How to Be an Eco Traveler

Worried about the state of our planet and your footprint on it? It is still possible to travel in an eco-conscious way and to reduce your impact as you go. Doing so requires thinking about the things that you're doing as you travel, something that can actually enhance your enjoyment of the journey.


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    Consider your transportation. Shorter flights have less impact on the atmosphere than longer ones; local trips that avoid flying are even better in terms of atmospheric impact. If you are flying, plan to fit in as much as possible, such as possible work conferences, networking, catching up with as many people as possible, volunteering, etc. Consider buying a carbon offset for your trip; most airlines now carry details on how you can do this. In terms of getting around within countries, consider cycling, trains, public transportation options before car rental. Some forms of public transport will offer great deals for weekend, weekly, or even monthly travel.
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    Book into a green hotel or an eco-resort wherever possible. Seek to support those places that walk the talk. These places are often signed up to various country or international schemes aimed at reducing the environmental impact of their operations and concerned with being a sustainable business. Learn about what they are doing online before you book. Some of the hotels or resorts will even take you to see their green features if you ask.
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    Heed the eco-advice of the hotel. Many hotels are now into saving water and energy where possible, even if they are not known as a green hotel. Where you are given the opportunity to reuse towels, sleep on the same sheets, open the windows for fresh air rather than using the air-conditioning, etc., then consider doing so. And turn the lights off whenever you're not in the room.
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    Take a small carry bag with you wherever you go. There are many foldaway bags available now that open into much larger carry bags when needed. Having one of these with you at all times removes the temptation to accept plastic or paper bags anywhere you are. This is great for impulse purchases at craft markets, leftovers from breakfast and lunch, sweaters that become too warm to wear, etc. Alternatively, use your day pack as a means to carry anything purchased while you're out and about.
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    Support the locals. Look for local crafts, art, artisanal products, etc. rather than buying mass-produced tourist gimmicks. You can support the local industry in both developed and developing countries and give the craftspeople a big boost. It's nice to let your seller know where you're taking their handwork home to; that often becomes a talking piece for them down the track and is a source of pride.
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    Opt for solar power chargers. This is suitable for a range of items including cell phones, music and video widgets, battery chargers, etc. There are solar cell packs available for laying across backpacks, so that you soak up the sun as you're walking all day. The beauty of solar power charges is their ability to work when the electricity doesn't, making them ideal for back country and electricity-poor visits.
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    Send emails in place of postcards and letters. There are many online postcard choices that you can use.
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    Look for organic food, locally produced food, and clothing products. It can be really beneficial for tourists to support the local organic industry, especially in countries where this is a fledgling industry. Let others know about the products on your blog or by word-of-mouth to help spread the knowledge.
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    Find a green guide. If you want to experience travel that includes educational and awe-inspiring elements, find a guide who is keen on eco-travel too and will be able to help you tread lightly as you discover amazing places in the world.
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    Send your loose change to an environmental organisation in the country prior to leaving. This can be a great way to tidy out the loose coins and benefit an environmental group at the same time.


  • Avoid bottled water unless it is absolutely necessary. In most areas of developed countries, the tap water should be safe (ask if you're not sure). In developing countries, it will depend on the standard of sanitation facilities present and in use. Again, ask before putting your health at risk but where the opportunity exists to drink healthy water from the tap, prefer this over bottled water. Use your common sense on this issue.

Things You'll Need

  • Cloth bag/ day pack
  • Solar charger
  • Refillable water bottle and carrier

Article Info

Categories: Environmental Awareness | Travel Tips