Travel

7 Steps To Become A More Sustainable Traveller

By Cayleh Ferguson - 10 Jun 2019

eco travel tips

It’s Sustainability Month here at Urban List and as much as we love to travel, we all need to do our bit to help reduce our footprint, be that here at home or on the beaches of Croatia. While it’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of planning your next sojourn, we all need to be conscious that the jet fuel, the plethora of plastic we take with us, the disruption to nature and the over-use of energy all add up.  

To help you become a more sustainable traveller, here are seven environmentally-friendly travel tips you should implement on your next holiday. 

#1 Research Before Booking Your Flight

While most of us are on the lookout for the most budget-friendly travel option, try to think beyond the price tag and see how your airline choices are affecting the environment. Choose an airline that is proactive in improving their technology for fuel alternatives, for instance, Japanese airline All Nippon Airway’s (ANA) is working towards using jet fuel made from green algae. Last year Qantas were the largest carbon emission eliminator and with your help off-set 585,000 flights, that’s one flight every 53 seconds! This month they also had a world first in their ‘waste-free’ flight, meaning none of the products on board would end up in landfill, with the goal of all domestic and international flights having zero waste by the end of 2021. At the very least, most airlines have the option to pay a few more dollars to offset your carbon footprint. Come on, if you are splurging for a holiday you can afford a few extra pennies to protect our precious planet.

#2 Pack Light

Worldwide, flights produced 859 million tonnes of CO2 in 2017. Heavy bags result in a heavier plane, resulting in more fuel and producing more carbon emissions. It sounds like a small thing, but if we change our way of thinking when it comes to luggage, it could result in making a real difference. Our tip? Pack only what you need, choosing basic items that can be worn multiple times. If things get dirty, spend money at a local laundromat, helping to boost income in the area. 

#3 Be Prepared

It sounds simple but simply being prepared can result in a lot less waste. Your failsafe pack should include a re-usable set of cutlery, an insulated drink bottle that can double as a flask for hot tea or coffee, a stainless steel straw, tote bags and your own headphones so you don’t have to open the plastic packs on the plane. Also, pack your plane toiletries in a cute clear makeup bag instead of always reaching for the ziplock bags (imagine how many of those they go through a day just because people aren’t organised?). 

#4 Choose Public Transport 

When you arrive at your destination, jump on the local bus to get to your accommodation. It’s one of the best things you can do for the environment when travelling because less private transport = less cars on the road. Plus, you get to interact with locals and other travellers, making your trip even more special. You just never know who you might meet, hello soul mate, hello new bestie. If you’re renting a car, always opt for the smallest one possible, as it will still get you from A to B without as many carbon emissions. Walking is also an amazing way to burn off all the holiday cocktails and the perfect way to get your bearings in a new place with little impact on our beautiful environment. 

#5 Shop Local 

Some countries still use plastic bags, so stuff your shopping tote bag in your handbag just in case you need to grab a few things while you are out and about. Shopping for food that is grown and produced in the country means less food miles and you’re supporting the local community. It’s a win-win. Always research when the local markets are on, you will be surprised at all the new and delicious foods you will discover. 

#6 Look For Environmentally Conscious Hotels And Hostels

One of the best things you can do while travelling is to support sustainable businesses. Instead of sticking with the big chains, seek out locally owned and operated boutique hotels. Go one step further and research accommodation that has the environment at the forefront of what they do. Anywhere that uses natural energy sources, recycles their waste, or minimises their use of single-use plastics gets a big tick from us. All it takes to uncover one of these gems is a little bit of research. 

#7 Say No To Animal Tourism

Behind the tiger selfie in Thailand and the elephant ride in Bali is a reality almost too grim to write. A lot of people visit wildlife attractions because they genuinely love animals, but the best thing you can do is not support these businesses, because when the demand ends, so will the animal cruelty. If a holiday with animal interaction is something you’re after, head here for our roundup of eco and animal-friendly ideas. 

Hungry for more travel? Head here for some serious inspo. 

Image Credit: Semina Psichogiopoulou/Unsplash 

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