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9 Ways to Make Your Travels More Sustainable
Sustainable Travels

9 Ways to Make Your Travels More Sustainable

Ever since I studied abroad in London, I fell in love with traveling.

I’ve been fortunate to see international destinations, national parks, and cities. As one who thrives on adventure, I can share that travel enhances your knowledge and relieves stress and can even boost your creativity. Although some hardcore environmentalists argue against the carbon impact of air travel, having children is a way larger carbon impact (and most taboo).

How can you travel with less of an impact? Here are a few ways to embrace a sustainable lifestyle, regardless of where you visit. (Many of the examples are from my recent journey to Kauai, Hawaii.)

9 Ways to Make Your Travel More Sustainable

  1. Eat locally. We encourage eating seasonal and locally while at home, so do the same while away. During my recent Hawaii trip, I found locally made granola bars for our hike and locally made cold brew coffee. Another benefit of eating local? The pineapple was unreal compared to fruit back home.

local fresh organic food

2. Support those roadside shacks, dives and food trucks. Some of the favorite things I ate included a roadside juice stand we almost drove by. Finding small businesses supports the local economy, and you might even find a new favorite.


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3. Purchase goods from local makers and artisans. Although it may cost more, you’ll enjoy those locally made earrings or authentic crafts for far longer than cheaply made trinkets. Good low-cost alternatives include handmade soaps (with local scents), coffee or local snacks.

4. Bring a set of reusables for the road. Where to start? A reusable bottle, bamboo silverware, tote bag and/or copper straw. I bring an empty water bottle and Klean Kanteen coffee mug with me through the airport and use throughout my journey, from the flight during beverage breaks and handing to the local barista for a macadamia-nut latte.

5. Practice leave no trace. Although common practices for camping, we can all apply them. Simply: leave natural objects as they are, stay on trails, dispose of all waste and respect wildlife.

pack in pack out principles

6. Explore local sights by foot, bike or public transit. Some of the cheapest and fun activities are hikes, bike rides, or exploring the local landscape.

7. Take 3 Rule. In Hawaii, they have a “take 3” rule, where you should pick up 3 pieces of litter each time you visit a beach. If we all did that where we journeyed, how much cleaner would the world be?

3 piece rule take out trash

8. Say no to plastics. Forego straws, plastic packaging and reduce your plastic use where you can.

9. Choose sustainable tourism. If you want information about the culture, find local tour companies. They’ll often state environmental practices on their website, or you can call and ask how they’re practicing sustainability or how their tours protect wildlife or support the local economy. There’s always competition, so choosing companies based on their practices make an impact.

kauai hiking


Readers, these are just a few ways to have a sustainable trip. What tips do you have? Share with us in the comments or on social media.



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Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake. View all posts by Julie Hancher
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