Vegan: an item that does not use any animal product in the fabric. *No animal fabric is technically humane.
  • 100% material items: think of 100% cotton tops or 100% linen pants. There is no process that can separate different types of fibers, so items that are 100% one fabric are easier to recycle.

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Why is sustainable fashion important & why should I care?

There is a buzzword term, similar to overtourism, known as ‘fast fashion’, and it essentially stands for the majority of items you can purchase at a mall or online. It’s a term that describes fashion retailers whose items are inexpensive and the styles change frequently to keep up with new trends (think Zara, Forever 21, H&M, etc). And it’s this fast fashion that is contributing to so many negative impacts on the planet and individuals.

DID YOU KNOW- the fashion industry contributes to 8% of the greenhouse gas emissions, if things don’t change it most likely will increase to 25%!

You should care about sustainable fashion for two main reasons:

  1. The environment
  2. The people

 

The fashion industry burdens a heavy toll on the environment. The main problems being…

  • Greenhouse gas emissions in mills
  • Greenhouse gas emission from transportation of goods
  • Deforestation of land for materials
  • Water contamination and water shortages from the mills with microplastics and poisonous chemicals

 

As for the people it affects, there are hundreds of thousands of individuals who are employed in mills in varying developing countries. Their working conditions are barely acceptable at best (often without basic needs being met, such as no bathroom privileges), and more often than not they are extremely underpaid. In fact, the US Department of Labor has listed employment in the textile industry and manufacturing in multiple countries as ‘modern day slave labor’.

Think about that – that cute dress you purchased for $15 at the mall was potentially stitched together by someone who works in an environment listed as MODERN DAY SLAVE LABOR.

Both the environment and the working conditions for employees are main reasons why you should care about sustainable fashion. Remember, the goal is to have a wardrobe that you are proud to own and wear, and to help eliminate our carbon footprint through our fashion selections.

With these goals in mind let’s move on to the benefits of supporting companies who produce sustainable fashion items.

The PRO’s to ethical & sustainable fashion

✔ The people making your clothing are being treated well and paid fairly: Ethical fashion brands ensure their manufacturing process enforces a safe environment, with reasonable hours and proper pay.

 

✔ Elimination of waste: Some fashion brands have found ways to take the waste from other companies and utilize it into brand new items. For example, Patagonia creates recycled polyester from soda bottles.

 

✔ Protect the environment: Many sustainable fashion brands focus their efforts on protecting the environment; for example by recycling water & avoiding harsh chemicals.

 

✔ Better quality clothing: Sustainable fashion includes making items that last for a long period of time. You are essentially paying a slightly higher price for an item that will last you for years. As opposed to fast fashion stores whose clothing easily tears or deforms in the wash.

DID YOU KNOW- When you wash your clothing micro plastic fibers are lifted from the clothes and cycle into our water?

✔ Personal pride: By making a methodical choice to purchase from a sustainable fashion brand, you are (1) essentially voting for what you want to support, and (2) you’ll feel great about supporting a company that values human rights and the planet, and of course your style!

Travel in style with these Sustainably made travel backpacks

Why is sustainable fashion so expensive?

Let’s think back to our basic economics classes, where someone instructed us on the cost analysis of an item – the cost of the designers, the people who create the product, the cost of the materials, transporting it to stores, etc. All of those things are taken into consideration when deciding on the cost of an item.

 

If a fashion company is able to create a product that is cheap for them to produce, especially in bulk, then they can charge that product for a lower cost. Sounds great, right? It may be for our wallets, but definitely not for the longevity of the planet.

 

A fashion brand focused on sustainable & ethical practices typically sell products at a higher than average cost because…

✔ they are paying more than their competitors in design,

✔ paying their mill workers higher wages,

✔ take into consideration the cost of water usage at the mills and the carbon footprint of their transportation

All of these things increase the overall cost of an item, leading it to be a higher price.

 

What does all of this mean for you, the consumer?

It means that when you spend a little bit more on items that are sustainably produced then you are helping to support companies who are doing what is right for the environment (rather than what is right for their self-interest).

Solutions for sustainable fashion :

There are two segments when it comes to solutions for the fashion industry to be more sustainable:

Brands & Consumers

I bet that was pretty obvious, but let’s go deeper into what the solutions actually are…

BRANDS – brands need to have higher standards for quality & outputs

– Brands can focus on lowering their carbon footprint of the items they develop. Including the materials used, to the carbon footprint of the mills they use, to transportation. All of which can easily be done by bringing in green consultants to help evaluate where changes can be made.

DID YOU KNOW- 75% of a fashion items entire carbon footprint takes place at the mill that its created in?

 

– Fashion companies can increase their wages to garment workers to at least standard living wages. This change would only cost brands less than 1% of the price of the garment according to a report from Oxfam.

YOU (CONSUMERS)

– Consider how your purchase affects the environment; the entire life cycle of each item you purchase, and how investing in items that will last longer will help you as well.

– Educate yourself: research what the brand is doing to be more sustainable. If a company is doing so they will share it on their website and be transparent about it. If they aren’t proving it to their consumers then it most likely means they’re hiding something.

– Repair, reuse & recycle: instead of tossing every item that becomes slightly damaged, see if you can repair it. Or find another use for it, or recycle it.

– Need specialty gear for a trip? See if you can BORROW it! Previously, I’ve borrowed dresses for weddings, snorkel gear, and camping equipment.

– Use a filtered washing bag for synthetic clothing to prevent microplastics from entering your water system – try out Guppyfriend Washing bags!

– Purchase high quality items, rather than having high quantity.

*When you purchase a new garment of any kind be sure to look for the following from the brand:

✔ High quality materials

✔ Environmentally friendly production process

✔ Do they consider & take action on ethical manufacturing processes?

✔ Are they promoting that you donate or hand down your used items when you no longer want it/them?

✔ & when you no longer have use of it will you be able to recycle it into another garment or textile item?

-Try doing a clothing swap: once a year aim to clean out your closet. Find items that you haven’t worn for a while and do a swap with your friends. Your clothes will have a second life, and if you end up changing your mind about wanting to keep it you can always ask for it back.

-Shop at second hand fashion stores or go thrifting: many second hand fashion stores carefully check the quality of their items, so you’ll be getting gently worn pieces for a fraction of the cost. And thrifting is even cheaper! I have found a few staple pieces in my pieces from thrift stores on my travels. *Tip- second hand fashion stores aren’t much cheaper in California where I live, but in other countries, where the USD goes farther, you can find stellar pieces for next to nothing!

-check if the brand is Slow Fashion: slow fashion means they aren’t putting out new items every 3-6 weeks. Instead they carefully curate seasonal pieces that are meant to last. They have a slower turnover rate of styles, and the items are made artfully & with the environment in mind.

Is thrifting considered sustainable fashion?

Some believe that thrifting isn’t a part of the sustainable fashion movement, as it doesn’t support the use of environmentally friendly fabrics and development, or safe working environments for workers. So this will be a personal decision on your part. In my opinion, thrifting is sustainable fashion. I don’t think it’s the best answer, but for those of us who aren’t in a position to afford higher priced, sustainably made clothing and don’t want to give more money to cheaper made products, thrifting is a great option.

You’re able to give an unwanted item another use, that would otherwise be in the garbage.

Sustainable Clothing Materials

Which fabrics are most sustainable? Here is a list of eco-friendly fabrics that you should keep an eye out for:

  • organic linen
  • hemp
  • organic cotton *however, this has a high water usage when being made
  • ethical wool *there are some who believe any wool is animal cruelty, and others who feel the animals naturally produce wool & need to be sheared. I stand with the middle ground, when a company openly shares their wool shearing process and shows that they are doing so humanely and with compassion.
  • tencel marked with the FSC label

 

Worst fabrics for the environment (aka avoid these):

  • acrylic
  • lycra/spandex
  • nylon
  • polyester *you’ll see polyester in almost every piece of fast fashion clothing, and unfortunately it’s one of the worst fabrics for the environment
  • bamboo *bet you’re surprised by this one! While bamboo grows quickly, the process of transforming it into fibers is intensive & requires a lot of chemicals

Learn more about fashion fabrics here

Sustainable Fashion Brands

You’ve scrolled down this far & might be wondering ‘where the hell am I going to be able to buy my clothes from now on?!’, and I totally feel you. The brands listed below are in no way a conclusive list. They are a few that I’ve researched and found through a stellar app, Good on You.

I will continue to add to this list as I learn more, but as I’m following through on a no spend promise, I would recommend that you do your own research to find sustainable fashion brands that you can support. – I made a promise to myself at the start of 2019 that I would not spend any money on new clothes for one year, so I’ve avoided looking at any fashion brands for over a year (and I may continue this promise through to 2020- hell, maybe I write about why sometime soon!) 

Remember, you, the consumer, hold a HUGE part to play in voicing your opinions and utilizing your spending intelligently in order to make a difference in the world. The more who speak up and spend elsewhere, the sooner these pollutant companies will start to change and adapt.

Happy shopping!

-Vitamin A Swim

-Patagonia

-Adidas

-Levi

Sustainable Fashion Resources

  • The River Blue documentary – documentary about how polluted rivers are, thanks to our blue jeans
  • New Standard Institute – follow them on IG here, an organization started by the founder of fashion company, Zady, they work with scientists to provide actual evidence about the fashion industry for environmental & social objectives
  • Sign the NSI petition for brands to align their goals to the environmental ones we need them to
  • US Department of Labor List of Goods – this may shock you how many countries are using forced or child labor to produce many of the things we take for granted
  • The Global Organic Textile Standard Certification (GOTS)
Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing online brand strategist. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

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Zero Waste Packing List

Zero Waste Packing List

Zero Waste Packing List

This page contains affiliate links to products and tours that I have used for my own travels, purchased & enjoyed. Clicking these links does not cost you anything, however doing so will support Blue Eyed Compass and allow the site to continue.  THANK YOU!

Packing for a trip is like the eagerly awaiting appetizer before a four course meal, it’s the pre-show before the long anticipated trip. What we pack with us for a trip can determine how big of an impact we leave on the planet. So, it’s important to keep in mind your sustainable choices when choosing what to purchase and bring with you on your travels.

It’s surprisingly easy to pack sustainably, and I’ve put together an easy to follow guide for doing so.

Included in this post:

  • Packing tips
  • What ingredients/phrases to look for
  • Sustainable Packing list essentials
  • Favorite sustainable brands

Sustainable & Zero-Waste Packing List

These items are essentials that every traveler utilizes. Whether you are an adventure traveler, a luxury guru or a hostel lover, I guarantee you’ll end up needing these items.

Sustainable Packing Tip: Pack lightly, by using only a carry on suitcase. Not only will you save yourself money from having to pay to check your bug, but it…
-Lightens the load on your flights (which is good for plane fuel usage)
-Makes it easier for you to travel (less heavy loads to haul around)
-and you won’t have to worry about the plane misplacing your luggage or not making it onto your flight

Things to look for BEFORE making a purchase

Keep an eye out for these terms or phrases when looking to make a purchase for a travel related item:

  • Vegan
  • Cruelty Free
  • Palm Oil free
  • Organic & Natural Ingredients
  • Plastic free & zero waste packaging
  • Ethically Sourced

 

Why should you look for these terms?

So many products are made to be cheap for the manufacturer and company, not for the quality & impact on the environment. Which means you’re paying for items that aren’t made with you in mind. They’re made with dollar signs in mind.

Are all eco-friendly products ethical?

Unfortunately no, which is why it’s important to do your research before spending your hard earned money on any product.

However, purchasing from an eco-friendly company that isn’t 100% ethical is a better choice than purchasing from a non-eco friendly company all together.

Advantages to Purchasing & Using Eco-Friendly Products

There are so many wonderful advantages to purchasing & using eco-friendly products, here are just a few:

  • They are healthier for your body long term
  • They are better & safer for the environment
  • They will help you reduce your plastic waste & carbon footprint
  • Over time, they save you money

Disadvantages to Purchasing & Using Eco-Friendly Products

  • There is typically a higher upfront cost
  • Not every item will be as effective as chemically created products

Sustainable Packing List

Eco Friendly Toiletries:

Toiletries are essential to packing properly for travelers, and are also one of the most wasteful things we can pack. Here are items that you can easily find and pack that are sustainably made & eco-friendly:

1.) Reef Safe Sunscreen:

Sunscreens are often filled with chemicals that are harmful to ocean reefs and to our skin. Better yet if you find a cruelty free & vegan reef safe sunscreen like this one: MyChelle Dermaceuticals

2.) Shampoo bar:

Not only do these bars last much longer than traditional bottles of shampoo, but you’re also avoiding the plastic bottle. Plus you’ll never have to worry about your shampoo bottle leaking in your bag!

3.) Natural Deodorant:

Unfortunately, many deodorants have been linked to breast cancer in women, since we have lymph nodes there that link to our breasts. So it’s important to our health to use an all natural deodorant. I’m still testing out different brands, but have far fallen in love with Lavanila & Ursa Major deodorants.

If you want an option that doesn’t use any plastic, then try this one: Little Seed Farm

4.) Bamboo toothbrush:

Our toothbrushes are made with plastic that is almost impossible to breakdown or recycle, so next time you need a new one try out a sustainably made bamboo one

*the bristles on bamboo toothbrushes aren’t recyclable but the handle is, so when you recycle it cut off or pull out the bristles first

5.) Tooth powder:

Just like our toothbrushes, the plastic tubes of toothpaste we purchase are not recyclable. Try out a tooth powder, which lasts longer than a tube of toothpaste.

6.) Razor:

Most modern razors are made entirely out of plastic except for the small razor blades. Save yourself money over the years & avoid the plastic use by getting a reusable razor from Leaf Shave.

7.) Menstrual Cup:

Probably my favorite item to have been invented, the menstrual cup not only prevents waste from other menstrual products but it makes your life SO much easier during that time of the month

8.) Deet free bug repellent:

If you’re traveling to a destination with lots of mosquitos you’ll want an all natural bug repellent. I’m a magnet for bug bites & have done very well with this all natural brand

Eco-Friendly Beauty & Skincare Products:

Keep in mind the list of phrases above for what to look for when purchasing beauty & skincare products, as these items are used daily directly on your skin. You can easily do this by checking labels. Companies will happily showcase if their products are vegan & cruelty free, as well as paraben free.

Sustainable Tip: beware, many companies will falsely label their products as ‘all-natural’ or ‘clean ingredients’, as there aren’t as strict regulations for labeling products yet. Be sure to dive into the ingredients or do a quick Google search before you purchase. Read more about what to look out for from this article.

Here are eco-friendly beauty & skincare brands that I love:

Drunk Elephant

Mad Hippie

Esmi

Tarte Cosmetics

Lush

Alba

Tula

Alpyn Beauty

Check out Follain & Credo Beauty too! Both of these skincare & beauty companies only sell highly ethical brands that are vegan & cruelty free.

Sustainable Carry On Items::

Any experienced traveler will tell you how important a well thought out carry on bag is necessary for a comfortable travel experience. Here are my TOP items that I always have on me during a flight and that are eco-friendly:

The bottom line is small choices build up to make a greater impact, so start small and transition your travel items as needed.

I hope this zero-waste packing list inspires you to improve your travel packing for future adventures!

Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing online brand strategist. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

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Crazy Dense Eco-Travel Guide

Crazy Dense Eco-Travel Guide

Crazy Dense Eco-Travel Guide

Updated Monthly with new tips, tricks & tactics!

This page contains affiliate links to products and tours that I have used for my own travels, purchased & enjoyed. Clicking these links does not cost you anything, however doing so will support Blue Eyed Compass and allow the site to continue.  THANK YOU!

The topic of sustainable travel and eco-friendly lifestyles are continuing to become more popular. And while many individuals have started treading down the sustainable path, we all can be doing more.

I’ve put together a guide on ALL things related to Eco-Travel and what you can start doing to become a more ‘green’ traveler. Even if you can only do a few of these, every small action counts towards the greater impact.

Being an eco-traveler is a growing movement and trust me, you want to be a part of it.

Unfortunately, the best way to often make the point across is to share negatives, like overtourism or pollution problems, so instead the aim for this crazy dense eco-travel guide is to be actionable and fun.

Included in this post:

  • Description of what eco-travel means
  • Best & most used sustainable travel items
  • How to fly Green
  • How to find & choose your eco-accommodations

What is Eco-Travel?

Eco-travel is the act of supporting eco-tourism. Meaning your travels should:

  1. have minimal impact on the destination
  2. positively impact the local community
  3. & encourage the education of sustainability.

It’s important to note that ‘eco’ does NOT stand for economy, but for ecological. Meaning focus your travel decisions on the environment over cost-saving benefits for yourself.

What’s the difference between eco-travel, sustainable travel & green tourism?

There are many popular terms used almost interchangeably throughout the sustainable travel world. However, when discussed side-by-side they are all slightly different from one another. I go into more about the different terms used in this post: What is Sustainable Travel?, as well as what sustainable travel is NOT.

For right now, it’s important for you to understand that eco-travel is also called eco-conscious travel.

Why is Eco-travel so important?

Each year, more and more people are traveling to new destinations. Studies say that over one BILLION people are traveling each year. Which, when you think about travel 100 years ago is an incredible feat… just not for the environment.

Now, imagine that only one million of those billion travelers came to your town throughout the year. Sounds like a great way for local businesses to thrive, right? But it also means loads of traffic for you and a lot of disregarded waste. This is where the term overtourism has come into play recently.

For each person who goes on a trip they are most likely looking to relax and unwind. That feeling of ‘not a care in the world’ has led to a lazy mindset, which leads to less thought out decisions, more waste and little regard for the impact our vacations hold.

Which is why eco-travel is so important. You can still enjoy a wonderful vacation while being an eco-traveler. In fact, you may enjoy it even more! Eco travel allows vacationers to enjoy the perks of travel, while leaving behind only a small footprint, and potentially an even greater positive impact than when they first arrived.

 How does Eco-Travel Help?

Eco-travel helps with the damaging effects of one billion travelers by ensuring:

  • Natural landmarks and destinations are preserved
  • Pollution problems are minimalized
  • And that there is little to no loss of wildlife and local culture

The Best Eco-Friendly Travel Items

What should you pack as an eco-traveler? This question alone will elicit tons of ‘gift guides’ and the ‘best items to buy’ lists, which to be honest, many of which are promoting the sale of items that are wrapped in plastic and shipped without a second thought to the environment (the thought is behind the affiliate income they’ll earn).

My goal for you is to not enforce greater consumerism, but instead become more strategic shoppers. Don’t just buy anything, instead purchase what you need and only the items that are sustainably made (they’re usually better quality anyway) However, at some point we’ll all end up needing to make purchases to help us ensure we are eco-travelers. So, make sure your next set of travel related purchases are eco-friendly.

Here are items that myself and friends use & love:

Flying Green/Sustainably

Choosing a green flight

Did you know that airplanes leave a MASSIVE carbon footprint?

And unfortunately, travel is increasing just as our cap to be able to control climate change is coming to a close.

More and more people are flying each year, as it becomes more and more accessible. This is wonderful in terms of tourism standards, but pretty bleak for the environment.

Here are some things to consider when booking your next flight for sustainability:

  • Look up how old the aircrafts are that are being used – newer plane models are created to be more efficient & reduce fuel usage
  • Do you know if they recycle their flight items, such as pillows & blankets?
  • Do you know if they recycle on the aircraft at all?
  • Is the airline dedicated to reducing their carbon footprint?

You can also offset your carbon footprint for your flights. This basically means that you donate money to an organization that delivers sustainable tactics to help offset the carbon that your travel emitted. Wow, that was a mouthful!

For example, if your flight is 20,000 miles in distance, as one single passenger you will have emitted about $20 worth of carbon dioxide. If you donate that $20 to an organization that, for example, plants trees, then you are offsetting the damage your carbon footprint has left behind.

You can find a list of carbon offsetting sites here, just scroll to the bottom of the page.

Here are a few other travel tips for Flying Sustainably:

  • Book a direct flight; even if it means sacrificing a few extra airline miles. It’s better for the environment as planes produce most of their carbon emissions during take off and landing of a flight.
  • See if it’s possible to take a train to your destination
  • Pack your own food for the flight & avoid using the airlines provided plastic cups and cutlery
  • Respond to airlines review emails after a flight & make suggestions for discontinuing plastic use on their planes

How to find & choose environmentally friendly accomodations

Thankfully & surprisingly, ‘eco’ lodging does not mean roughing it outside on a hammock made out of bamboo. It means that the place you are paying to stay in supports and actively follows through with sustainable tactics.

This could mean something as small as not having plastic bottles of shampoo & conditioner in each room, to having sustainably made furniture throughout the property, to donating money to local charities. There are a variety of things that any hotel, lodge or resort can do to be environmentally friendly.

Here are things to keep an eye out for when looking to book environmentally friendly accomodations for your travels:

  • How do they treat the local community?

  • Do they specify any details on how they’re sustainable? *Any business using sustainable tactics will proudly promote it on their website

  • Do they mention a food composting program or recycling program?

Tips for Eco-Travelers in their lodging

Even if your lodging choice is not an eco-friendly one, there are things that as an individual you can do to help create a more sustainable atmosphere:

  • Turn off the lights before you leave your room
  • Don’t have all of the lights on in every room
  • Turn your thermostat down a few degrees
  • Reuse your towels, instead of requesting new ones each day
  • Conserve your water usage
  • Utilize their recycling bins in the rooms
  • Respond to their survey asking for more sustainable methods to be put into place

You can search for eco-travel lodging on these sites:

Eco-Bnb

Green Pearls

Green Getaways – Australia

AirBnb

Being green in your destination

Eco-travel has so many different facets to it, which is what makes it such a simple thing to slowly transition to. We’ve discussed what to pack, how to choose your flight and lodging, so now let’s review what you can do while in your destination.

  • Take public transportation
  • Walk
  • Bring your own cloth bag for any souvenirs you buy or food you bring back to your lodging. Did you know that plastic bags take up to 500 YEARS to biodegrade… I’d rather my memories lasted years, but not that long.
  • Or better yet, just say NO to plastic
  • If you want to book a tour, do it with a small group that follows environmentally responsible operations

You can find eco tours by searching your destination with eco tours [example: google search, San Diego eco tours]

  • Reuse items like cups, bottle & containers
  • Bring your own reusable containers for food leftover at meals
  • Ever seen the hashtag #take3forthesea ? There is garbage all over the place, and while you don’t want to be picking up trash your entire trip, aim to pick up three items a day and place them in the correct bins
  • Eat plant based for two out of three meals
  • Be aware of animal tourism; don’t pay to feed tigers, ride elephants or ignore a street cat or dog.

Eco Travel Phrases to use

Part of being an eco-traveler is respecting the destination that you are visiting. If you’re traveling to a location where a different language is spoken from your own, then be a respectable traveler and learn these commonly used sustainable travel phrases:

Can I please take a photo?

I do not want a straw

I have my own bag to use

Do you recycle?

Please

Thank you

Where is your garbage bin?

No plastic, thank you

Small decisions on every trip you take are the start to making a lasting impact. In no way is it a sacrifice on your end. In fact, you may find that you feel like you’re gaining more in return than you are sacrificing anything.

I would LOVE to hear more about how you’re becoming a sustainable traveler – share your ideas below and I’ll reply back to you!

Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing online brand strategist. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

Follow Along!

Start your own blog today!

Set up your blog today by using my discount code for Bluehost – Click the image to get started.

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