Wander Wisely: 10 of the Best Sustainable Travel Tips

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Starla is a valued contributor to the Sampling America writing team, passionately sharing captivating narratives from adventures across the country and beyond.

We have good news and bad news. 

The bad news is that the environmental impact of tourism and travel is becoming increasingly evident.

The good news is that you don’t necessarily have to stop traveling. Instead, be mindful of how you travel. This means adopting more sustainable and environmentally-friendly practices into your on-the-road routine, including the 10 game-changing tips we share here. 

Choose Non-Stop Flights

Choose direct flights
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Did you know that airplanes use more fuel during takeoffs and landings than when they cruise? That’s why selecting a non-stop flight rather than having one or two stops is more environmentally friendly. The fewer takeoffs and landings, the better.

Besides, non-stop flights are super-convenient, especially when traveling with kids, as there’s no need to deal with the hassle of hauling everyone’s carry-on luggage and personal items on and off the plane multiple times.

Participate in Local Initiatives

Participate in local initiatives
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Giving back to a community might be the last thing on your mind while you’re out and about exploring somewhere new. But since you’re using its resources while you’re there, finding a way to give back seems fair.

Join in a community project, clean-up event, or sustainable tourism activity. You’ll have fun, do some good work for Mother Earth, and earn brownie points with the locals.

Stay Longer in Fewer Locations

Stay longer in fewer destinations
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You only get so many vacation days a year, so trying to make the most of them by visiting as many locations as possible makes sense. However, doing this can seriously increase your carbon footprint!

Choose instead to stay in one place for a longer time; you won’t have to worry about the emissions from excess transportation, and you’ll be able to experience your vacation spot’s sights, sounds, and culture more fully.

Shop Local

Shop local
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Eat, shop, and play local! Local businesses usually get their goods from nearby sources, whereas the things you buy from a large chain are more than likely shipped from elsewhere. So, with this in mind, conducting business with local folks reduces the environmental impact of your purchases.

If that wasn’t reason enough to support local businesses while you’re traveling, maybe this will be: doing so helps boost the area’s economy, create jobs, and keeps small companies from going under.

Book Eco-Friendly Lodging

Book eco friendly lodging
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Plenty of hotels, resorts, and Airbnbs devote themselves to sustainable practices. For instance, some hotels promote energy conservation by eliminating single-serve coffee makers in each room and investing in communal coffee bars instead. Others only serve locally-sourced produce in their restaurants. Stay someplace where eco-consciousness is noted and incorporated into its practices.

Conserve Water

Conserve resources
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It might be tempting to stay in the shower a little longer or let the faucet run as you brush your teeth. After all, you’re on vacation — you’re not paying the water bill! But water is a precious resource we shouldn’t waste, so do your part to conserve it by taking short showers, reusing towels, and reporting any leaks in your accommodations.

Avoid Single-Use Plastics

Avoid single use plastics
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Pack canvas shopping bags, reusable straws, and a reusable water bottle in your suitcase. These are little things, but they can make a big impact in stewarding resources responsibly.

Select Sustainable Souvenirs

Select sustainable souvenirs
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Everyone loves buying something fun that reminds them of their trip. But don’t just settle for any old souvenir. Set your sights on something locally-made, sustainable, and, if applicable, represents your vacation spot’s traditions. And please, steer clear of anything made from an endangered species or materials that aren’t earth-friendly.

Travel in an Eco-Friendly Ride

Travel in an eco friendly ride
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Select eco-friendly modes of transportation whenever possible. Make the most of walkable city layouts by setting out to sightsee on foot. Rent bicycles to get from point A to point B, and if you’re going to use Uber and Lyft, select one of the respective platforms’ “green ride” selections.

Encourage Sustainable Travel

Encourage sustainable travel
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Of course, your commitment to sustainability is making a difference. But the more people that prioritize sustainable travel, the larger the impact. So, don’t forget to share your sustainable travel tips with your friends, family, and fellow travelers. And who knows? They might share their experiences and teach you something new for your next trip!

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Apostle Islands
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

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Havasu Falls
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

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Olympic National Park Hoh Rainforest
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

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