It’s no surprise that travel is not exactly good for the planet. All those flights, train rides, and road trips only add to our carbon footprint as we move around the world. Don’t worry, I’m not just looking at you. I’m looking at myself too because I know I’m guilty of it. I started incorporating how to travel more sustainably and want to share it with you.

If you scour the internet for how you can travel more sustainably, you’ll find endless lists with sustainable products about this. I wrote one too 😅, you can check it out here.

But in addition to just buying more things, I wanted to give you actionable steps how we as travelers can learn to travel more sustainably for free.99 to help our planet. Let’s get into it.

Laguna Verde, Colombia

1 Use public transportation or walk

I live by this one. When I travel somewhere, I love to immerse myself in everything that city, country, culture has to offer. And that means riding the bus/metro/tram or walking to learn more about this new place I find myself in.

Aside from the cost, cause, ahem, taxis ain’t cheap, public transportation is a great way to have interactions with locals. It can also be an adventure. You could accidentally miss your stop and end up discovering a part of the city that most tourists never do. It gives you the opportunity to ask a local about a great restaurant recommendation.

By walking around I always come across a street or building I otherwise would have never known about. I get gorgeous building fronts all to myself and my ten thousand daily steps in. 

All the while helping out the planet and your wallet.

2 Slow travel

Are you the traveler who feels that if you don’t see Paris, Rome, Athens and Istanbul all in one 5 day trip you’ll never get another opportunity? Don’t be shy about your answer, cause I’ve been there too. I have wanted to see everything in one trip. Even if that meant waking up at 5am and going to bed at midnight. Or even later because I HAD to see what the nightlife was like. 

You don’t have to hear me say it was exhausting to know it’s true. Slowing down also gives you time to connect with the place and the people. You’ll end up leaving with a new favorite coffee shop or park you’ve come to love. It’s the best way to become more knowledgeable about the place you’ve visiting instead of trying to see everything at once. 

travel more sustainably
San Agustin, Colombia

3 Be mindful of water/electricity use

Just because you’re not paying the actual bill does not mean you should keep the water running longer than it needs to or the lights on when you leave.

Be considerate that:

1. Someone is paying for that,

2. They are resources that are being consumed by tourists instead of locals, and

3. That excessive usage does not benefit anyone and will eventually be detrimental worldwide. 

It’s common to not worry about certain issues when on vacation, but if we all do our part then we won’t be adding an additional burden on a destination or the planet.

4 Buy from and support local communities

Sustainable travel doesn’t always need to refer to the planet, but also the local community. Instead of going to fast fashion stores or worldwide restaurant chains, hit up the small local spots.

If you need any suggestions, ask a local! I’m sure they’d be happy to redirect you to a place where you can try the local cuisine instead of sticking to your favorite fast food joint. 

Buy at mom and pop owned shops or restaurants. If the menu is only in the local language, then you’ve probably found one! Buy at family run shops and directly support the community. 

Jamaa El Fna Square, Marrakech, Morocco

5 Look beyond the Top 10 things to do

It’s easy to look up the Top Things to do in a place and just do those. Even though I’m guilty of doing this myself and writing a list like it as well 😬. Either way I always prefer seeing beyond what everybody else sees. 

This is a great way to have an experience most tourists wouldn’t have at a destination. It also helps alleviate the places that already have too many. This will only help spread out the tourism effects on a city in a way that can make it a better place for locals and visitors alike.

These tips are to help you travel more sustainably, but in no ways is it exhaustive. If you have found this helpful then I urge you to check out my post with Sustainable Travel Products. This post gives you an array of how everyday or travel items you use and need can be more sustainable for our planet.

Make sure you’re following me on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube for more up to date content on where I’m at and where I’m going next. If you haven’t already, make sure you join my email list so you know about my new adventures, general travel updates, and more before anyone else!

Viaja more y live más,

Latina Traveler

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