Green and responsible travel: 9 tips and tricks

Green and responsible travel: 9 tips and tricks

Zero waste is a set of responsible practices for waste reduction and sustainable consumption. However, it is not easy to achieve a truly zero waste. Here are some strategies to minimize your environmental impact and travel green!

1. Promote reusable items

Travelers often use more disposable items than at home. With a little preparation, it’s easy to avoid single-use plastic bags, coffee cups, cutlery and water bottles ending up in landfills or recycling centers.

  • Bag: Canvas travel bag that replaces plastic bags. If it is environmentally friendly, it is also very practical for laundry days.
  • Pumpkin: Refill your water bottle instead of buying a new one every time. In countries where tap water is not safe to drink, opt for a portable water filter like the LifeStraw. This facility saves money, spends more time on research and reduces the purchase of plastic bottles.
  • Set of accessories for multiple use : Enjoy delicious meals while limiting waste.
  • food boxes: lunch box, bento box, thermos… Never leave on an empty stomach with your own snacks safely stored in a food container. Plastic or metal are the best eco-friendly travel materials.
  • Toiletries : Hotels often throw partially used shampoo bottles in the trash. Some beauty companies produce solid shampoos and conditioners that act like regular soap. Bonus? You’ll no longer have to worry about leaky packaging and carry-on liquid restrictions

2. Book a hotel or hostel with an accessible kitchen

Snacks and meals are one of the most difficult times for those who want to travel without waste. All over the world, plastic food packaging is unfortunately still a part of everyday life.

Hotels and hostels with kitchens are an environmentally friendly solution to reducing waste. You can cook directly with ingredients from the store or market. A responsible way to dispose of unnecessary packaging. Although this is not always practical, it is a good alternative for travelers who spend more than one or two nights in each destination.

3. Learn the local language

When you order, tell the staff that you don’t need a straw or towel. Show them the reusable items you have on hand. Try learning to say it in the local language in areas where English is not widely spoken.

4. Shop at the market

Local markets are the perfect place to find fresh produce without plastic packaging. Markets that offer ready meals often use locally sourced ingredients and are sold unpackaged. Equipped with your own shopping bag, bowl and cutlery, a visit to the market can become a zero-waste activity and a great moment of discovery!

Farmers markets are the best place to shop for zero-waste travel

5. Use eco-friendly apps and dedicated websites wisely

Le movement without waste is gaining momentum. And there are growing resources to help reduce single-use plastics. You can locate bulk stores, farmers markets, water bottling…

  • Refill my Bottle: An app created in Bali, but now exported worldwide. It allows you to find stores that offer water refill stations.
  • The Zero Waste app: essential! Indicates water bottlers, farmers markets, bulk stores. And thrift stores too!
  • ShareWaste: Puts travelers in touch with residents who have, for example, a composting site. Or a worm farm for organic waste.

Look for local donation and exchange groups on social media. A good option for finding or replacing used items that might otherwise be thrown away.

6. Sort the flights with the greenest options

At Skyscanner we also have several tools to help you travel sustainably and ecological. We’ve created an emissions calculator that identifies the greenest option for your trip. You can find it by selecting flights with a green leaf icon. You can also select our filter that only shows flights with lower CO2 emissions.

7. Be responsible: use what you already have

Whenever possible, try to use what you already have instead of buying new. Be responsible and borrow or rent items that can only be used once or twice during your vacation. Whether it’s evening wear, scuba gear, a bicycle or a luggage scale, you’d be surprised how many items are gathering dust and waiting to be used in a friend or family member’s garage.

8. Prioritize experiences over material memories

On your next trip, resist the urge to buy something for the sake of novelty. A camera and diary can capture more valuable memories than a trinket or memento. Your photos, your stories and notes in your diary will be your best allies to preserve good memories of your trip.

Zero waste travel means prioritizing experiences over things - like sailing

9. Pay attention to water and energy consumption

It is better to limit the consumption of water and energy on the road. Indeed, most countries in the world have not yet switched to renewable energy sources. Some tourist hotspots, such as Cape Town and Los Angeles, are vulnerable to drought. Help relieve energy pressure by turning off the faucet as soon as you’re done using it. Don’t forget to turn off the air conditioner when you leave your hotel room.

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