Sustainable Travel Tips for Eco Journeys

How to be a More Sustainable Traveler: Ideas to Make Your Journey Greener

Flying less and staying closer to home are still the greenest ways to travel. However, for those that wish to explore further afield, a few eco-conscious adjustments to your travel plans can minimize your footprint and deepen your relationship with the planet. We share our tips for sustainable travel below. If you are specifically looking for tips on sustainable travel for families, scroll down for more ideas.

Where to Go

Without the need for flights and accommodation, the day trip remains a very green travel choice. Local cities and towns can be a great way to rediscover national history and culture. Even a short trip by train or car to the forest or coast is a refreshing way to take a break.

If your heart is set on international travel, choose a destination that is committed to sustainability. Reaching out to local tourist boards or a quick internet search will return a list of the greenest cities and countries to visit. How each measures sustainability will differ, so take some time to determine which aspects of their sustainability policies resonate most with you. Some measure good air quality while others focus on high walkability scores and the number of local farmers’ markets.

Choosing lesser-known destinations or traveling off-season is another way to travel consciously. You can also look at incorporating eco-volunteering into your travel agenda. Many organizations have programs that help protect and preserve natural environments with the collaboration of visitors to the area.

Sustainable travel is not only about lowering your carbon footprint; it’s about caring and supporting local communities too. Locals have a big incentive to preserve their communities. One of the most direct ways you can positively impact the people and places you visit is with your money. Find accommodation, tour operators and guides that maintain sustainable standards regarding workers’ rights, inclusivity and impact on local communities. Spending money on local businesses ensures that more money remains in the hands of those living in your destination.

Backpacks for Day Trips

  • Altmont Active Lightweight Expandable Backpack
  • Altmont Active Lightweight Expandable Backpack
  • Altmont Active Lightweight Expandable Backpack

Altmont Active Lightweight Expandable Backpack

Dark Teal, 25 l
  • Altmont Original Standard Backpack
  • Altmont Original Standard Backpack
  • Altmont Original Standard Backpack

Altmont Original Standard Backpack

black, 25 l
  • Altmont Active Lightweight Captop Backpack
  • Altmont Active Lightweight Captop Backpack

Altmont Active Lightweight Captop Backpack

red, 26 l
  • Altmont Original Standard Backpack
  • Altmont Original Standard Backpack
  • Altmont Original Standard Backpack

Altmont Original Standard Backpack

blue, 25 l
  • VX Sport EVO Daypack
  • VX Sport EVO Daypack
  • VX Sport EVO Daypack

VX Sport EVO Daypack

red, 32 l
  • VX Sport EVO Compact Backpack
  • VX Sport EVO Compact Backpack
  • VX Sport EVO Compact Backpack

VX Sport EVO Compact Backpack

red, 20 l

Where to Stay

Many accommodation services have integrated environmental and social responsibility into their business models. Some established venues have taken the route of obtaining eco-certification. However, it’s not to say that locally-run accommodation such as homestays and farm stays aren’t eco-worthy too.

There are also accommodation search services that plant trees for every booking made or donate a portion of profits to social and sustainability projects in local areas.

Tiny houses, log cabins and tents are eco by nature and have less environmental impact. House swapping is another low-cost option that leaves a lighter footprint.

Travel Gear for International Adventures

  • Werks Traveler 6.0 Softside Medium Case
  • Werks Traveler 6.0 Softside Medium Case

Werks Traveler 6.0 Softside Medium Case

blue, 75 l
Awarded
  • Lexicon Hardside Large
  • Lexicon Hardside Large

Lexicon Hardside Large

titanium, 105 l
  • Lexicon Hardside Medium
  • Lexicon Hardside Medium

Lexicon Hardside Medium

black, 73 l

How to Get There

The most sustainable means of traveling will depend on several variables. It is safe to say that train travel has a lower carbon footprint than traveling by plane or car. The most polluting form of transport is the short-haul flight because fuel consumption is the highest during take-off and landing.

​​​​​​​ It’s fair to conclude that any travel less than 500km should first be considered by train or car. Several useful sites will help you calculate and compare emission and energy consumption per journey by air, train and car.

Great Gear for Train Travel

  • Altmont Professional Wheeled Laptop Backpack

Altmont Professional Wheeled Laptop Backpack

black, 20 l
Awarded
  • Airox Global Hardside Carry-on
  • Airox Global Hardside Carry-on
  • Airox Global Hardside Carry-on

Airox Global Hardside Carry-on

Dark Blue, 33 l

What to Pack

Packing consciously might seem like a small contribution to sustainable travel, but even small choices can have a big impact.

Chemical-free sunscreens and skincare are worth considering after Hawaii banned sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate in 2018. Scientists found that these chemicals increase the rate of coral bleaching and are detrimental to coral growth.

To reduce single-use plastic when on the road, travel with reusable water bottles, coffee cups, snack containers and cutlery. There are also many exciting eco-friendly alternatives to wasteful travel-sized toiletries. Try swapping shower gel for soap and bottled shampoo for shampoo bars.  Discover deodorants that come in creams or toothbrushes made from biodegradable materials.

To finalize your packing, you will need something functional and stylish to hold all these items. Lightweight gear will make travel easy and enjoyable, while quality construction will ensure longevity. Durable, after all, is sustainable.

Lightweight Companions for Green Travel

  • Airox Medium Hardside Case
  • Airox Medium Hardside Case
  • Airox Medium Hardside Case

Airox Medium Hardside Case

Light Blue, 74 l
  • Airox Medium Hardside Case
  • Airox Medium Hardside Case
  • Airox Medium Hardside Case

Airox Medium Hardside Case

Dark Blue, 74 l
  • Airox Medium Hardside Case
  • Airox Medium Hardside Case
  • Airox Medium Hardside Case

Airox Medium Hardside Case

orange, 74 l
  • Altmont Active Lightweight Compact Backpack
  • Altmont Active Lightweight Compact Backpack

Altmont Active Lightweight Compact Backpack

black, 18 l

Tips on Sustainable Travel for Families

Many parents view traveling sustainably a crucial part of teaching the next generation about the importance of protecting our planet. The ToptoTop expedition are a huge source of inspiration for us and we are one of their official sponsors as they travel across the planet, educating everyone they meet about climate change.

The family consists of Dario, a climatologist, and Sabine, a nurse, along with their six children. With their eldest daughter, Salina, already an accomplished public speaker, the children are just as powerful ambassadors for sustainable living as their parents. As Dario and Sabine point out: “We have found that our message is much more effective when our children talk to their peers”. Their own experiences were at the forefront of their minds as this well-traveled and adventurous family sat down together to share with us their tips for sustainable travel.

Take Your Time

“It’s crucial that you adapt yourself to the rhythm of nature” says Dario, “If you have only a limited amount of time, you might rush your plans. Maybe you’ll disregard an avalanche warning with hazardous consequences”. Dario recalls the time the family sailed across the Atlantic ocean, where they were often accompanied by whales or dolphins, to the delight of the children. “If you flew over this ocean, as most people do, you would totally miss out on this magical experience” points out Dario. Although not everyone has the luxury of time, you can still apply this mentality to your two week holiday.

Never Too Young To Learn

Whether experiencing your own country or traveling abroad, it’s never too young to learn an appreciation for nature.  As Dario says, “Kids who swim in rivers or lakes in Switzerland will grow up to be adults who fight passionately to protect these rivers and lakes”. Dario hopes that the global work of the ToptoTop expedition will have the same effect: “The seals on Robinson Crusoe Island in Chile are often hunted by fishermen. We took a group of local schoolchildren swimming with the seals and it was an amazing experience for everyone, I am pretty sure that these children will not grow up to be fishermen who hunt and kill these beautiful animals”.

Less Is More

Equally good for you is traveling light, according to Dario. “We once cycled for a week between settlements in Australia, with two small children. This experience taught us how to reduce what we took with us down to the absolute minimum, so we could carry all the water that we needed”. The family believes traveling with only minimal possessions adds a certain lightness not just to your luggage but also to your soul. “We learned that the less we took, the less we needed to worry about what we had forgotten”. Do the kids ever get bored with the few toys they are allowed to take on the boat? “Absolutely not!” laughs Dario. “The fewer toys they have, the more creative and curious they become. Nature is after all the best teacher”.

Combine Travel with a Mission

Although not everyone wants to dedicate their holidays to a volunteering project, it is still possible to have a positive impact on your destination when you travel: “Whether you are on a tropical beach or a mountain hike, take a bag with you and pick up any litter you find on the way”. Dario affirms that this simple and effective way of helping is something that he and his family love to do. “Nature is so generous, she gives us so much – from stunning scenery to peaceful moments” says Dario. “When you pick up litter, it’s like you are giving something back to nature”.

Share Experiences with Others

For the Schwörers, respecting nature and respecting the people you meet go hand in hand. It’s all part of their philosophy of traveling slowly: “When you don’t rush, you have more time to meet people, to make a connection and to learn from others” says Dario. “This can only improve your experience and most importantly expand your knowledge, helping you to learn the importance of protecting our planet”.

Family-Friendly Travel Gear

  • VX Sport EVO Deluxe Backpack
  • VX Sport EVO Deluxe Backpack
  • VX Sport EVO Deluxe Backpack

VX Sport EVO Deluxe Backpack

red, 28 l
Climate Expedition
Tips from Kids
Sustainable Travel
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