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30 Ways to Be a More Eco-Friendly Traveler in 2024

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Traveling is one of the greatest gifts in the world, but it can also make some negative impacts on the environment. That's why each of us is dedicated to becoming a more eco-friendly traveler in 2023!

It's the little things that make a difference, and each and every person out there can help reduce their carbon footprint to keep our planet beautiful. That way, we can keep enjoying the stunning places that Mother Nature has to offer.

After meeting travelers from all over the world, and learning small hacks here and there, we've finally decided to create his article, so that each and every person out there can learn and make  a difference. Here are 30 different ways to become a more eco-friendly traveler in 2024.

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The Best Ways to be a More Eco-Friendly Traveler in 2024: Transportation

One of the first steps of becoming a more eco-friendly traveler is to be conscious of your chosen mode of transportation. 

1. Choose Flights with Lower CO₂ Emissions

Flying is actually pretty harmful for the environment, so if you can avoid flying then it will definitely help the environment. However, we know that flying is obviously the solution for reaching further destinations! So how can we lower our carbon footprint?

flying, how to be a more eco-friendly traveler

Flying isn't very eco-friendly, but there is a way to lower your carbon footprint!

Well, there are scientists working to create more and more efficient and eco-friendly fuel! Certain airlines are starting to use these, so that they don't cause as much pollution as airplanes have been causing in the past.

We love the feature that Skyscanner has, which is a box you can click for "greener flights", which only shows flights with lower CO₂ emissions.

2. Take Trains Over Planes

One of the most eco-friendly and efficient ways to travel is by train. This is because trains can take a large amount of passenger, and use far less energy. Many even run on electricity rather than fuel! Especially in Europe, traveling by train is a great way to skip on flights, and be a more eco-friendly traveler. 

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3. Travel by Bus

While trains aren't accessible all over the world, another great way to cut down carbon emissions is by taking buses for long-distance travel. This is actually one of the options we tend to use a lot while traveling through South America.

Long distances usually have overnight buses, where you can have a reclining seat to have a full nights rest and wake up in your destination! This saves you both on time and money (you also won't have to pay for a hotel room).

4. Use Bla Bla Car

Another one of our favorite apps while traveling is Bla Bla Car. This connects travelers with people who are already traveling to a destination. By carpooling you actually eliminate an extra car from being on the road, and help pay for the gas of the person driving.

It's actually many times cheaper than buses, as well as much more comfortable. I've taken Bla Bla Car countless times, and actually made many friends along the way! We know- your mom probably told you that you shouldn't get in the car with strangers. But this is completely safe, and also allows you to leave reviews, and match with people that you are similar to. 

Bla Bla Car is an app that is popular through Europe, and continues to grow. We are hoping that it also makes its way to becoming more popular in the Americas!

bla bla car, how to be a more eco-friendly traveler

Carpooling is a great way to cut down CO2 emissions.

Becoming a More Eco-Friendly Traveler: Transportation Within Your Destination

Now that you know the different options to reduce your carbon footprint while getting to your destination, let's continue to choose smart transportation options! Here are a few great ways to get around without making a big impact on the environment.


5. Walk as Much as Possible

This is a triple plus- for your wallet, your health, and the environment. Our general rule is that when we want to go somewhere in a city and it's under a half hour away walking, we always walk. Even when places are further away (let's say 45 minutes), we'll plan to walk 20 minutes, stop for a cup of coffee or ice cream cone, and then continue to the next destination.

Other than saving money and staying fit, we also love this option as you can find hidden gems along the way that you wouldn't catch if you had taken a taxi for example.

We also love free walking tours, as this is a great way to support locals, explore new places, and learn from those that are experts of the history and hidden gems.

Green and red building in Barcelona
Balconies Santa Cruz de La Palma, how to be a more eco-friendly traveler
walking, how to be a more eco-friendly traveler

Walking is the best way to enjoy the hidden gems of cities.

6. Ride Bikes, Scooters, or Golf Carts

Some distances may be further in the city you're visiting than others, so walking may be a bit much. However, a great step to becoming a more eco-friendly traveler is by using transportation options that don't include fuel.

Bikes are all the rage in Amsterdam, and many cities around the world are starting to catch on. We've also seen the number of electric scooter rentals rising, and it was our favorite way to get around Rome when we visited. Scooters and bikes can normally be rented simply by downloading an app, and then paying a very affordable rate per minute or per kilometer/mile. They're fun, cheap, and a super sustainable way to explore new places.

We also love renting golf carts, as they are electric and are a fun way to get around! These are popular in islands or tropical destinations like Isla Mujeres, Costa Maya, or Vieques.

golf carts Isla Mujeres, how to be a more eco-friendly traveler

7. Take Public Transportation

If you really need to get to places quicker, or don't have access to bikes or scooters, then the next best option for being an eco-friendly traveler is by opting for public transportation.

We never really understand why people opt for taxis, especially in big cities! They are more expensive, and add to the traffic and pollution of cities. Often times they aren't even faster! For example, taking a taxi in NYC is one of the worst modes of transportation you can take.

Our personal favorite when it comes to public transportation is the metro/subway. It's less prone to delays/ traffic, is cheap, and much better for the environment. We also love trams, as they are electric, and are a fun way to see new cities like Lisbon (they are iconic there).

Subway New York, how to be a more eco-friendly traveler
subway in NYC

The subway is faster than grabbing an Uber or taxi in NYC.

8. If You Take Ubers Choose an Electric Car

We get it- sometimes there isn't great public transportation in places, and time is money. We also sparingly use Uber when needed. While we aren't always thrilled to choose them, we do love that they now have an eco-friendly option! You can now choose to go green by choosing electric cars or ones that emit lower Co2 emissions.

The Best Ways to be a More Eco-Friendly Traveler in 2024: Accommodation

Now that we've covered everything when it comes to transportation, it's time to become a more eco-friendly traveler in regards to accommodation. Surprisingly enough, the place you chose to stay can make a big difference how you are affecting the environment.

9. Avoid Large Hotel Chains

We're not going to lie, we actually despise large hotel chains. We have many reasons for feeling this way, but we are only going to focus on why they negatively affect the environment.

Large corporations are overall extremely wasteful. They tend to have giant buffets of food that they end up throwing out, individually packaged toiletries, endless plastic straws, and the list goes on.

resorts, Ways to Be a More Eco-Friendly Traveler in 2023

Big resorts may seem nice, but they are extremely wasteful. Opt for Boutique hotels instead!

Things like changing sheets and towels every day are extremely unnecessary, and are certainly not something you would do at home, so why do we expect this when we travel?

Small things like this add up, and large hotel chains aren't great at trying to better their environmental impact. There are so many amazing hotel options out there, so instead of late hotel chains look for small luxury hotels or boutique hotels if you want that level of comfort.

10. Stay in Hostels

If you're young or on a budget, hostels are a great way to save money, meet new people, and be a more eco-friendly traveler. When you share a room you are allowing businesses to run less electricity, and overall use less resources that negatively impact the environment.

Hostels may not be for everyone, but we personally love them, and highly recommend you to stay in one if you get the chance.

stay in a hostel, Ways to Be a More Eco-Friendly Traveler in 2023

Staying in hostels cuts down resources needed by the property.

11. Go to an Eco Resort 

These are a time a dozen, but are definitely becoming more popular! Eco Resorts are places that make a conscious effort to incorporate environmentally smart decisions to their business, and to work to sustain the environment around them.

Bambuda Lodge, Bocas del Toro, Bambuda Lodge Bocas del Toro, ways to be a more eco-friendly traveler
Bambuda Lodge Bocas del Toro, ways to be a more eco-friendly traveler

The first Eco-Resort that we stayed in was in Bocas del Toro, Panama. One of the things that made it unique was that all the water they used on the property was from rain water they collected, and they continued to recycle their water this way. This was actually like an adult playground on the water, and you'd never know that by spending so little you could have much fun and be an Eco-friendly Traveler along the way. 

Being a More Eco-Friendly Traveler During Your Stay

Now that you know which accommodation options are more Eco-friendly, let's see how you can do your part to be a more Eco-friendly traveler during your stay.

12. Turn the Lights Off After You Leave

When you're home you turn the lights before leaving the house right? Well, I've noticed so many times people just leaving the lights on because they're not the ones who have to foot the bill for the electricity. While you may have paid for your stay, no one wins from you keeping the lights on. On the contrary, if hotels have higher bills, they will continue to raise prices to cover these bills!

Ever wonder why some hotels make it so that you have to put your key in the slot next to the door in order for the electricity to work? Well, we honestly think this was a genius decision.

Another thing to add is that if you are leaving the room make sure to unplug all of your electronics. Chargers continue to use electricity even when nothing is plugged into them, and even though it's not a tons of energy, every little bit helps.

road to Zabljak Montenegro

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13. Save the Waves

When we used to work on cruise ships we were taught to "save the waves",which is actually Royal Caribbean's sustainability strategy.

The amount of water that people waste while on vacation is double or triple what they normally would waste than when home. Just like electricity, people are way less mindful when they aren' home, because they feel they've "paid for it". Hey, we're not against enjoying your hot shower, but if you want to be a more Eco-friendly traveler, then you can definitely help by doing your part.

Some ways you can save water during your stay:

- Turn off the water while brushing your teeth (you definitely don't need to run the water the whole time).

- Turn off the water between lathering while you shower. We've seen some hostels that actually have timed showers to save water.

- Turn off the water in between washing dishes (if you are staying at an Airbnb).

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14. Reuse Your Towels

A lot of times we tend to throw our towels on the sink or on the ground. This has become a sign that we want our towels changed, but truthfully we don't need our towels changed everyday! 

A lot of hotels and cruise lines now have implemented the service of changing towels only when needed. So hang your towel up, and save some water.

staying in a resort, ways to be a more eco-friendly traveler

Reusing your towels will allow the room attendants to save water on laundry.

15. Make Use of Your "Do Not Disturb" Sign

Cruise lines and many hotels will come daily to clean your room, change the towels, sheets, etc. However, saving the staff from doing these things can definitely help you become a more Eco-friendly traveler! So put that "Do Not Disturb" sign u every now and then, so that they don't have to clean things unnecessarily.

16. Reuse Coffee Grounds

Another one of my favorite tricks (this is also a beauty hack) is to use coffee grounds as an exfoliant. Whenever there is a coffee machine or Keurig I'll empty the grounds out and mix them with soap as a scrub. It's a great way to reuse the grounds that would normally take up room in the trash, and it leaves your skin super smooth!

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The Best Ways to be a More Eco-Friendly Traveler in 2024: Packing

Alright, so now you already know quite a few tips for becoming a more eco-friendly traveler! But some of our favorite tips to becoming more eco-friendly is actually done during the packing process.

17. Pack Lighter

Did you know that every lb/kg you add to your luggage makes the vehicle you're in less fuel-efficient? Whether you're flying, taking a bus, or driving, the amount of things you bring with you add weight, which means you'll need more fuel to get moving. So next time you're about to pack 10 pairs of shoes, think about how much more of an eco-friendly traveler you'll be by lightening your load. Not to mention it will be more comfortable and cost-effective!

Another thing that we like to do is to purchase items that are more sustainable while traveling, and we're going to share a few of our favorites.

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18. Bamboo Toothbrush/Case

Plastic toothbrushes are terrible for the environment, so bamboo toothbrushes have become a great replacement. We've found great travel-sized ones, perfect for saving space and the environment.

19. Laundry Detergent Sheets

This is one of our new favorite sustainable travel products, and is perfect for those long-term travelers.

It's inevitable that at some point you'll have to do laundry on your trip. While we used to buy pods, we've now found these amazing laundry detergent sheets. The sheets are light, eco-friendly, and super easy to travel with, making cleaning your clothes that much more refreshing.

20. Metal or Bamboo Straw

One of the top uses of plastic in hotels and restaurants are plastic straws. While we understand ditching a straw isn't the most ideal, we do love the idea of having a replacement, and sorry- bu those paper straws are just the worst.

Purchase a metal or bamboo straw and carry it with you. Many even come with a portable pouch, so that you don't have to worry about it getting dirty in your bag.

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21. Travel Cutlery

Having travel cutlery has been a game changer when it comes to any on-the-go food choices. Whether it's a yogurt, soup, or full to-go meal, this has been super helpful for allowing us to eat while on the move. This is also a great way to be a more eco-friendly traveler, as you won't need to use the prepackaged plastic utensils they normally give you for take out.

22. Reusable Water Bottle

Getting a reusable water is an absolute sustainable travel necessity. Skip buying a million plastic water bottles, and refill your own. This will save you a ton of money, as well as be so much better for the environment. We either fill ours up at free fountains in cities, from the tap, or buy large jugs of water from the supermarket and refill the bottle from that.

One of our favorite reusable water bottles is the Cafago vacuum-sealed water bottle, as it keeps both hot and cold liquids at the same temperature for hours on end.

23. Steripen

Water may not be potable everywhere you go, so this is a great item to have on you. Steripens sterilize water so that it can be safe to drink from pretty much anywhere. We particularly love using this when we are in the outdoors, to stay safely hydrated during our adventures.

The Best Ways to be a More Eco-Friendly Traveler in 2024: Shopping

Now that you're ready to do your shopping before your trip, let's go over shopping while traveling! Believe it or not, there are a lot of ways that shopping can impact the planet, so it's important that we make sustainable choices while doing so.

24. Invest in a Reusable Shopping Bag

Whether you're going to the supermarket, mall, or getting souvenirs, chances are you'll end up getting a bunch of plastic bags. Skipping the plastic bags and getting your own recyclable one won't cost you much, but will definitely help you become a more eco-friendly traveler!

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25. Buy Your Produce from Markets

One of our favorite ways to get local experiences from places we travel is to go to the markets in town. Markets are a great way to support local farmers, and cut down the costs of mass production that is found in super markets. The food is much fresher, tastier, and often times even cheaper! So skip those super markets and check to see if there are farmer's markets or other local markets where you are visiting.

shopping at markets, ways to be a more eco-friendly traveler

It's always better to buy fresh produce from local markets.

26. Shop at Boutiques

Did you know that one of the biggest contributors to pollution are fashion companies? While companies like H&M, Forever 21, and Zara may seem appealing due to their affordable prices, these are absolutely the worst places to purchase from.

Not only are the products cheap quality, but they contribute to big factories, sweat shops, and overall terrible pollution and working conditions. Also, who wants to buy the same clothes as everyone else around the world?

Stop shopping big brands and start shopping at local boutiques. You'll find unique styles and higher quality, while supporting small businesses. It's a win-win!

shopping at boutique shops, ways to be a more eco-friendly traveler
souvenirs in Paraty, shopping at boutique shops, ways to be a more eco-friendly traveler
shopping at boutique shops, ways to be a more eco-friendly traveler

Boutique shops are the best places to shop while traveling.

27. Check Out Vintage Shops

When we were in Bulgaria last summer we stumbled upon a wine festival where we met a ton of locals, and ended up bar hopping with them.

One of the places we went was also a coffee shop/vintage clothing shop. It had racks of clothes outside. Nothing was the same, but there were a ton of beautiful pieces, and more extremely cheap! I ended up speaking with the girl working there, and she shared the entire concept with me.

This girl wanted to help bee farmers in the area, so she started the space to buy clothes from people that wanted to get rid of some of theirs. The pieces were in great shape, clean, and resold for an affordable price, and then a part of the profits went towards helping the bee farmers.

being a more eco-friendly traveler

This dress was just $5 at a vintage shop that we went to.

Not only was her goal so admirable, but it is an amazing concept that allows us to waste much less. Check the photo to see this beautiful white dress that I bought for just $5! You can find plenty of vintage shops like this in big cities, so just check online, or speak to locals to find one.

28. Buy Souvenirs from Local Artists

Souvenirs play a huge part in tourism, and an even bigger one on the environment. If you're in a big city, chances are you'll find a ton of souvenir shops lined up right in the center, or people on the streets selling little knick knacks like magnets or toys. 

While we totally support getting souvenirs, it's important to know where you're purchasing from! Many souvenirs are all the same because they come from China. They are cheaply made, and are therefore not great for the environment.

Home made souvenirs, how to be a more eco-friendly traveler

These home made souvenirs are all made out of recycled materials and are super unique.

Rather than purchasing from big shops, you can opt for handmade crafts, local sauces/spices, or art. These will be much more meaningful things to take back with you, and you'll also be helping support locals who deserve the money much more. In Addition, many locals tend to use recycled materials to create their products!

Spice Market in Marrakech
local markets, ways to be a more eco-friendly traveler
Market Zlatibor Serbia,  Albania, ways to be a more eco-friendly traveler

The Best Ways to be a More Eco-Friendly Traveler in 2024: Final Tips

You're already such a more eco-friendly traveler! Now here are our last couple of tips for you.

29. Travel in the Off Season

Did you know that 82% of people typically take their vacations in the summer? Well, everyone traveling at the same time is not ideal, especially for the environment. Why though? The reason is because when mass amounts of people visit the same place at the same time, it has a much larger impact than the same amount of people traveling sporadically through the year.

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The environment isn't equipped for so many people going to the same place at the same time, and 2020 was a great example of this. When all of the cruises visit Venice in summer, the canals take a big hit, wildlife disappears, and there is large-scale environmental degradation. But when ships stopped visiting, the canals regained their blue color, and they even started to see dolphins again!

We do travel in the summer, but instead of going to overcrowded areas like Italy or Greece, this is the time of year that we choose to explore hidden gems and more off-the-beaten-path destinations like Albania, the Canary Islands, or Romania.

Albania, ways to be a more eco-friendly traveler
Albania, ways to be a more eco-friendly traveler
Albania, ways to be a more eco-friendly traveler

Albania has beautiful beaches like Croatia, but is much less crowded.

30. Choose Eco Friendly Places to Travel

There are around 200 countries in this world, and so many amazing places to explore! Rather than going to big cities, a great way to become an eco-friendly traveler is to visit places that specialize in eco-tourism, or that are are out in nature.

Some great eco-friendly places to visit are Iceland, Norway, and any places where the highlights are surrounded by nature. Visit national parks, and remember to Leave No Trace while exploring.

iceland, ways to be a more eco-friendly traveler

Iceland is a super eco-friendly place to visit.

Do you have any other eco-friendly travel tips to share with us? We'd love to hear them! Leave them in the comments down below so that we can all become more eco-friendly travelers.

Want to explore some off-the-beaten path destinations? Make sure to take a look at some of our Balkan travel guides, for some travel inspo.

Ready to start planning a trip? Let us help! Now with our travel planning services we can help find the perfect trip for you, and help you save money along the way. Unlike traditional travel agencies, we work on a small fixed rate, and make up the charge with all the money that we save you, so it's a win-win!

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