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Have you heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch?

Made up of non-biodegradable plastics, this swirling mass of debris weighs an estimated 705,000 tons. It’s composed of fishing nets, computer parts, Legos, and countless water bottles.

There’s no doubt that humans on the move produce a staggering amount of garbage. The key is how to travel more while also learning how to be sustainable.

Eco travel doesn’t have to involve sleeping in mud huts in the jungle (although if you want to, that’s fine too). In this post, we’ll consider 5 simple steps you can take to encourage sustainable traveling.

Read on to learn more!

1. Consider Your Destination Carefully

Did you realize that where you choose to travel can have a major environmental impact?

Popular destinations like Macchu Picchu, Angkor Wat, and Venice are being threatened due to the high number of visitors. This can overwhelm the local population, making them resentful of tourists, as well as cause harm to the surrounding environment.

Instead of going to these “tourist traps,” select destinations that are off the beaten path. You should also avoid cruise ships and all-inclusive beach resorts.

2. Transportation Options

If you can’t avoid flying to your destination, try WorldRoamer to book a non-stop flight. Takeoffs and landings leave the biggest carbon footprint behind.

Traveling by train, bus, or ship usually leaves less impact on the environment. If you have the time, consider a “slower” option to reach your destination.

Once you’re there, walk or bike as much as you can. If you must rent a vehicle, ask about electric or hybrid options.

3. Be Water Conscious

Reusable water bottles are your friend. If you haven’t already invested in one, do so before your next vacation.

Take short showers instead of baths, and consider turning off the water while you shampoo or brush your teeth. Hand-wash your dirty clothes and hang them up to dry instead of using the hotel’s laundry service.

And don’t forget to use that “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door so you can reuse your towels and sheets.

4. Buy Locally Sourced Products

Avoid gimmicky “junk” items that will probably end up in the trash (and was probably made in China).

Support the local economy by purchasing handmade art, ceramics, or textiles. There are also consumable options like chocolate or candies, spice mixes, or oils.

You should also say “NO” to anything made from endangered animals, ancient artifacts, or unsustainable plants or hardwoods.

5. Choose Eco-Friendly Tours

Small, locally-owned tour operators are your best bet for eco travel in a foreign land.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions about how the tour company gives back to the local economy. Do they employ local guides or lease land from local owners?

Avoid tour companies that exploit wild animals like elephants, tigers, or lions. If you’re going into the ocean, steer clear of any companies that chum the water or show little respect for the coral reefs or marine wildlife.

Ways to Be Sustainable: Final Thoughts on Eco Travel

Just because you’re environmentally conscious doesn’t mean you have to give up your love of traveling.

Eco travel is booming right now, and for good reason. Future generations depend on our actions nows, which makes it more important than ever to learn how to be sustainable.

Did you enjoy this article? Check out our other green loving posts for more great information about sustainable living.