17 Eco-Friendly Travel Hacks

17 Eco-Friendly Travel Hacks

Hi everyone! 

On my Instagram last week, I shared a few tips on how to make simple changes, when traveling, that are better for the environment. I got some great feedback, so thought I would share even more eco-friendly travel tips! 

With the growth of traveling for business and fun, eco-friendly options are super important. It may sound like a daunting task, but if we all make a couple of smarter choices when traveling, we can make a huge difference. 

One of the major issues in regards to green living is something called greenwashing. This term is used when companies use specific words to make their products and activities seem environmentally friendly when they actually aren’t. Awful, right? The sadder part is how common greenwashing is. In the travel industry, and every other profitable industry for that matter, “being green” sells even if it’s truthful or not. 

But don’t worry too much; YOU CAN HELP! I am going to share ways to spot and stop greenwashing within travel industries along with sharing the very best sustainable travel hacks that are affordable, easy to implement, and are sure to make traveling that much better of an experience. 

Eco-friendly packing:

Pack Lighter/second hand:
Before you begin your next adventure, watch what you are packing. I know this is a struggle for a lot of people, myself included, but try your hardest to avoid overpacking! The more your luggage weighs, the more the plane has to carry. This makes the plane less efficient and causes more emissions to be let out into the atmosphere. 
Tip to stop overpacking: Pack your whole suitcase like normal, but right before you zip the bag up, take out HALF of what you packed. Most clothes can be worn more than once, especially jeans and shorts! 

Use second-hand/borrowed luggage: 
Just like many of these tips, this one will also save you a pretty penny. Instead of buying new luggage when going on a trip, go to your local thrift store and find something second hand! Let’s face it, spending money on extremely nice luggage is a waste anyways. It gets thrown around the airport, touches all sorts of gross surfaces, and sometimes even goes missing or gets stolen. It is much better for the Earth (and your wallet) to borrow a suitcase from someone else or clean up one from the thrift store. 


Eco-friendly flights:

Flying is bad for the earth in general, just like driving, but some things we have to do. So to help make flying a little less harmful, find airplane companies that have smaller Co2 emissions. Here are a few:

Alaska Air 

In addition, fly with a company associated with the International Air Transport Association. These companies offer carbon offset programs- a way for passengers to offset their portion of an airplane’s carbon emissions by paying a small fee to support existing environmental projects.

Try your best to book non-stop flights. The majority of the emissions that planes release come from takeoff and landing! 


Avoid flying first class:

See the on-going trend of saving you money and helping the earth ;)
 This is similar to the packing light tip. Flying first class is more harmful to the environment instead of flying economy. I know some of you may roll your eyes at this one, but there is actually scientific evidence to back this up. Basically, people who fly first class get to take up more space. Their seats are bigger, they have more legroom, and they have more space for extra bags. All of this adds weight to the plane and creates less space for more people.
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Eco-friendly transportation:

One of the easiest ways to help the environment while traveling is using local transportation instead of renting a car. Some destinations have fantastic transportation options that will take you anywhere you need to go. Prior research is your best friend here!
Now, I understand that sometimes renting a car is your only option-it’s okay! Just try your hardest to only drive when it’s necessary and even opt for an electric/hybrid car instead of one that runs off of gasoline. 

For short distances: rent a bike or do some good ole’ walking! This is a great way to explore your vacation spot even more :)

How to find Eco-Lodging:

This is becoming increasingly easier for travelers, but again-beware of greenwashing! 
When traveling in the United States, check the U.S. Green Building Council to see if the hotel has a LEED Certification. If they do, this means that the hotel is environmentally efficient and more eco-friendly! 
Similar to the tip above, when traveling outside of the United States, you can find what hotels have certain sustainability certifications with a quick Google search. 
Using Airbnb is an easy way to find eco-friendly housing options as well. By simply typing in ‘eco-friendly” into their search bar, hundreds of options come up!
And, of course, staying with locals, family, or friends while traveling is an affordable and sustainable housing option! If you’re feeling extra adventurous, hostels are a great place to stay or you can find locals to host you using Couchsurfing or MindMyHouse 

Be courteous of the locals

If you take anything away from this post, please take this! 
Although this isn’t necessarily an environmental tip, no matter where you go: honor local traditions. By doing a quick Google search, you can learn so much about local customs that can help you be more respectful while traveling! 

Shop and eat local: not only will you be supporting local artisans/chefs, but you are also helping the earth by cutting down the emission caused by factories and the distribution process. Plus you’ll be buying/eating a unique, one of a kind product.
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Implement common sustainable habits: 

Finally, implement all the common sustainable practices you may already do. I’ll list a few here:
Pack a reusable water bottle 
Skip the straw/pack a reusable one 
Pick up random trash you see
Pack a reusable bag for shopping 
Look for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Certified Organic label to make sure you’re not being greenwashed!