6 ways to go green while traveling

green travelling

Traveling and travelers, in general, have been subject to a whole lot of backlash recently when it comes to moving around the globe. 

After all, those air miles come at a cost, right? Although I admit that I do use plane travel quite regular, I also recognize that it’s pretty important to look after the environment. 

I’ve picked up a few tips over the years that help me to still do the traveling that I love, all while watching my CO2 emissions and doing my bit to look after planet earth. 

All of my tips are pretty easy to implement in your own traveling routine, so there’s no excuse for being more environmentally friendly while you see the world.

Here are six ways you can go green when traveling:

Buy a reusable water bottle

Plastic bottles are a huge polluter. 38 million of them go to landfill every year alone, with just 20% actually ending up being recycled.

For this reason, I decided to buy a reusable water bottle. The places I travel all have varying climates, so I decided to go for a bottle that not only keeps my water cold but keeps my tea hot, too. My Kool8 water bottle keeps hot drinks hot for 12 hours, and cold drinks cold for 24.

It’s also fully reusable and long-lasting as it is made out of stainless steel.

Don’t be fooled, though, despite the bottle’s sturdy make, it is also super light and easy to carry around in my rucksack. 

You can also buy travel-size reusable shampoo, shower gel and conditioner bottles to decanter your toiletries into which are also handy, especially when most airlines have a carry-on liquid limit. Kool8 was also named one of the best water bottles for hiking in 2019

Utilize carbon offsetting

Air travel is much worse for the environment than you probably think. Planes are near enough comparable to cars in fuel consumption per passenger mile, meaning that although your plane journey may have been much, much quicker than taking the car, it will have burnt a whole lot of fuel in a very short time frame.

There’s not much that can be done about this consumption, but a whole host of air travel companies are now making up for their emissions by attempting to go ‘carbon neutral’.

Whenever I book a flight, I am now given the chance to ‘carbon offset’ my air miles by giving a donation to plant trees that effectively make up for my traveling. 

Sure, it’s not going to solve the earth’s ever-growing global warming problem, but it is better than nothing.

You can even calculate your carbon offset for your entire trip using Sustainable Travel’s calculator.

Choose a green hotel

Choosing an environmentally friendly hotel once you’ve offset your carbon flight emissions is the best way to keep your green streak going after landing.

I always check for LEED certified hotels. These are guaranteed to use renewable energy, recycle consistently, use environmentally friendly cleaning products and offer options for guests to go green, such as by not washing bed sheets and towels daily. 

Other certification programs include Green Key Global, Green Globe International, Green Seal, and EcoRooms and EcoSuites. 

However, often the best way to go green is to stay in smaller hotels and bed and breakfasts, which also directly boost the economy in the local area you’re staying in. 

Use a protein coffee blend

I used to always buy a Starbucks protein coffee whenever I headed to the airport until I realized the sheer amount of pollution I was creating just by using a one-use cup. 2.5 billion coffee cups are used once and thrown away in the UK each year, while just 1 in 400 is recycled.

I knew that I was contributing to this waste, and so decided to buy my own protein coffee blend to make up at home before heading to the airport.

This way I can put my Kool8 water bottle to good use, too. 

I personally LOVE Complete Nutrition’s Maine Roast, which is not only delicious but provides a fantastic caffeine and protein boost. 

When I’m heading onto flights there usually isn’t much opportunity to buy a healthy meal that isn’t made up completely of carbs, so knowing my protein coffee is making up for that is great.

There’s actually a whole host of benefits to drinking protein coffee, alongside reducing the number of coffee cups used and thrown away daily. 

Go digital

Most airlines will now allow you to make small changes, which, if the whole plane of passengers implemented, could make a big difference.

Try loading your boarding pass on your smartphone using your airline’s app instead of printing it out, for example, and avoid making copies of paperwork.
Sure, you need to make sure you have a backup of everything, but you can do this digitally. Rather than using more paper and ink to make copies of your insurance, passport and other ID, take photos of them on your smartphone.

Another great tip I’ve picked up is to always download maps for the area you’re visiting on WiFi before you travel. You can do this by using Google Maps.

This way you’re not only prepared in case there’s no internet signal at your destination, but you’re also saving paper by not buying physical maps.

Eat local

Local food doesn’t have to travel as far to reach your plate, which means simply by eating at restaurants that use local produce, you’re reducing greenhouse emissions significantly. Chain restaurants tend to import food that may have traveled by truck, plane, and boat before it reaches your plate, so not only has it racked up a lot of miles, but it will also probably be full of preservatives.

Ideally, search for eateries that use organic and FairTrade foods, too. It’s much better for the environment and will be a whole lot tastier and fresher.

You may find that you have to do a bit of homework before heading out to eat, so make sure you’ve decided on a place in advance of when you’re getting hungry!

Clay Miller
the authorClay Miller
I am the creator/writer of and I'm an advocate for oceans, beaches, state parks. I enjoy all things outdoors (e.g. running, golf, gardening, hiking, etc.) I am a graduate of the University of Kentucky (Go Wildcats!!). I'm also a huge fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I was born and raised in the beautiful state of Kentucky.

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