Sustainable Tourism: 6 Eco-Friendly Travel Tips for Earth Month

Sustainable Tourism: 6 Eco-Friendly Travel Tips for Earth Month

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Every year in April, the world comes together to observe Earth Month, a period where we reflect on ways to reduce our environmental impact and promote sustainability in our daily lives. With warmer weather on the horizon, what better place to start than our travel habits. 

Whether traveling for business or enjoyment, there are many steps we can take to explore the world around us more responsibly and with added care. From what you pack to where you go, we explore some of our top tips for leaving a lighter footprint for Earth Month. 

What is Earth Month?

Earth Month is an annual event that takes place throughout the month of April to raise awareness about environmental issues and promote sustainability initiatives worldwide. Throughout the month, individuals, organizations, and communities are encouraged to unite in celebrating our planet and taking part in eco-friendly activities. 

Throughout the month, the issues of pollution, deforestation, habitat loss, and biodiversity decline are brought to the forefront of conversations. By talking about these subjects, we’re able to come together and implement plans to reduce our global ecological footprint.  

How Does Travel Impact the Earth?

From cruise ships to airplanes, hotels to souvenirs, the tourism industry plays a vital role in both the global economy and global health. Sustainable Travel International, a nonprofit organization that has been advocating for more sustainable travel practices for more than 20 years, suggests that tourism is responsible for roughly 8% of the world’s carbon emissions. 

In a recent report, UN Tourism stated that “accelerating climate action in tourism is of the utmost importance.” Their findings suggest that CO2 emissions from tourism are forecasted to increase by 25% by 2030, which may accelerate global warming. If this trend continues, much of the beauty that we celebrate during Earth Month may be at risk. 

Does this mean we should abandon travel? Of course not. Traveling can help us feel more connected to the Earth and more determined to protect it. It is, however, our responsibility as global citizens to minimize our impact on the planet as we explore its delicate eco-systems. 

6 Eco-Friendly Travel Tips for a Greener Globe

Becoming a more sustainable traveler is not as difficult as it sounds. In fact, some of the things we discuss may actually enhance your trips and provide a more fulfilling experience. 

As you prepare for your next trip, consider giving a few of these tips a try: 

1. Pack Light 

Believe it or not, the weight of the plane has a direct impact on its carbon emissions. The heavier a plan weighs, the more fuel it needs to reach your destination. The more fuel your flight consumes, the more CO2 it emits. 

Travelers can do their part in reducing carbon emissions by packing light, and being more intentional about the items they bring with them on vacation. Also, try incorporating as many eco-friendly products into your case as possible. Your future self may also thank you for the lighter luggage when dragging it around airports or foreign cities. 

Don’t forget to protect your luggage prior to your trip, too. Many affordable travel insurance plans offer coverage if your personal belongings are lost, stolen, or damaged at any point during your trip. 

2. Take Advantage of Public Transportation

Compared to private cars, public transportation can get you to where you’re going while emitting far fewer climate-warming greenhouse gasses. Instead of getting a rental car at your destination or driving to the airport, take some time to research if public transportation can be used instead. 

Not only are buses, trains, subways, and public shuttles more environmentally friendly, but they can also help you experience your destination from a different perspective. Navigating the stations and routes in a foreign country can even be a fun adventure in itself! 

It doesn’t have to be intimidating, either. Many countries, particularly across Europe, boast a well-maintained infrastructure that makes getting around on public transportation a breeze. 

3. Fly Direct

It goes without saying that getting to your destination faster and with fewer steps is always preferable. Unfortunately, according to a report by Google Flights, direct flights cost roughly 20% more than connecting flights on average. But is splurging on direct flights justifiable? Yes! 

When considering the environment, direct flights use far less fuel than connecting flights. Not to mention you won’t have to worry about missing a connecting flight. If your budget allows and the option is available, flying direct to your destination is always advised. 

4. Support Local

When you go on vacation, even if it’s a work trip, there’s nothing better than experiencing new cultures, foods, and customs from the locals. Not only does supporting small businesses during your trip help support local economies, but it also helps support a healthier planet. 

Here are a few ways that shopping local while abroad helps the environment: 

  • Less Carbon Emissions: Most small business owners will source their products and supplies locally, opposed to larger corporations with global supply chains. 
  • Less Packaging: Buying products directly from the source can result in a significant reduction in plastic packaging and waste. 
  • Community Preservation: Many small businesses owners live within the communities they operate in, and are more motivated to preserve their environment through their business practices and profits.  

5. Choose Eco-Friendly Lodging

Another great step towards sustainable tourism is always opting for eco-friendly accommodations. This doesn’t necessarily mean always staying in an eco-lodge or an eco-resort, while those are great vacation options. But try to stay in hotels, hostels, or rentals that operate in such a way as to minimize their building’s carbon footprint as well as the carbon footprint of their employees. 

When evaluating your lodging options, keep an eye out for certifications or badges that support the building’s eco-friendly initiatives. Hotels, for example, can earn Green Key certifications that distinguish them as leaders in eco-friendly operations. Airbnbs throughout Europe can also earn an Energy Performance Certificate to showcase their efforts towards sustainability. 

6. Prioritize Sustainable Destinations

Our last tip involves choosing where to go. It can seem like there are endless destinations to choose from when booking a trip. Most of the time, how eco-friendly a country is likely won’t be top of mind when comparing your options. 

However, for Earth Month, it makes sense to mention some eco-friendly destinations to keep in mind when planning your next adventure. 

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is an increasingly popular destination among adventurers and nature enthusiasts alike. The Central American country produces roughly 93% of its energy from renewable sources, and its lush landscapes are fiercely protected to preserve its incredibly diverse wildlife. 


Known for its waterfalls and stunning scenery, Iceland is a fantastic destination all year round. Not only is the nation practically powered by geo-thermal energy, but its capital, Reykjavik, is often cited as the world’s ‘cleanest’ city. Iceland’s renewable energy program famously produces more green energy per capita than any other country on the planet. 

New Zealand

Home to adventure, beauty, and the filming locations of iconic movies, New Zealand has put a lot of effort over the years into becoming a sustainable destination for visitors from around the world. Tour operators within the country are under strict regulations in order to preserve many of the natural beauty found on the island.


Often voted the happiest country on Earth, Norway is also one of the greenest. In an effort to cement its place as one of the most eco-friendly destinations, the Scandinavian nation aims to be carbon neutral by 2030. It’s no surprise that up until recently, their tourism motto was “Powered by Nature.” 


An oasis in the Caribbean, the Bahamas has committed itself to protecting biodiversity and marine life that attracts travelers from all corners of the Earth. Ecotours are on offer from tour operators on many of the Bahamian islands, and the government has plans to improve its already strong approach to use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.