10 Sustainable Travel Tips that also Save Money

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Are you ready to embark on an adventure that not only takes you to beautiful destinations but also allows you to travel more sustainably? By incorporating these conscious and regenerative travel practices into your journey, you can both reduce the impact of your trip and also save some extra cash!

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Travel in the Off-Season

This is not only a great budget hack but it’s also better for the planet and local communities. Especially in places with high tourism, seasonal travel means a spike in resource use such as water and energy, as well as a peak in waste and pollution. All putting strain on locals systems, infrastructure and the environment.

Seasonal travel also doesn’t offer job security, employees can be laid off or put on unpaid leave during quiet times. So traveling off-season is also beneficial to hotel and tourism workers as well as local artisans and anyone whose income relies on tourism.

Pack Light

Whether you’re traveling by car or plane, extra weight leads to increased fuel consumption and carbon emissions. For example on airplanes a 1kg reduction in weight saves 0.02-0.03 kg of fuel per 1000 km (source) so if each passenger packed just a few kg lighter it could add up!

By traveling with just the essentials, you not only reduce your ecological footprint and makes it easier to carry your bags, but you also avoid paying additional baggage fees.

Choose Eco-Friendly Accommodation

There are fortunately sustainable hotel and accommodation options for all budgets! However unfortunately there is also a lot of greenwashing around hotels and tourism so you do need to be careful. Look for places that demonstrate a variety of sustainability initiatives (not just something like recycling), LEED certification, Green Keys, and/or places that also have a positive impact on the local environment or community.

Where to Find Green Hotels and Accommodation

Bookdifferent – find hotels with eco certifications as well as qualifications such as fair employee treatment, respect for local culture, sustainable management and other environmental practices.

IBEROSTAR – plastic-free hotel chain with other sustainability and responsible tourism initiatives.

EcoHotels – a database of certified hotels. However there is a large variety in sustainability initiatives among the listed hotels so we recommend doing further research.

If you have more of a budget, check out these incredible regenerative hotels.

Opt for Public Transportation

Embrace the local experience and use public transportation whenever possible. Trains, buses, and trams are not only more eco-friendly than cars and taxi’s, but they’re also a fantastic way to save money. Many cities offer travel passes or discount cards that provide unlimited access to public transport, helping you explore on a budget.

Even better, try to use trains or busses get to your destination instead of flying!

Support Local and Sustainable Food

When dining out, choose restaurants that prioritize local, seasonal, and/or organic ingredients. Supporting local farmers and food producers not only promotes sustainability and supports the local economy but also ensures that you get freshest food! Additionally, eating at small, local eateries is often more affordable than dining in touristy areas and gives you a more authentic culinary experience.

Carry a Reusable Water Bottle and Utensils

Reduce your plastic waste by bringing along a reusable water bottle and utensils with you. Many destinations have water refill stations, allowing you to stay hydrated without purchasing single-use plastic bottles. Packing your own utensils is also an easy way to avoid unnecessary plastic cutlery while on the go. Plus you’re always ready for a spontaneous picnic in a lovely spot!

Check out our favorite to-go utensils here.

Shop for Sustainable Souvenirs

Instead of buying mass-produced plastic trinkets that are often made in other countries, choose souvenirs that are locally made or support community initiatives. Handcrafted items, artisan products, locally produced textiles, or artwork from local artists not only make for unique mementos but also help sustain the local economy and preserve craftsmanship.

Conserve Energy and Water

Adopt similar eco-friendly habits in your accommodation as you would at home. Turn off lights, air conditioning, and heating when you leave the room, and use water sparingly. These small actions can make a significant difference in conserving resources.

If staying in a hotel be sure to forgo daily cleaning and towel/bedding washing.

Explore Free and Outdoor Activities

Some of the best experiences during your trip may not cost penny. Take advantage of free walking tours, explore local parks, hike scenic trails, or have a picnic at the beach. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also immerse yourself and be able to appreciate the destination’s natural beauty.

Engage in Responsible Wildlife Tourism

If you’re eager to witness wildlife during your travels, choose responsible wildlife tourism operators. Avoid activities that exploit animals or disrupt their natural habitats. Opt for reputable sanctuaries, national parks, or wildlife conservation programs that prioritize animal welfare and education and stick to observation only experiences.

Learn more tips for responsible wildlife tourism here.

By following these 10 tips, you can lighten your travel footprint and save some money along the way. So, go forth and explore the world while being mindful of our planet.

Any sustainable travel tips we missed?

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