‘Every step you take brings you closer to a beautiful destination’, but many times it also leaves behind carbon footprints. For many, to travel is to get closer to the serendipity of the environment. But what can be liberating to one’s soul can often be of great damage to our Mother Nature. Being in the lap of the marvellous beauty of nature comes along with certain duties and responsibilities. Right from booking your travel tickets to carrying back an extra bag of souvenirs, there are so many travel habits that do not sit right with the necessity for eco-friendly travel. 

Sustainable Tourism is the need of the hour. It has become more important to practise sustainable travel options than ever.

Here are 11 ways you can be a responsible traveller and adopt eco-friendly travel options. 

1. Avoid Single-Use, Opt for Sustainable

using reusable items for eco-friendly travel
A bunch of reusable items like straws, cutlery, jute bags, etc.
Image Credit: Elena Fedorina

Life in plastic, is not fantastic!

When on a trip, you are going to get a number of coffee cups, plastic water bottles, take-out containers, paper napkins, plastic shopping bags, etc. All these single-use items are the biggest threat to the environment as they generate a lot of waste. Simply replace the single-use items and instead opt for reusable ones. 

Carry your own tumbler for coffee or a steel bottle to refill water. Instead of take-outs, go to a sit-down restaurant. For shopping, it is best to carry your own cloth or jute bags. All these small changes will help you reduce waste and travel green. 

2. Choose Public Transportation

eco-friendly travel with public transport
Use public transport to travel in an eco-friendly way
Image Credit: Dusan Petkovic

There are so many eco-friendly travel options available. Public transport uses far less fuel per passenger compared to a private car. Trains can be the best option to travel on land. While travelling within a city, opt for buses or metros to cover long distances. For walkable cities, it is even better to ditch everything and simply walk or cycle around the city. Opting for the greenest ways of travelling to get around the city helps to reduce emissions. Additionally, it is also a great way to slow down and explore the city at your own pace. 

3. Eat, Drink and Shop Local

buying organic food
Buy Organic food from the local farmers
Image Credit: Jacob Lund

While on vacation, eat and drink like the locals do. This is the best way you get to learn about the place. Buying and eating local not only helps local businesses but also helps to cut down on the carbon footprint generated by importing foreign products. Chow down on local delights and buy organic produce to make your travel eco-friendly. 

4. Clean Behind You

Clean up behind you
Pick up all your litter
Image credit: STEKLO

While travelling to a foreign location, the worst thing you can do is damage or take away from there. Basic decency calls for not littering or picking on the natural flora of the place. But eco-friendly travel suggests going a step beyond and picking up the trash you find, so it doesn’t end up in the ocean. 

5. Pick Sustainable Destinations

pick a sustainable location
Choose a sustainably sound destination
Image Credit: hyotographics

Practising eco-friendly travel starts with choosing a sustainably sound location. A country like Sweden or Norway ranks way higher than places like Moldova or Sierra Leone on the eco-friendly scale. Start with picking a destination that can be easily reached with sustainable travel options. Make sure the places you visit do not harm the locality-  environmentally, economically and socially. Even your travel partners must be adopting eco-friendly ways to conduct the trip.

6. Stay Sustainably

Sustainability is the need of the hour and we should actively try to adapt to it. Nowadays many new eco-friendly hotels are coming up all over the world. These accommodations make conscious efforts to not cause much harm to the environment by:

  • Cutting off electricity directly when you get out of the room. 
  • Fittings to minimise water wastage. 
  • Build their hotels in safe spaces and not by damaging the environment. Instead of harming them the hotels must work to protect and conserve the local environment. 
  • Manage their waste properly. Encourage visitors to participate in beach/forest cleanup activities. 
  • Hire a workforce from the same locality and use produce brought from local businesses. 

Green Tips: Research and do your hotel bookings online in advance. This will help you save time and get the best deals. 

7. Take Direct Flights

flight taking off
Choose a direct flight over a connecting one
Image Credit: Nieuwland Photography

Sometimes flying is the only option to reach your holiday destination. While flying is not the most eco-friendly travel option, one can take certain steps to reduce their carbon footprint. Opt for direct flights to reach your destination rather than one with layovers. It saves much more fuel. Secondly, fly with budget airlines as they are more likely to fly more passengers at the same time, hence reducing your share of greenhouse gas emissions. 

Green Tips: Many websites specially mark airlines which ‘travel green’. So while you book flight tickets online, make sure to fly with these sustainable airlines.  

8. Travel Light

means of eco-friendly travel- travel light
Travelling light is very eco-friendly
Image Credit: A_B_C

Packing light will help you to practise eco-friendly travel. Your light luggage will be easier to carry around, which means lesser resources will be spent to move it around. You can also easily carry it around which means less hassle to transport it with a vehicle that is going to emit greenhouse gases. 

9. Print Your Documents

Carrying around your printed documents is old-fashioned. Many places now allow people to simply use electronic tickets on their phones for entry. If you make this a strong rule, eventually you will be successful in saving a lot of paper. This eco-friendly travel practice will make you a sustainably responsible traveller. 

Green Tips: If possible, get your visa online. Many countries have opted for the digitalisation of visa applications. This is usually not only quicker but also helps save a lot of papers required for physical documents. 

10. Stay Away from Unsustainable Activities

say no to animal rides
Avoid animal rides on vacations
Image Credit: oneinchpunch

Before you plan your trip itinerary, research well. The sightseeing places, activities, hotels, travel partners, etc. need to assist sustainable tourism. 

  • Going on offbeat paths can be more risky than adventurous. In unfortunate cases, you might end up harming precious flora and fauna in some way. 
  • Large groups mean an exorbitant amount of pressure is put on the natural resources of a region. So you might want to explore places that are less crowded with tourists. 
  • Visiting animal enclosures, zoos, etc. can sound like a fun activity but can be a burden on nature. 

11. Volunteer or Team Up with NGOs

volunteering to plant trees
A group helping plant trees
Image Credit: Akarawut

Volunteering or teaming up with an NGO can be really beneficial not just for the environment but also for you. These places often tie up with hotels and restaurants which work on a barter basis. Visitors can come to stay and eat there at minimal or no cost and in return, they can engage in activities like cleanliness drives, plantation drives or something as simple as educating the locals. This is the best option for eco-friendly travel as along with a vacation you are contributing to nature. 

Some might believe that the concept of eco-friendly travel is hard to accomplish or even a facade. However, this is not true. In reality, it is a growing trend and more people over the world are adopting eco-friendly ways of travelling. If we want to enjoy the serenity of Earth’s nature for longer, we must take active measures for this change. Change can’t be brought all at once. So how bout we take small steps in this direction? Adapt one way to be more friendly to nature on each trip and eventually you will become a responsible traveller. 

Travelling is bliss, a chance to rejuvenate and appreciate nature. Plan your next eco-friendly trip with our domestic tour packages/ international tour packages.

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