One of the individual or group actions to reduce climate urgency and environmental degradation urges sustainable traveling measures. Sustainable travel tries to reduce the pollution associated with travel as much as possible. To ensure that the industry remains sustainable in the long term, we travelers need to preserve the natural and cultural environment. Therefore, here are some tips for sustainable traveling and for your next zero waste travel.

This article was written by Ankur Pradhan from Earth and Human. Ankur holds a bachelor’s degree in education and health and three years of content writing experience. Addicted to online creative writing, she puts some of what she feels inside her stormy heart on paper. She loves nature, so she is trying to motivate people to switch to alternative energy sources through her articles. 

Eco-friendly accommodation

Before choosing the first ecological accommodation you find, you must ensure that it is truly ecological and not just for appearances. It is true that many of the acts that differentiate sustainable lodgings you will not be able to know until you are inside.

However, you can write to them and ask them directly if they use ecological products or avoid using disposable products. In case the answer is evasive or unclear, stay away. Eco-friendly actions taken in accommodation include: no plastic wrappers, no straws in drinks, saving water by not washing the sheets or towels every single day, etc.

They also use LED lights, cards to activate electricity in the rooms, or automatic lights. They have class A energy-efficient appliances and recycling, and the restaurant’s menu is based on local seasonal products. Sometimes, they are even managed by local communities or help those communities directly. Lastly, they are likely to recommend eco-friendly activities to guests.

Avoid disposable items

Taking a sustainable approach to things while traveling is almost the same as what we can do at home. Buy less plastic and reuse things more than once. Bring on a trip a textile bag or a light backpack and a couple of shopping bags to do your purchases. 

It is better to protect the suitcase with a fabric cover rather than wrap it with film layers every time. Carry water in a recyclable bottle with you when traveling. For coffee, take a thermal mug, thermos, or Tumblr, and for street food, a lunchbox. Avoid straws in cocktails.

Buy souvenirs from local artisans and local produce. Remember that, for example, a plastic fridge magnet bought in Tanzania, is almost certainly made in China. Also, in no case should you buy souvenirs made from wild animals, corals, and in general, everything protected by the country’s laws. The main principle is simple: if you doubt the legality and ethics, pass by.

Bags full of legumes

Use apps

Almost all people have a smartphone nowadays, which means that paper is reduced to a minimum on travel. In most cases, you can book and confirm hotel reservations, plane tickets, bus, and train tickets on the apps. 

If an electronic boarding pass is available for your flight, it will also be scanned directly from the application without printing. Use a smartphone navigation app instead of paper travel maps. Just don’t forget to download the map of the desired country before setting off, so as not to use expensive internet while roaming.

Use menstrual cups and organic hygiene products

A menstrual cup is an excellent ally for people who want to travel zero waste. It replaces traditional pads and tampons and, being reusable, saves a lot of unnecessary waste every year. In addition, after several uses, it also represents a tremendous economic saving since it avoids the need to buy continuously.

A menstrual cup is not the only personal hygiene item that can help us consume less plastic. You can find bamboo brushes, reusable blades, or wooden combs. If you want to start with something simple, you can go from using bath soaps to the classic pills of a lifetime and save the planet kilos of plastic in bottle form.

Lunch box with a view in Aconcagua Argentina

3 R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

In addition to these simple guidelines to reduce your plastic consumption, you have in your hands many other ways to reduce your environmental footprint when you travel. An excellent way to start is the “3R Rule”. Reduce consumption, so you produce less waste, reuse as much as possible, and finally recycle.

Less takeaway: If you can choose, avoid abusing “takeaway food” and eat at the premises to avoid the plastic and cardboard packaging with which products are usually packaged.

Avoid excess packaging: If you buy, for example, a bunch of apples in a supermarket, it is very likely that they will come in a polystyrene tray and wrapped in plastic. On the other hand, if you buy it at a local store or a market or street stall, you can take them as is in your cloth bag.

Pick up your garbage and recycle: We do not always have a container nearby to recycle or a garbage can where we can deposit our waste. Use one of those plastic bags that you will surely get to collect all your garbage and deposit it in the right place. Also, if, for example, you are on the beach or in the mountains, it can be a great idea to also pick up other garbage that you find along the way in the form of paper, plastic, or cans.

Get even more clean tips for green trips in our Eco Travel Guide!

Travel light

One of the things that has happened to all of us at some point, is to carry a large number of different objects and clothes that we’ll most likely end up not using. It makes you travel heavier, and the more weight you carry, the greater the emission in the means of transport.

The ideal is to travel only with what is really necessary and not take things “just in case”. Since, in the end, it is very likely that you will never get to use those extra things.

Check out our best packing list to travel as a minimalist.

Packing a suitcase with maps and hiking boots for long-term travel

Leave zero waste behind you

Remember, when you travel and go for a picnic, a trip to the beach, or hiking, don’t leave anything lying around. It does a lot of harm to the environment and contributes to more waste in natural spaces.

Much of this waste is usually plastic bags, bottles, and other plastic products. These materials do not degrade properly and end up polluting for years. It is a significant harm to the environment, so always remember not to leave a trace of your passage. Doing this, you help prevent animals and marine life from ingesting plastic toxins or being harmed by becoming entangled in our waste.

Now is a good time to change the way we travel. Take our pledge!

Adopting these traveling habits and minimizing our eco-footprint is not tricky. We shape the market and influence manufacturers and retailers by voting for sustainable products and services with our wallets. People often lack information about zero waste travel; not time nor resources. 

An excellent motivation to embark on an eco-friendly path can be an understanding of all the benefits of an eco-friendly lifestyle – saving money, health, beauty, communication with interesting people, self-development, image enhancement, and, of course, saving the planet for the sake of future generations.

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Who am I?

Anthony fell in love with the world, and more particularly with South America. He wants to offer inspirational guides to the curious backpacker, travel stories to the online generation, and incentives for a more responsible and greener way-of-travel for everyone.

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