After the long winter and the several lockdown and quarantine measures, we are all looking forward to the freedom of the summer! However, travelling is notoriously detrimental to the environment. So, if you are a conscious consumer, make sure to follow these 10 Eco-friendly travel tips for the summer!
#1 Contribute to the local economy
When travelling, it is important to support local businesses. So many wonderful cities and villages are currently plagued by mass tourism, but the revenue does not always end up with the local population.
For example, instead of relying on fast-food franchises, trying out street food and discovering local restaurants and bars is a great way to get to know a culture.
If you can, try to look for restaurants with plant-based or vegan meals. Cutting on one meat meal a day can already make a huge difference, and there is no reason you should not do it while travelling. Many vegan and vegetarian restaurants offer creative alternatives to local food, so trying out these different options is also a fun exercise!
If you can avoid shopping, that might be the best option. But we all love souvenirs. So, if you must shop, avoid the tourist traps and discover local artisans. Instead of buying a cheap lighter, consider investing in a more sustainable and durable item that you can treasure for a long time.
However, if you do not want to shop but still want to support the local economy, you can also research organizations to donate to buy their services.
#2 Look for Eco-friendly Tours
Tours can be an incredible experience. Talented tour guides can make you discover the beauty and history of any place. But some tours can also be exploitive of wildlife or contribute to environmental pollution.
That is why it is important to look for eco-friendly and sustainable tours. Many tour companies committed to sustainable tourism, and by visiting parks and protected areas, you are contributing to conservation efforts.
In general, it is better to stay away from animal tourism altogether. Many companies operating in that sector will illegally capture and abuse animals for the enjoyment of tourists.
While travelling, your encounters with wildlife should be minimal. There is no reason you would be riding a camel or an elephant. Unfortunately, engaging with animal tourism usually means supporting the mistreatment of wild animals.
#3 Prioritize slow travel and public transportation
Budget-friendly airplane travelling encourages people to fly. In just a few hours, you can be halfway across the globe. But airplane travelling is a serious threat to the environment. Transportation is often the downfall of eco-friendly travellers, who rely on airplane flights to reach their destination.
That is why eco-friendly travellers should opt for “slow travels”. That basically means not rushing to your destination. Instead of embarking on a two-hour flight, choose to ride a train or a bus. If you have to fly, it is better to choose a direct flight and, if possible, research which airlines are currently using renewable biofuels. If we compare it with fossil fuels, this fuel can reduce carbon emissions by up 80%.
Once you arrive at your destination, you should also choose public transport over taxis or Ubers. It is a much more eco-friendly option, and it also allows you to get to know the place you are staying. If you must use a car, consider carpooling with other travellers.
And, of course, if you have the option, walking and cycling are also great modes of transportation for travellers!
#4 Save energy and water
If you are staying in a hotel, the easiest way to save energy and water is to simply put the “Do not disturb sign” on your door. This keeps the hotel from washing, vacuuming, replacing items (usually with plastic containers) and using chemicals.
Ecofriendly practices are becoming increasingly popular with hotel chains. Some might even reward you for it! So, unless you really need it, try to avoid hotel clean-ups and rely on your own items (towel, toiletries).
Another way to save energy is to use solar chargers. These are great items for any traveller, especially those who love the outdoors!
#5 Pack light and ecofriendly
Stay away from products that you will only use once and discard. Instead of using plastic bottles, choose aluminium ones. Choose soap bars and solid shampoos instead of products in plastic containers or using hotel toiletries. Bring a bag you can use for shopping, so you do not have to use and discard multiple plastic bags.
If you are planning on going camping or hiking, we have a great selection of eco-friendly products you can pack. We also have eco-friendly packaging alternatives you can use while travelling. Make sure to bring as many reusable items as possible and choose products made from eco-friendly materials, such as bamboo. Do not buy new items unless they are an absolute necessity. Ecofriendly travelling should not add to overconsumption.
It would be best if you also strived to pack as light as possible. That extra weight will add to your carbon footprint when riding a bus or an airplane. It will also contribute to more fuel consumption. It may seem like a simple choice, but packing light can actually have a positive environmental impact.
Plus, packing light means you will not have to rely as much on driving. It makes it easier to use public transport and walk about the city or nature without damaging your spine!
#6 Stay in ecofriendly accommodation
One of the most important of our most important 10 Eco-friendly travel tips for the summer. Choosing the right accommodation can make your travel much more sustainable. There are now many eco-friendly hotels and eco-resorts committed to green accommodation. Some of these places implement efficient recycling systems and minimize energy use, following tip #4 of our 10 Eco-friendly travel tips for the summer. Other accommodations might even be almost plastic-free.
Other types of sustainable accommodation you can try include homestays, couchsurfing, or farm stays.
If you would like to be in an eco-friendly accommodation but have no idea of where to start, we encourage you to research hotels and other types of accommodation certified by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. You can also use specialized search engines, such as Ecobnb, to find appropriate green accommodations that exist at your destination.
Remember that staying at an eco-friendly accommodation is not only about personal comfort. It is also important to support businesses that invest in green practices to encourage others to follow their steps.
#7 Recycle whenever you can and leave no trace behind
Usually, you should follow the same habits while travelling as you do at home. If you recycle where you live, then you should do it when you travel.
Ideally, all travellers should aim to leave no trace behind. This means picking up after themselves and leaving the places where they stay as intact as possible – especially when hiking.
If you are in an urban area, you should always try to recycle. Not all places will have efficient recycling systems. But you can ask around and try to select restaurants, hotels and other locations based on their recycling practices.
However, the best option is to remember tip #5 of our 10 Eco-friendly travel tips for the summer. Avoid bringing items that are not reusable. Avoiding snacks and other kinds of food that come in plastic packaging is a great move.
#8 Stay away from the most popular destinations
Over tourism is a real problem in many places of the world. It is bad for the environment and also causes social unrest. Instead of travelling to the same places where everybody else is going, try to find less common travel destinations.
Often, places off the beaten path have fewer tourist traps and more affordable prices. You can focus more on getting to know the local culture and spend less time stressing in lines and overcrowded places.
If you can, it might also be interesting to look into green destinations – countries or regions that cherish and protect the environment. That way, you can be an eco-friendly traveller and contribute to regions that share the same values.
#9 Offset your carbon footprint
Even the most eco-friendly travel will always be at a cost for the environment. If you would like to give back in some way, then you can follow carbon offsetting.
Basically, you should calculate your carbon footprint and then buy offsets that match your produced carbon emissions. Those offsets will then be used to fund environmental projects, such as the conservation of rainforests. The projects are beneficial for the environment and contribute to the local economy and the job market.
If you would like to start carbon offsetting but do not know how, click this link to discover options. Just remember that not all providers are equally legitimate, so it’s better to research in advance.
#10 Volunteer for sustainable projects – research the organization in advance!
Volunteering for sustainable projects is a great way to make your travel more meaningful. However, not all organizations are credible. Before enrolling on any volunteer program, it is better to ask fellow travellers and seasoned volunteers about the most reliable organizations.
Discover more ecofriendly tips
We hope you have enjoyed these 10 Eco-friendly travel tips for the summer! Do not feel overwhelmed by the amount of information – sometimes, all it takes is some research and preparation in advance. You might consider booking your trip with an eco-friendly travel company, so you do not have to worry about all the details.
If you aim to lead a sustainable lifestyle, there are many simple steps you can take. We encourage you to check out our tips to become an eco-friendly remote worker, use eco-friendly search engines, and discover green activities for family fun at home. And always make sure to follow the Ecoripples blog to know about more eco-friendly products and brands!