Easiest Sustainable Travel Tips

Easiest Sustainable Travel Tips

what is sustainable travel

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!

Ready for the top 12 EASIEST sustainable travel tips?

        We’ve all heard the term of sustainability, and we’ve all seen the images of the burning Amazon rainforests, plastic-filled oceans and abuse towards animal videos.

        The turning point in all of this comes from your acknowledgment that it exists to actively doing something about it.

        There is a sliding scale for sustainable travel, and I don’t expect anyone to ‘cold turkey’ change their lifestyle. So to start I’ve put together my easiest and most useful tips and tricks for you. These will help you on your path to making a difference in the world.

Top 12 EASIEST Sustainable Travel Tips & Tricks

(1) Research!

This is so so simple to do. You don’t need to research every small detail about the destination, but you can easily research:

  • Which hotels have sustainable policies
  • How to get from the airport to your lodging using public transportation
  • The best local eateries
  • If the destination isn’t vegetarian-friendly or readily acceptable of your preferred diet needs (so you know you need to pack some healthy snacks)

By doing research, you are ensuring that when you arrive you are prepared and not resorting to less sustainable methods. Because if you’re jetlagged, you’ll be more likely to go the lazier route, which trust me, is rarely a fun, or affordable option.

(2) Don’t Litter

I don’t think this needs a further explanation, other than don’t be that a**hole who lazily let’s go of their garbage when walking around. Feel free to go one step further and pick up garbage if you see it to bring to a waste bin.

(3) Be Prepared

Always carry with you a reusable water bottle & cloth bags with you. This way you won’t need to purchase plastic water bottles or use the plastic bags so many vendors use worldwide.

(4) Avoid purchasing or eating unique species of animals

For example: crocodile handbags, kangaroo steaks.

While it may sound cool, most of the time these ‘local delicacies’ are born out of tourism and aren’t actually foods that locals are eating. And you never know (1) what conditions the animals are raised in for consumption and/or (2) if the hunting of these creatures is leading to extinction.

(5) Eat Locally

While Subways and McDonald’s can be quite convenient for travelers, they are also major polluters. By eating locally, you’ll be enjoying food that is much fresher and have an authentic travel experience, all while helping the environment and the local economy.

Did you know that sustainable travel is more than carrying a reusable water bottle? Learn what sustainable travel is here]

(6) Purchase Locally

This can mean purchasing local groceries at farmers markets or souvenirs that are handmade by locals. By doing this you’re supporting the local economy and avoiding mass-produced, poorly managed exports that are bad for the environment.

(7) Take Public Transportation

Public transportation is great because as a traveler you can learn about the destination even more. It’s also a challenge that every traveler should experience. You can learn a lot about a place by its public transportation system. Bonus is that it saves you a ton of money. 

You can also WALK! Not only is this a stellar way to keep in shape while traveling, walking helps eliminate transportation carbon emissions. Plus you’ll see so much more of your destination than you would from a car.

(8) Ask Questions

A wonderful aspect of traveling is learning something new. Whether it be about the destinations history or a local custom, like how to order at a coffee shop. Being inquisitive shows that you are respecting the place you are visiting.

*Another great way you can ask questions is asking your hotel staff what their plastic use, water, and food waste policies are. Being a curious traveler at the very least plants the seeds of these issues, which can provoke change. I’ll often leave these questions in my end of stay review or surveys.

(9) Offest your Flights Carbon Emissions

For every plane, you board there are carbon emissions that coincide with your flight. You can cheaply and proactively offset your carbon emissions to reputable groups that use the funds to help the environment in other ways. You can check my favorite places to do this here.

(10) Lose the Weight

I don’t mean your body weight, you’re beautiful just the way you are 🙂 What I mean is pack less. Packing less lightens the load on airplanes and energy in taxis (if you take one) which leads to lower fuel usage. Plus you’ll save money on luggage fees and won’t need to strain yourself lugging around heavy suitcases.

 

(11) Connect with Locals through Experiences & Excursions

There are so many fun excursions you can do and what better way to do them than with a local who knows the hidden gems of your destination and can answer any of your questions. You’re also most likely helping support them by giving the money directly back to them. You find great ideas with Walks and AirBnb Experiences.

 

(12) Raise the Bar

Hold yourself to a higher standard and be the most respectable version of yourself when you travel. I say this as an American, but multiple times I have had people from other countries quietly ask me if all Americans are the same; using not-so-great words like pompous and arrogant… and if we all wear cowboy hats and eat cheeseburgers every day.

Our international image is not the best, unfortunately, but you can be the person who changes someone’s negative preformed ideas to positive remembrances based on the way you carry yourself and how you respect the place and people you are visiting.

 

You can find more easy to do sustainable travel tips and travel guides here OR subscribe below to receive a monthly newsletter with travel updates!

Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing web designer & photographer. 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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What is Sustainable Travel

What is Sustainable Travel

what is sustainable travel

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!

        There is no better feeling than touching down in a new exotic location for a well-deserved vacation. I thrive off of that feeling of exploring a new place. And after many travel adventures that blissful feeling slowly fades away when considering the damaging mark, I may leave behind after all of my fun.

        This negativity doesn’t have to be the case though. Impactful, positive change is possible on an individual level, and it’s possible through sustainable travel.

Included in this post is:

  • The breakdown of popular environmental buzzwords
  • A description of what sustainable travel is
  • What sustainable travel is NOT
  • Why sustainable travel is important and
  • The benefits of sustainable travel

        There are a lot of buzzwords surrounding sustainable travel – climate change, environmentalism, green living – it can be difficult to understand what they all mean and how they play a part in our travels.

        So, what does sustainable travel mean?

        Well, it can mean many different things for many different people (sorry, you won’t find one singular clear answer here- but you will find a ton of easy to digest information)

I would like to start by thanking you for choosing to help make an even better and healthier planet. Even just by showing interest and reading this article is a wonderful start. Change doesn’t happen overnight, but if we make small adjustments and pursue personal growth then we can have an impact on an individual scale.

So, let’s get to it!

What is sustainable travel?

        As stated previously, sustainable travel has many names connotated around the subject. However, the basic premise of what sustainable travel means is to leave behind a positive impact, smaller energy footprint and influence progressive change before, during and after you travels in the environment, culture and location of your travels.

        Yowzahs, that’s a mouthful.

        And this mouthful is because sustainable travel doesn’t mean just one ‘thing’. It doesn’t fit into one definitive definition. It means something different to everyone. So I’ll do my best to break it down for you.

        We live during a time where many of the determining factors of our lives reside on a sliding scale; our sexuality, religion, political views, so it makes sense that our environmentalism and sustainable travels live on a sliding scale as well.

        Our focus for sustainable travel is on long term perseverance, avoiding harm, reducing our negative environmental impacts and utilizing replenishing resources.

UNWTO defines sustainable travel 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”

Terms you may recognize:

SUSTAINABLE

ECO-CONSCIOUS

ENVIRONMENTALISM

GREEN TRAVEL

Aren’t these terms all the same?

No!

        Collectively they are similar, but side by side they are different. The four terms you may see most often are:

  • Green Travel: green travel means focusing your travel efforts on ways to leave as minimal a carbon footprint as possible.

Example– walking instead of taking a taxi.

  • Responsible Travel: responsible travel means holding yourself and others accountable to respecting locals, destinations and the environment when traveling.

Example– not defacing historical landmarks by scratching your initials in.

  • Eco-Conscious Travel: eco-conscious travel means making economically conscious choices for the environment. It’s comparable to green travel.

Example– purchasing locally made souvenirs instead of something from a souvenir shop

  • Sustainable Travel: sustainable travel embodies all of the above terms and more while traveling in a way that doesn’t take away from the destination.

Consider sustainable travel as three passageways coming together:

  1. The Environmental Pillar: the Environmental pillar focuses on nature & wildlife we impact while traveling. It includes things such as our carbon footprint, water usage, waste (plastic and others) and respecting & maintaining natural habitats of wildlife.
  2. The Social Pillar: The Social pillar focuses on our impact to local people & their cultural communities. As travelers this means supporting locally owned businesses, NGOs and charities, and researching to make sure that wages are fair and work environments are safe.
  3. The Economic Pillar: The Economic pillar focuses on travelers spending money & supporting businesses during their trips for positive outcomes. By supporting locally run hotels, tours and restaurants we can uplift the local economy.

In short, sustainable travel is valuing mother nature, history, culture and respect above our own desires. It’s not just doing good, but also helping to educate others.

What sustainable travel is NOT:

        People tend to feel that sustainable travel means having to sacrifice parts of a vacation or their enjoyment. Or that it implies everyone should stay home and never travel. Neither of these are the case at all.

        Many destinations rely heavily on tourism cash flow. In fact, 1 in 12 jobs are based on tourism WORLDWIDE! And staying put at home only blocks personal growth and cultural understanding.

        Sustainable travel is not about limiting your vacation or trip to accommodate sustainable tactics, it’s about adding greater value. To you and those around you.

Many are quick to point fingers of blame at social media ‘influencers’ and blame them for overtourism (learn what Over Tourism means). And while some ‘influencers’ may need to absorb a lesson about respect and self-control, much of this issue is solely ignorance – ignorance means a lack of knowledge or understanding – they lack the know-how of not walking through unpaved areas, or climbing on roofs for that perfect shot.

Don’t be quick to place blame, instead be swift to help educate.

Unfortunately, there is a strong mindset that many feel, which I’ll call ‘just because I can/want to, I will’ (or I deserve to) 

  • Just because I’m able to flit from one destination to the next, means I will do so (at the expense of flight carbon emissions)
  • Just because I want to eat meat from the menu, I will (and not concern myself with it’s potential to endanger species and deforestation)
  • Just because I have the money to dish out, I will spend it wherever I feel is most convenient (instead of researching a more ethical option)

        Sustainable travel is not a poor man’s way of traveling, it can be whatever you want it to be.

        I’ve enjoyed traveling more luxuriously in nice resort hotels, and I sought out ones that focus on sustainable lodging tactics.

        I’ve treated myself to meals out at fancy local restaurants, and I researched ones that cook with their own fresh and local ingredients.

You don’t need to choose between one or the other.

Why is sustainable travel important?

        Or what I like to say, why should you give a crap about it?

        Sustainable travel is important because planet earth only has a finite amount of resources. As a species, humans have become accustomed to convenience. And this convenience has led to microplastics being found at the depths of our oceans, deforestation of one of a kind ecological systems (like the Amazon), air pollution and more.

        We’ll be leaving our homes in an unrecognizable planet for future generations

Find more of my best sustainable travel resources here!

        Does tourism change a place? Yes. But that is inevitable. If a location is not a sought-out destination yet, it most likely will be at some point no matter what sustainable travel choices we make. It’s up to us to ‘vote’ on how those destinations are built up with our spending habits.

        With an uptick in visitors, comes with it new hotels, tour buses, restaurants catered to the tourists, and much more.

        Most travels are not sustainable; airfare releases carbon emissions, all-inclusive resorts are built on natural habitats, money is the main focus not the longevity of the destination.

        Yet, if we choose to only stay at local residences (if you haven’t checked our AirBnb yet, here’s a discount code for you!), or hotels that focus on sustainable efforts, and only eat at local establishments, then we are voting in support of those ethical practices.

        Like I stated earlier, tourism can provide an annual living for many. So while it can bring with it a lot of destruction, tourism also has the capability to bring a lot of wonderful things as well.

Become a stellar sustainable traveler by following these TOP 12 Sustainable Travel Tips!

What are the benefits of sustainable tourism?

        What I love most about sustainable travel is that you can see the ripple effect of ethically spending your money.  Plus there are so many fun, plastic-free, gadgets that you get to tote around!

        One of the best benefits of sustainable travel is the understanding that you ARE making a difference. Your small steps to travel improvements are seen by those around you, even if you don’t notice it.

        We are gifted with the opportunity and options to protect the planet. So instead of acting without concern, let’s travel with purpose and enjoyment.

Heading for a LONG flight soon?

Check out these carry on items to ensure a comfortable flight

Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing web designer & photographer. 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.

Get $15 OFF your AirBnb!

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