Traveling the world is the greatest gift and education anyone can ever receive, but if we want it to be here for our children, and our grandchildren, we need to start learning more about sustainable travel.
Sure, being able to jump on a plane and be nearly anywhere on Earth in less than a day is awesome, but at what cost? Since we began our trip around the world in 2018, we’ve tested and tried to implement the following 34 tips to sustainable travel – and we hope you do the same! Some are no-brainers, others a bit more of a surprise, but all of them will hopefully allow you to think about traveling a bit more sustainably and help to reduce your footprint the next time you travel, as well as making your next adventure a bit more meaningful. Often when we think about how to be more mindful while traveling it leads to more meaningful connections, more genuine experiences and will get you off the beaten path more than you would have otherwise – and isn’t that why we all travel in the first place? Let’s go!
1 – Bring a Reusable Water Bottle/Coffee Cup Everywhere You Go
This is on the top of the list for a reason, because if travelers are guilty of one thing it is absolutely using far too much single-use plastic and the main culprits are plastic water bottles and non-recycled coffee cups. We travel with reusable water bottles and coffee cups wherever we go and use them both multiple times a day.
Travel is exhausting and tiring and air travel is very dehydrating, so always knowing your water is on your back, and you aren’t ruining the planet), are great feelings.
2 – Walk Everywhere in a New City
We average about 10km walking per day when traveling, and as much as we’d like to say it is another way we try to stick to sustainable travel, it is also simply the best way to see and explore a new city, town or country.
Most of us have two perfectly good legs and nothing is better after a long flight or bus ride than taking a nice long walk through an unexplored city – it is simply one of our favorite things to do while traveling!
Forget the trains, buses, taxis and Ubers and just head out and get lost, we promise you won’t regret it!
3 – Avoid a Rental Car and Rent a Bike, Electric Car, or use Day-Use Rental Cars
We get it, not everywhere you want to go is within walking distance (although we have clocked in 25-30km in a day so a lot more than you think is doable by foot), make sure to think about how you’re traveling to get where you want to go.
Many cities now have hourly or daily bike rental options (come to Amsterdam, they are literally on every corner) and many rental car companies are now offering green or electric options. Many cities also have day-use rental cars if you just need a ride for a day and not the entire length of your trip.
4 – Buy Durable and Long Lasting Clothes and Travel Gear
If you know us at all you know we often go by #teambackpack or #backpacklife and there is a very good reason for that. We believe that less is more when traveling, and on most trips, if we can’t fit in in a backpack and carry-on bag we simply don’t bring it.
Having good quality, durable and long-lasting clothes and gear is the only way to go when traveling. Patagonia offers free repairs on all their clothes and all Eastpak gear comes with a 30-year warranty.
So, spend the money on good quality products you truly love and they’ll be with you all around the world for decades to come. No more buying cheap replacements every time you leave for a holiday. Win/win!
5 – Only Fly Carry-On to Avoid Excess Weight
Not only do you want to travel light to save your poor self from having to lug around a bunch of stuff you’ll never use when traveling, but a huge sustainable travel tip must is reducing the overall weight you carry, especially for airplanes. The fewer fossil fuels burned because you couldn’t live without those spare boots or extra books the better!
Pack everything you want to bring and then take out half and double the money you’re planning to bring – it never fails 🙂
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