Eco-travel: 5 ways you can be a better traveller

Are you a conscious traveller who’s passionate about looking after Mother Earth, just as much as you love to discover new destinations? The longer we’ve been travelling, the more we realise there’s so many ways we can make a positive impact on the environment while we roam the globe, just by doing things a little differently. With the help of long-time traveller and workawayer Neri, we’ve compiled 5 easy ways we can travel more sustainably:

pair of male and female workawayers smiling while stringing shells together outdoors eco building decoration project

1. Embrace the art of slow travel

As globetrotters it is often hard to commute to the opposite side of the world without any air travel, but it’s worth knowing that take offs and landings cause most of a plane’s carbon emissions. So if it is necessary to hop on a plane, try to go for direct flights, and avoid routes with changes and stopovers. 

Whenever possible though, travelling by land not only significantly reduces our carbon footprint, but also allows us to absorb the scenery, sights and smells of the place we are visiting! Opt for a train or bike ride, explore the local transportation options, and get to experience an extra bit of culture while on the go. Use Rome2rio to find different transportation options, and evaluate their impact on Carbon calculator, as well as projects to offset it!

female traveller kayaking through clear turquoise sea

2. Eat locally and organically

Food is an essential part of our daily lives, so why not spice things up when travelling, and get a more delicious, unique and sustainable experience by eating locally

Choose local produce rather than imported food that travelled thousands of miles to get to our plates, and prepare to be amazed by the variety of interesting food you can’t find anywhere else in the world! Check out farmers’ markets for fresh food that hasn’t gone through overpackaging and excessive processing, and go for local restaurants rather than multinational fast food chains to ensure most of your money goes back to the local economy. Share dinners with local families on for a 100% authentic food experience.

woman standing in kitchen with jars of pickled vegetables in front of her

3. Stay local

With air-conditioning and electricity systems running all day, daily laundry, single-use toiletries, buffet leftovers etc, staying at a hotel inevitably increases our consumption and waste – without us even noticing it! Instead, living with a local family gives us the opportunity to live a bit more mindfully, as well as save money and immerse ourselves into local life. helps you get connected with hosts who can not only offer accommodation for free, but also opens up a plethora of opportunities for travellers to give back to the country they are visiting: host projects range from volunteering at national parks, sustainable communities and animal sanctuaries, to families looking for cultural exchange and a bit of help around their house or garden.

two smiling female travellers swinging a young girl while another laughs at the back in the garden

4. Purchase responsibly

When travelling, we’ll probably want to pick up a few souvenirs for friends and ourselves as a reminder of our adventures. As sustainable travellers, we can take the extra step by choosing businesses that sell fair trade products, have a socially responsible mission, or give back to the environment. A way to do this is to support ‘ B corporations’, which are companies that work within a sustainable and ethical business model, 

The same goes for buying tickets to sightseeing trips and excursions: visit places that promote and preserve wildlife and help put an end to cruel or exploitative practices. Support tours that locals can benefit from by selecting sustainable travel experiences such as those on Context Travel.

woman looking through colourful bamboo products in a souvenir shop

5. Pack light

Are you someone who tends to pack way more clothes than you need? Packing light is actually more friendly for the environment (not to mention our shoulders) because the weight of our luggage adds up to carbon emissions, and the heavier the weight, the greater the plane’s fuel consumption.

Plan in advance to get your backpack or suitcase organised, and only bring essential items. Pick and rearrange your items carefully – sample-size toiletries, versatile clothes to mix and match for different occasions. Packing light also means you’re saving money on checked bags, so that’s a win-win situation!

man looking into the distant road next to speedsign and backpack

Travelling sustainably is not just great for the environment, but also brings us various extra perks and unique cultural experiences that we wouldn’t otherwise have. We’re sure there are many more ways we can explore the world in an environmentally friendly way; do you have any tips to share with us? Let us know in the comments below! 

Make sure to check out workawayer Neri's great video on sustainable travel too: 

eco communityresponsible travelslow travelalternative travelsustainable travel

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