Intrepid Travel share their top 10 practical tips for environmentally friendly travel.

Travel overland, see some of the countryside and cut your carbon footprint Photo © Philipp Kämmerer

It's one thing to want to be more eco-friendly, but sometimes hard to put that into action.  Eliza Anderson of Intrepid Travel has put together these top 10 practical tips for environmentally friendly travel. 

1. Don't Bag It

You want memories of your holiday to last for years but 500 years is way too long. Plastic bags can take up to 500 years to biodegrade so take a re-useable shopping bag with you when you go to local markets.

2. Pack Light

Every kilo counts when flying. The more a plane weighs, the more carbon emissions it produces. Pack only what you need - the environment will thank you.

3. Share the Load

Taking public transport is one of the best things you can do for the environment when traveling. It means you're not creating any additional carbon emissions from private transport. It will also add to your travel experience, providing you with opportunities to interact with locals.

4. Travel Overland

Cut out just one five-hour flight and your carbon footprint will be a tonne lighter. And you'll get to see more of the countryside too!

5. Enjoy a Near Beer

Drink a locally brewed beer and not only will you probably enjoy a high quality ale, but your drink can be low-carbon by cutting down on 'beer mileage'. This applies to eating local produce too. Let your taste buds be adventurous - it's carbon friendly!

6. Be at Home in a Hotel

A great tip is to remember to act in a hotel like you would at home - avoid getting clean towels when not necessary, don't have long showers and something frequently forgotten is to turn off TV, lights and aircon when you leave the room.

7. Choose a Carbon Offset Adventure

Not all carbon emissions can be avoided whilst traveling. Intrepid Travel has a range of adventures that it has calculated the carbon emissions from, reduced wherever possible and offset what remains. The emissions from transport, accommodation, activities and waste have been accounted for and the cost of offsetting is included in the cost of the trip.

8. Avoid Bottled Water

Plastic bottles account for a lot of waste. Intrepid Travel has worked with hotels in Asia to install water filters that travellers can use to fill re-useable bottles with safe water.

9. Stick to the Path

When hiking, always stay on marked trails and maintain a safe distance from any animals you encounter. Going off the beaten path could mean you trample on protected or endangered plants.

10. Power in Numbers

Smaller groups tend to have less of an environmental impact so travel with a small group tour operator that's environmentally responsible. Before you book, ask what size the group will be. While you've got their attention, why not also ask how the operator gives back to the community you'll be visiting.

About the Author

Intrepid Travel is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. With the participation of their travellers, we can help conserve the areas we visit and bring positive benefits to our host communities.

What do you do to lessen your travel impact? Share your best environmentally friendly travel tips.

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12 Comments

  • FlightlessTravel.com said

    10 great tips. We're loving No.4 Travel Overland!

  • Parag said

    Purchasing locally produced food is another eco-friendly travel advice. This is because locally grown food has less food miles and carbon footprint. If you could spare time, visiting the local market is also a good option.

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  • Mike said

    Being environmentally aware is so important! So is traveling and seeing the world. Latin America is a great place to tour and we can help you with that. http://vipjourneys.com

  • Greg said

    Bicycle tours are a great way to experience the world without poisoning the environment. Start with short trips a weekend in a local area maybe on a bike trail. Pack very light only what you need. Enjoy being outside seeing thing you have overlooked because you were going to fast. Eat out if it is what makes you happy by biking you saved some money. But it can be just as much fun to shop along the way and have a picnic at a pleasant location.
    We started by riding on a fund raiser for the American lung association, which gave us the comfort of knowing that we had support if we needed it. We have taken 4 tours in Europe and 2 to Canada on our own. 30 years of cycling so far and planning for Europe again next summer.

  • Chris Kaiser said

    Thanks guys, great ideas.

    One additional hack to make your travel more environmentally friendly is booking via B'n'Tree. It basically combines your #7, as every time you book a bed, one tree is planted.

    Great news: The planted tree doesn't cost you a single Cent!

    The project has already become a major success in many countries - together we can increase the impact even further!

    Details on: https://ceekaiser.com/saving-the-planet/bntree-you-book-a-bed-we-plant-a-tree/

    Hope you love the project as much as I do...

    Keep up the great work!

  • Aaron Salyer said

    Yes! Love number 5. Drink the local beer!

    Local beer, local food, local people! That's the whole point of going somewhere new.

    Also great that water filters in hostels are becoming a thing. Waaaay too many plastic bottles in circulation.

    We've got a water bottle with a filter built into it too for those times where there's only tap water. So handy for travels around Asia!

  • techsofttips said

    Hi,
    I love travelling and I make 2 family overseas trips a year.
    I thank you for giving incredible advise on every single details of travelling.
    Despite my own travel experience I have learned so much from your article. The most useful is first one (to make travelling top priority ) . I have 2 kids, and my next trip will be very much different with your great tips.

  • hotel.discount said

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  • Oliver Ray said

    I like how your article surrounds the idea of not leaving a big nomad footprint wherever you visit. A lot of items like bottles, plastic bags, and reckless off-road/path traveling can cause long term damage to the area you visited for such a short time. I will have to be more careful with what I bring with me on my travels.

  • HsinYu said

    Great ideas! And here is also an easy way to care about our planet while traveling! For every booking that originates on bedandtree.com, one tree is being planted - without any charge to the user. Cooperation partners include the world's largest booking platforms, such as Booking, Skyscanner, Expedia, TripAdvisor etc, hence you can plant trees when booking hotels, flights, cruises, rental cars etc.

    It doesn't cost you a single Cent, just one click of your mouse:)

  • Dave said

    Hey,
    Thanks for this good blog entry.
    I'm working on my own on atravel router app as a hobby, which displays an estimation of the CO2 emission of a planned iternary. Besides it gives you tip to reduce the CO2 emission.
    You find it here: https://yourtravelroute.com/create

    Greetings

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