7 Sustainable Travel Tips [How to Be Responsible while Traveling]

sustainable travel tips

Do you want to know how to take care of the Planet and be a responsible traveler? In this post you have 7 Sustainable Travel Tips that will help you on your next trip.

sustainable traveler

First of all, I want you to read these questions mindfully:

Did you know that there is a garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean the size of France?

Did you know that hundreds of animals die every day due to the indirect abusive of tourists? And that if you use sunscreen when you go snorkeling, that can kill the marine turtles?

Did you know that the local population can benefit from your stay in their country? And that can you help children to have a better future?

You can make a difference with small responsible changes in your travels, and stop the negative impacts of mass tourism.

If you’re worried about everything you’ve read and want have a positive impact in your next trip, then keep reading. In this post about sustainable travel, I will tell you my advice to take care of our Planet and how you can help with 7 simple actions.

You can make a difference

In short, how to be responsible while traveling. Remember, we all live in this world and we have to take care of it so that we have a planet to live in the future.

7 Sustainable travel tips to be a responsible traveler

  1. Do not participate in animal abuse

How many times have you seen on TV, Facebook YouTube tourists riding an elephant, touching a dolphin, taking photos with tigers or catching starfish?

responsible tourism

I know we all love animals, and we love to get close to them, touch them and take pictures with them.

When we see photos of a friend who has gone to Thailand and taken a picture with a baby elephant or a baby tiger, the first thing you think is “Oh, what a cutie”. But we have to be aware of all the suffering behind these activities and excursions.

This is what is happening behind every time someone rides an elephant:

If, like me, this video made you cry, look for responsible tours that don’t involve animal abuse before your trip. Visit a sanctuary, instead of a zoo, you will make a difference.

Keep in mind that if you do any of the activities that involve animal abuse, you’re financing these companies and you’re responsible for the suffering of these animals.

  1. Contribute to the local economy

When you’re planning your trip, think about how you can help the population of the country where you are going to travel.

Many times we book a room in a well known hotel or an international brand, because we’re afraid to stay in a hotel that we have no references.

But nowadays, it’s very easy to know what the hotel is like thanks to the reviews that hundreds of travelers leave on websites like Tripadvisor or Booking.

Choose a local accommodation or an international chain in which 90% of their employees are local. It’s a very effective way to help the country and its people, instead of giving money to the government or multinational companies. Think that not only helps a person, but a family and the entire community.

responsible holidays

Besides creating a more authentic travel experience for yourself, you are also helping someone create a better life for themselves.

Another way to contribute to the local economy is to eat in local restaurants, where you will taste typical and traditional food, and you will learn about the gastronomic culture of the country.

If you prefer to cook your own food, buy the ingredients in the local markets, where in addition to helping people, you will taste fresh fruits and vegetables. Do you need more?

sustainable holidays

Finally, hire local guides. If you want a guide to accompany you during the trip or one day so you can get to know the history or the details of a monument or some area of the country, I recommend that you hire a local guide. This will also have a positive impact on the economy of the community.

  1. Minimize your Waste and Lower your Footprint

You can’t imagine the negative impact of tourism on those paradisiacal islands that we love so much. Countries like Fiji, Maldives, Thailand or Indonesia have a serious problem with waste, and there are beaches and small islands that are full of garbage.

zero waste

Where does that garbage come from? Of all the waste that we throw away and ends up in the sea: cans, bottles, bags, plastics…

These waste not only travel thousands of kilometers to reach the most incredible places on the Planet, but many are taking the life of turtles, dolphins, whales and fish.

Do you remember the garbage island that I mentioned at the beginning of the post? Well, this island is in the middle of the Pacific, and scientists estimate that it has an approximate area of 1,400,000 square kilometers.

In the A Plastic Ocean documentary, you can learn more about the negative impact of the waste that we throw away every day:

To take care of our Ocean and reduce the environmental impact of our trips, it’s important to reduce plastic waste. Some of the easiest ways to do it are the following:

  • Bring a reusable bottle while traveling, so you don’t have to buy plastic bottles every day.
  • Pack a large cloth bag in your suitcase, and when you go shopping, don’t ask for plastic bags.
  • Never throw trash on the floor. Look for garbage cans, and if you don’t see any in the area, keep the waste in your backpack or purse and throw it away when you return to your accommodation.

responsible travel

If you want to know more about reducing plastic waste, I recommend reading the Going Zero Waste website.

  1. Be responsible with the locals

Many times we think that when we travel we do everything right. But we don’t.

I have made many mistakes in my trips in the past, and over the years I’ve been learning how to improve my way of traveling and being responsible to the local population.

What do I mean by this?


Respect the customs and traditions of the country

There’s nothing more enriching than learning about the culture of a new country, how they live, what they eat, their traditions.

But maybe that culture is totally different than yours. We travel to learn, with an open mind, so it’s important that we respect those different cultures and inform ourselves before traveling because we can’t be disrespectful.

Sustainable Travel Tip

Do not encourage child abuse

Surely in some of your trips you have found children asking for money. Don’t encourage children to be beggars, since most of the time mafias are exploiting them, instead of going to school, spend the whole day asking for money or selling things to tourists.

I know it breaks your heart to see them like that, but if you give them money, you’re only promoting child abuse.

green travel

Support community projects

In many local hotels you can get involved in projects that help the community, visit them, and help as much as you can. It’s one of the most direct ways to help the locals, and there’s nothing better than a volunteer trip.

  1. Waste less water and electricity on your trips

I ‘ve mentioned before that it’s best to travel with reusable bottles to minimize plastic waste. As well as we try to save resources in at home, we must do it while traveling.


Saving water and electricity whenever we can.

7 Sustainable Travel Tips

Always turn off the lights and air conditioning in your hotel room before leaving. Think that if it’s a local accommodation, the less money you waste in electricity, the more money locals will have for their community.

Waste less water each time you shower, wash your hands or pull the chain. Do you know in a 10-minute shower we spend 200 liters of water, and each time you pull the chain, you spend up to 20 liters?

If you think we drink about two liters of water a day, imagine all the water we waste. So keep that in mind this the next time you open the tap when you’re traveling. Remember there are many ways to save water.

  1. Food on your trips is more important than you think

This topic is quite controversial and whenever someone mentions it, a great debate opens up; but I can’t write about sustainable travel tips and how to take care of the planet without mentioning it.

what is sustainable travel

how to be responsible while traveling

There are many studies that shows consuming animal products is destroying the environment and our health. Every time we eat meat, for example, we don’t realize all the negative impact it has.

I don’t speak only about animal suffering, but about the environmental impact of raising and feeding industrially cows, pigs or other animals. Did you know that cows emit methane gas that is harmful to the planet?

If you want to learn more about this, there is a lot of reliable information on the Internet. I recommend you watch the documentary Cowspiracy. It impacted me a lot and helped me understand many things I didn’t know:

In many destinations there’s a vegetarian and vegan culture that has been spreading for years, and you can also find hundreds of delicious dishes without animal products around the world.

If you want to search for vegan restaurants in any destination, I recommend you check the Happy Cow website, or download their free App.

  1. When you return from the trip, share it

There’s nothing more important than raising awareness about the negative impact of tourism and how to be a responsible traveler.

sustainable tourism

how to travel sustainably

Therefore, the best thing to do when you return from your trip is to tell everything you’ve seen to your family and friends, and help them understand how important sustainable tourism is.

I am aware that sometimes it’s difficult to know how to act to be a responsible traveler, and I have done things in past trips that I don’t feel proud of. But now, with all the information we have about sustainable travel and the impact of tourism in the countries we travel to, there’s no excuse for not traveling in a responsible and sustainable way.

And you, do you do any of these things to take care of the environment when you travel?

I open the debate; I would love to know your opinion on these. Please leave a comment at the end of the post!

Sara Rodríguez

A passionate traveler with a mission: Help you plan your next trip easily and enjoy it to the fullest.

In this travel blog you will find everything you need to get inspired and organize your next adventure. Read more about my story here.

One response to “7 Sustainable Travel Tips [How to Be Responsible while Traveling]”

  1. Ryan Biddulph says:

    So much of responsible travel is about mindfulness Sara. I try to remember that as a tourist I need to travel mindfully, being aware of how I affect locals and the environment. Respecting local cultures goes a long way in fostering mutually beneficial relationships between tourists and local folks because if each side trusts each other; both sides open up to feedback.


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