5 Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint while Traveling

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As more and savvier travelers express concern over their potential carbon footprint, vacation providers are offering more eco-friendly options than ever. While posh, luxurious environment-minded spas maybe a green option, this style of travel may not always be possible for those on a budget! However, we don’t think that you necessarily need to spend tons of cash in order to take it easy on the environment – reducing your carbon footprint is a possibility for everyone.

You can make a difference, no matter how small it seems. Even if your travel forecast plan only involves cheap holidays for the foreseeable future, don’t worry – there are plenty of ways to reduce your carbon footprint while traveling. Here are our top five favorites!

Hanoi Vietnam Old Quarter

1. Get off the tour bus and onto the street!

Free walking tours are a fantastic way to see the best that a city has to offer without contributing to idling tour buses or overpriced private coach tours. Passionate guides in nearly every tourist-visited city in the world offer “free tours” that allow you to decide at the end how much – if anything – the tour was worth to you. As part of your cheap holidays, you’ll be strolling a city in style, burning calories, and best of all – keeping your carbon footprint nice and low.

2. Book some time at an eco-hotel

Eco-minded hotels are popping up around the globe, motivated by a desire to operate with the fewest resources possible and blend into the natural surroundings in a seamless way. Eco hotels are a great way to support small businesses and to show the larger hotel chains that there is profit in environmental stewardship.

3. Reuse your towels and ask that your sheets not be changed

In a drive to show cleanliness and customer care, larger hotels will automatically change your sheets and towels each and every day, contributing to a huge waste of water and the usage of alarming amounts of harsh detergents. Talk to the front desk staff to request that your sheets and towels only be changed when you ask for them to be cleaned.

Stellenbosch Wine Tour South Africa
Check out the reusable water bottle on my bike!

4. Pack a reusable coffee cup and water bottle

Most coffee and tea shops will have no problem pouring your takeaway bevvie into a travel mug, and many water fountains now come equipped with water bottle filling attachments. This small step will not only save disposable cups and plastic water bottles from the landfill, it will help contribute to your travel savings, meaning more cheap holidays in your future!

5. Purchase carbon credits

There is no denying that the pollutants generated by commercial airplanes can be hard on the environment. If you are concerned that your flights are polluting the fragile ozone layer and hastening global warming, you can now do something to prevent this from happening. Purchasing a carbon credit for the amount of miles that you flew on your flight can help to offset the emissions by planting a set amount of trees each year.

You can ensure that your travels don’t end up harming the Earth with just a couple of careful changes. That way, other travelers can continue to enjoy some of the world’s great destinations long after you’ve gone home.

What do you do to prevent your carbon footprint when traveling?

Travel Insurance: We use for Allianz for travel insurance and have since our first trip to Mexico in 2003. They’ve been there for us on our adventures – and many friends and readers – multiple times over! If you want to book with Allianz Travel Insurance, simply use this link to get their travel insurance!


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About Lina Stock

Lina is an award-winning photographer and writer that has been exploring the world since 2001. She has traveled to 100 countries on all 7 continents. Member: SATW, NATJA, ATTA, ITWA

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4 thoughts on “5 Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint while Traveling”

  1. We’re caravan touring so do have diesel for the car instead of air travel, but we try to make sure we stay at each campsite for a couple of weeks at least and walk or bicycle as much as possible when exploring locally. We both feel better for the days of exercise as well saving on pollutants and cash!
    I would love to be able to power our ‘van with solar and pedal power too although my OH isn’t so keen! Does anyone know a place to buy a cheapish bicycle generator kit that isn’t too heavy? I’ve already got the bike!

  2. Great tips! We do a lot of these ourselves traveling or not and find them to be not just good for the environment but good for our wallets, too. Some of our other favorite footprint-minimizing activities are to use reusable bags and food containers, looking for food and products with minimal packaging (preferably none at all), and shopping only at local stores where the products are made or grown there or nearby. Thanks for sharing this list 🙂

    • There are so many easy ways to reduce your footprint when traveling, much more than just in this article. Glad you enjoyed it.

  3. Great tips! I’ve never stayed at an eco-hotel, simply because I very rarely stay in hotels – I tend to go for homestays or apartments / AirBnB rooms…..but walking, reusing water bottles, & reusing towels & sheets wherever I’m staying are all second nature now. And I think it’s a great idea to purchase carbon offsetting. Some airlines actually offer this option when you book your ticket, which is helpful! Thanks for a great article :).


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