Day 27: Be a greener traveler


It is sometimes difficult to conciliate your passion for travelling and being sustainable. Especially when you know that taking a long-haul flight generates more carbon emissions than the average person in dozens of countries around the world produces in a whole year, according to a new Guardian analysis.

Here are some ideas to travel more sustainably :


  • Try to book non-stop flights whenever possible as it’s takeoffs and landings that generate most of an airplane’s carbon emissions

  • Fly economy class

  • When travelling with family and friends, and if the destination is within driving distance you might consider doing a road trip or car pooling to your destination. But when travelling by yourself, you might want to compare with flying, as it could be more eco-friendly to fly.

  • When flying, try to fly with one of the 30+ IATA (International Air Transport Association) member airlines who offer carbon offset programs where you can invest in carbon reduction programs to neutralise the aircraft’s carbon emissions.

  • If you consider driving to your destination, if you don’t have one, consider renting an hybrid or electric vehicle, which produce less CO²and consume no or less fuel

  • Travel as much as possible using the train, bus, (or even ship), which often have a lower impact on the environment than plane


  • When overseas, check for seals of approval from certification programs (EarthCheck for Australia, Green Globe, Rainforest Alliance for Latin America, Caribbean, Green Tourism Business Scheme for UK) and some countries might have their own certification programmes like Costa Rica to rate sustainability

  • Ask the hotel for their sustainability initiatives (recycling, solar power, energy-efficient lighting, low-flow toilets etc.) and if they don’t encourage them to start some suggestions on comment cards

  • Check how much of their resources are local (staff, food, materials etc.) the more they have the more they are likely to be sustainable, as they are investing in the local economy


  • Do not use the hotel laundry, they usually wash every guest’s clothes separately even when there are a few items, just wash them as you shower and hang them on the bathroom rack

  • Don’t put your towels to wash everyday, hang them up after each use as a sign you are going to reuse them


  • Use the “Do not disturb” sign on the door for the duration of your stay, it will save electricity for vacuuming, washing of the bed linens, and cuts down all chemical cleaning products

  • return brochures and maps to i-sites when you finished using them, they might be helpful for future travellers

  • Take the leftover shampoo, soap, conditioner as they will probably be thrown away and you can reuse the bottles later


  • Stay on the marked trails to avoid harming native flora and fauna

  • Bring a small bag along to pick up any trash you can find on the way, why not doing a competition with your family and friends to see who can spot the most ?

  • Look at the weather conditions before going hiking, to avoid getting lost, a ranger rescue can drain public resources

  • Keep a distance from wildlife, if you get an animal’s attention, it means that you’re too close !!


  • Buy locally and handmade products

  • Don’t buy anything made from endangered plants or animals, or unsustainable hardwoods

  • Do not buy pictures from somebody exploiting wildlife

  • Try to buy from local artisans, it helps them to feed their family but also to preserve their culture


  • Travel with small group tour operators (often have a less important environmental impact), check if they are members of the International Ecotourism Society

  • Don’t touch, step on coral, stir up sediment - it can damage the reef’s fragile ecosystem when snorkeling or scuba diving

  • Ask the scuba diving tour operators if they chum the water to attract wildlife, which is a behaviour that can disturb animal wildlife

  • Ask the tour operator how much they give back to the local community, (land lease, guide, natural resources etc.) community based tourism is often the most sustainable!

  • Don’t travel with an operator who promises hands-on encounters with wild animals