how to travel sustainably

how to travel more sustainably

traveling is one of my greatest passions. I think it gives you so much perspective on life and more than anything it gives you an appreciation that in our day to day routines is sometimes hard to find. when we travel we can appreciate these things that hold our lives together, the kindness of strangers, the beauty that is all around us. 

make your air travel more sustainable 

look for airlines that promote sustainability. as my mentioned in my post on sustainable transportation is a great resource. lufthansa airlines, air france and KLM are three notable airlines in terms of sustainability. 

minimal impact flying

go with economy seating vs first class, the more people we can fit on a plane the less impact per individual, and light luggage means less fuel needed to power the engines. plan ahead by bringing your own headphones and water bottle to eliminate waste. pick an airline with an optional meal plan and bring your own food with you. I fly norwegian air for this reason, pack light and save almost fifty dollars by skipping out the airplane food and bringing my own snacks. these little choices will reduce your environmental impact and actually save you money.

make big trips count

 instead of flying back and forward to lots of places be strategic. if there’s a country you would really love to visit plan a longer trip and give yourself time to really explore the area. buy one long flight and use trains and other transport methods for the shorter distances once you land. longer trips mean less back and forward flying which is more sustainable and it’s also cheaper. when I was growing up my parents took my sister and I out of school for a year and traveled all the way around the world. it was actually more sustainable and affordable than separate trips to 17 different countries. now taking a year off to travel isn’t something you all have the option of doing, but long term travel vs lots of short trips is definetly the more positive option. or maybe even look into moving to the place you want to go. if you have the opportunity to move to somewhere for a good set of months or even a year you can buy one long flight and use this time travel around your new surroundings by more sustainable means of transport. 

get to know one area

 I’m repeating myself but this is one of the easiest ways to be more sustainable. you don’t need to jump around and see every single country in europe on your one vacation. pick one or two bordering countries and take the time to really get to know them. there’s something so wonderful about getting to know a place. finding your favorite park bench and coffee shop and starting to remember the street corners. it gives you this tingly feeling, this sense of belonging. you can still explore but you save on transportation costs and carbon admissions and you give yourself time to fall in love with a new place. 

travel close to home

the beauty of travel isn’t only in seeing the famous sights of the world, it is in falling in love with the details. looking for hidden treasures close to home and appreciate whatever your surronding area has to offer.

I grew up in arizona and although I always wanted to see the world I was also lucky enough to have been taught the importance of exploring my surroundings. day trips, weekend trips, roadtrips, my friends and I always made the most of what our surroundings had to offer and I am left with a memory collection of southwest summers, ghost towns, desert lakes and picnics among pine trees. 

pack sustainably 

pack light and plan ahead to avoid unnecessary waste.

sustainable toiletry bag

pack your toiletries in reusable tubs. it’s always a bit of a pain to prep for a trip and make sure none of your toiletries go over the liquid size limits. but instead buying travel-sized shampoos and conditioners you can always transfer what you have at home into smaller reusable tubs.

the other option is solid toiletries. offers a great collection of shampoo and conditioner bars and if your looking for more ideas check out my blog post on my favorite sustainable beauty brands…to-try-right-now/.

reusable water bottles

eco friendly products

always travel with a water bottle. offers some of my favorite lightweight collapsible water bottles, they’ve also partnered with non-profits around the bay area to raise environmental awareness. 

travel towel

consider packing a light towel. my mom’s from south africa and we never travel without light african towels called kokoys. they are wonderfully versatile serving as picnic blankets, beach towels, shawls or head scarfs besides being multi-purpose you use them as a towel saving the water and energy that is normally used to rewash hotel towels every day. 

bamboo toothbrush

bamboo toothbrushes are another of my favorite travel essentials. plastic toothbrushes can’t be recycled, bamboo, on the other hand, is a fast and renewable resource. mine was gifted from ‘humans are not cool’ it’s perfect for travel and comes in a light bamboo case to protect it in your bag. 

eco friendly products


avoid packaged food

sometimes when you’re traveling it’s just a lot easier to buy a packaged lunch to go or grab some ready made food. but if you plan ahead a little there’s some easy alternatives that will actually save you money. look for air bnbs and hotel rooms that offer a kitchenette. you don’t need a lot, just pick a space where you can prepare some of your own food, have your morning cereal or make some sandwiches for when you’re out. even without a kitchen you can always buy fresh fruits and look out for shops that use paper packaging instead of single-use plastic. 

when you do go out to eat sit down and enjoy the experience. trying new foods is such an important part of travel. taking this time to enjoy your meal will add to your cultural experience and help you avoid unnecessarily packaging.

if you like to pack meals to go while traveling or always end up with leftovers, consider traveling with a reusable container. offers affordable stainless steel containers and there are lots of other options out there.

bamboo utensils are my other travel favorites, they’re light, affordable and mean you won’t need to ever use a plastic fork.

responsible travel tipseco friendly travel products


I hope these tips make you guys feel that these practices don’t have to be a compromise, they can be natural positive choices and a lot of the time will even make your travels more affordable. let me know what works for you and comment any tips that we can add to the list. 

1 Comment
  • Sitara
    Posted at 03:24h, 26 February Reply

    So inspiring,
    thanks for all the research.
    My friend donates money to non profits planting trees every time she flies to offset her carbon footprint.

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