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10 Tips to Make Sustainable Travel Easier Than You Thought

Updated: Dec 10, 2020


Most travelers don’t even realize that many tourist shops, hotels, restaurants, and tour companies in popular travel destinations may not be owned by locals. That means that the destination and its residents absorb the negative impact of tourism, but the economic benefit is exported elsewhere.

With over 1.4 billion people traveling the world, it’s never been more important to make conscious decisions about how you travel and where your dollars go. One way to bring awareness to limiting your negative impact is by looking up your carbon footprint. According to, a roundtrip economy flight from NY to Rome, with a layover in Paris, puts 2.3 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. That’s more carbon dioxide than many people produce in a full year.

A passenger on a cruise ship emits 3x as much carbon as they would on land. As if that weren’t bad enough, cruise ships often dump trash, fuel, and sewage into our oceans’ already-struggling ecosystems.

But it’s not all doom and gloom! Luckily, there are so many easy and fun ways to offset your environmental impact when you travel (besides avoiding cruises altogether)!

For example, through Myclimate you can offset your carbon emissions by funding the purchase of energy efficient cookstoves in Rwanda, a solar power installation in the Dominican Republic, or replace old heating systems with energy efficient heat pumps in Switzerland. The organization Cotap plants trees in India, Malawi, Mozambique, Uganda and Nicaragua. Terrapass funds projects in the U.S. that utilize farm animal waste, install wind power, and capture landfill gases to generate electricity. To calculate the impact of your trip and choose a way to offset it, use this calculator.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg! Let’s dive into 10 Tips on How to Travel Sustainably!

Italian woman point out a basil plant in her garden to three young women beside her

How to Travel Sustainably

Offsetting your carbon footprint is number one when it comes to responsible tourism and finding ways to engage in sustainable travel. But there are some things to keep in mind once you arrive as well.

Overtourism is a problem in many destinations which results in displaced locals, the replacement of “everyday living” shops with souvenir shops, overused infrastructure, degraded visitor experiences, environmental damage, and threats to culture and heritage. Many cities across the world are struggling to exist sustainably alongside tourism, and it simply isn’t acceptable.

The good news? Overtourism can be combated simply by giving a bit more thought to every action, decision, and purchase you make during your trip. Here are 10 ways travel sustainably and leave a positive impact on the places you visit.