Want to satisfy your wanderlust without leaving a big carbon footprint behind? Our green travel guide helps you explore the world with minimal impact on the planet. Learn how to travel responsibly, for whatever your reason: wildlife conservation, cultural preservation, or the planet.

Ready to go green? Join us on this eco-friendly adventure.

Travelers are far from a green travel philosophy. Over 1 million people traveled internationally in 2018. In addition to carbon emissions, a lot of waste was generated. Pollution, plastic, cultural corruption… These fancy travel plans suck up resources like a vampire. Maybe, I exaggerated a bit. Maybe, I didn’t. Whatever. Keep reading.

By making sustainable choices, we can reduce the ecological footprint we leave on nature when we travel. On the other hand, nature-friendly travel shouldn’t be a fad. Sure, the growth curve of this awareness is also having a positive impact on the travel industry.

Simple but effective

“The environmentally conscious visit to relatively unspoiled natural areas to enjoy and appreciate nature (and associated cultural features—both past and present) that promotes conservation, has little negative impact on visitors, and allows for active socio-economic participation by local people.”

According to the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature), ecotourism is:

Green travelers are sensitive to local culture and biodiversity. They behave conscientiously, environmentally and ethically. Simple choices can be powerful.

Many travelers believe that sustainability is “hard work” or requires big changes in their daily lives. Yet, every traveler can take simple steps to make their trip more environmentally friendly. Being an eco-tourist can seem difficult at first because you have to constantly pay attention to many details, but it’s not that hard.

Green travel guide
Fotoğraf: John Matychuk/Unsplash

Tips for green travel

When you’re still at home (Before traveling)

Unplug your home

Before leaving your home, unplug all electronic devices. Even if you’re not using them, plugging them in uses energy. It also saves you money.

Choose eco-friendly hotels

If you select “eco-friendly” in a booking app, you’ll see many eco-friendly accommodations. However, some hotels use the word “green” in their brands as a marketing tactic. Be careful when choosing one. You can try different methods to find out if an establishment is eco-friendly or not. For example, ask if it has a certificate, such as EarthCheck, Rainforest Alliance, Green Key or Green Tourism.

You should also ask these questions and more:

  • Does the business use electricity, heating, and cooling responsibly?
  • Is water waste being reduced?
  • Are facilities built in locations that won’t harm the ecosystem?
  • Do they encourage ecological practices such as cutting down beaches and forests?
  • Are there recycling bins?
  • What do they do with food waste?

While staying at a lodge, be mindful of your ecological footprint. You can bring your own hygiene items instead of using the hotel’s disposables. Also, take as much from the buffet as you can eat. This prevents food waste.

Download eco-friendly mobile apps

Technology is a tricky topic. Still, some mobile apps can make our green travel easier. For example, we can use an app that shows us vegan restaurants near us. Or we can choose another app that shows us only eco-friendly hotels. Just check sustainability apps you use and love. Make your travel more enjoyable.

Green travel guide
Photo by Bluewater Sweden on Unsplash

Always take your thermos with you

You might want to get a coffee or tea in a paper cup from a coffee store while waiting for your flight or bus. Oops! That means you’ll produce 5-15 more glasses of waste during your trip. Hmm… Want to stop this? Want to make your trip more eco-friendly? Start by taking a thermos and a water bottle with you. It’s the easiest first step.

By the way, you can’t fill up your water bottle everywhere. It’s understandable that you buy a plastic bottle of water at the nearest store to avoid dying of thirst. Do your best. That’s the point.

Pack light

You may think that the weight of your luggage is an insignificant detail when traveling. But, did you know that packing lighter can have a significant impact on the environment? Yes, it’s true! When you travel light, planes, buses, and cars weigh less, saving fuel and reducing emissions. And honestly, who wants to lug around heavy bags when you can travel comfortably and freely?

When you’re on the road

Share a car or hitchhike

Carpooling is a great, cost-effective transportation option. It means car sharing. Plus, you can use it in the city or long distance. Hitchhiking is another alternative.

Choose direct flights

The aviation industry contributes 4 to 9 percent to climate change. By the way, private jet users are the largest contributors to global carbon emissions from flights. So I’m not suggesting that you stop air travel completely; that wouldn’t be a reasonable suggestion either.

But. If possible, choose direct flights, because airplanes consume the most fuel during takeoff and landing. Sometimes, direct flights can be more expensive than connecting flights. Also, an economy of flight means more people per plane and fewer emissions per capita.

Additionally, if the airlines have a carbon offset program, choose those airlines. If the airline doesn’t offer a carbon offset program, platforms like Terrepass, seedlings and other green projects can make sure your trip is carbon-neutral.

When you’re at the destination

Use public transportation

If you say, “I don’t want to become a can in a subway with 1 million people,” I can understand you. Some cities have a better public transportation system. Others don’t. The point is that public transportation is always cheaper than others.

However, the best way to see a city and learn about its culture is by foot. Another option is to rent a bike. Walking and biking are healthy and the most eco-friendly way to enjoy yourself—all without carbon emissions. Just… Be careful not to crush tiny insects and ants or pick flowers while walking.

Buy locally and consciously

Green travel guide
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash.

Not only when traveling, but also in daily life, buying local means that the product you’re buying isn’t coming from far away, and produces fewer carbon emissions than foreign products. When transportation increases, so do carbon emissions. Also, buying local encourages local businesses and supports their sustainability.

Let’s say you’re in Paris. So, it doesn’t make sense to buy a jewelry made in a Chinese. Instead, you can opt for local products. And don’t forget to have your cloth bag with you when shopping.

Separate garbage properly

Be sure to recycle your waste during your trip. Check with your accommodation and local authorities for information about recycling centers.

Respect the local flora and fauna

Be careful not to endanger the habitat of other species when participating in activities such as hiking or bird watching. Make sure you’re kind to animals during your travels. Animals are tortured in various ways to adapt to activities.

Choose eco-friendly activities

Most people make their decisions without knowing the “true cost” of travel activities. However, you should find out beforehand if a company offers its services in a sustainable way. Does it use energy-efficient transportation? Does it try to protect nature? And more. You can consider participating in activities that bring you closer to nature and culture.

Water activities:

Keep these details in mind when participating in water activities.

  • Most sunscreens contain chemicals that can harm corals and reefs as well as your health. Use Ocean Safe or Reef Safe®, non-toxic sunscreens.
  • Don’t touch coral while diving or snorkeling, as the oils from your skin can destroy the protective mucous membranes and kill entire coral colonies.
  • For water sports such as surfing, buy or rent equipment that is compatible with nature and doesn’t harm marine life.
  • Explore inland waters using non-motorized boats such as villas and rowboats instead of speedboats.
  • Deep-sea fishing does great harm to the fragile underwater world. (We mustn’t forget that fish also suffer, and we must respect their right to live).

Sharing economy

The idea is to prefer local people, instead of paying a company where you have no idea where your money is going. Airbnb is the most popular platform for this model. It allows people to open their homes and host travelers for a fee. Uber could be another example. Yes, we can see very expensive homes on Airbnb. But it’s also possible to find budget-friendly hostels through a nature-friendly booking company.

Wherever you go, all you can leave behind is your footprint. Is green travel important to you? What are you doing about it?

Green travel bloggers you might want to follow: