18 easy ways to travel more sustainably

Are you looking for easy ways to travel more sustainably as a family?

You’re in the right place!

Small changes to your family travel habits make a big difference to the places you visit and to our planet.

This is something that is very important to us as a family and it should be important to your family too.

Here’s why:

We want to explore all of the beautiful places our world has to offer. For it to stay beautiful we need to do everything we can to help keep it that way.

The more people that do their bit to protect our world, the better. Together we can make a huge impact!

So, want to know what can you do? Keep reading…

1. Pack light

‘I have a family, are you crazy?’ I know, it sounds tricky but it is definitely worth travelling lighter for many reasons.

If you can reduce the weight of your bags by even a small amount it can make a big difference. It may sound unrealistic but if everyone did the same then the plane would use less fuel!

Try using smaller bags. For example we try to use cabin bags only when we fly and we’re a family of 5 so I know you could do it too! It is amazing what you can fit in when you plan it carefully. We also love to use packing cubes which I’m pretty sure have Mary Poppins magic in them because you can fit so much into them!

2. Use refillable bottles

We know you’ve heard it a million times before and chances are you’re doing it already but using refillable bottles is so simple but incredibly effective!

Take a resusable bottle for each family member and fill them up at the airport after you’ve gone through security.

For countries where you cannot drink the tap water make sure you pack a water purifier or filter to take with you.

3. Use public transport

Do your research before you go. Do you really need to hire a car? Can you use public transport or walk instead?

Many city destinations have very convenient and inexpensive public transport systems. And often attractions are fairly close together too. For example in both Rome and Athens we found we could quite easily walk between all of the sights. If you are fit and healthy this is a great option.

I want you to know though we did walk many miles each day! Plenty of gelato or greek yoghurt stops broke up the miles. The kids loved it.

The advantage to walking is we found some hidden gems along the way, such as parks, shops and cafes!

4. Stay with locals or in locally owned accommodation

There are many options for this: Airbnb, guest houses and privately owned holiday homes and apartments.

Our first place to look is usually Airbnb, it gives you a good idea of what you can get for your money and you can usually find something that is in just the right location, with the perfect facilities, within your budget.

Alternatively a quick search online should bring up many locally owned holiday homes/apartments.

There are some incredibly unique properties out there!

5. Stay in hotels that focus on sustainability

If staying in a villa or private apartment is not your thing then there are many stunning hotels out there that focus their efforts on sustainability or being green/eco-friendly.

Look for hotels that hold a Green Certificate.

Check out the Green Option on Trip Advisor to see what environmentally friendly hotels there are in your chosen destination.

6. Reduce your power and water usage

You may not be paying for the electricity and water the same way you do at home BUT your use of these services still has an impact on that countries consumption.

Be conscious of how much you use – turning off unnecessary lights and reducing your shower time by just a couple of minutes can save a lot of energy.

Did you know if you shorten your shower by just 2 minutes you save 10 gallons of water!

7. Use solid toiletries

There are a great number of reasons to switch to solid toiletries – especially when travelling.

Ever opened your suitcase at the other end only to discover your shower gel has leaked all over your stuff?

Solid toiletries are so easy to use, take up less room in your case, don’t leak AND they mean less plastic waste! What’s not to like?

You can get solid soap, shower wash, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant and even toothpaste.

Oh and don’t forget as they are not liquid you can carry them in your hand luggage!

We love the Shampoo and Conditioners from Bath, Bubble and Beyond – check them out in our shop

For deodorants our faves are the natural deodorant sticks from yournature.life which are also in our shop!

8. Do not use single use plastics

I know I’ve shown this before but I’ll show it again…

Sustainable travel - it's only one straw meme

Just say no to the straw!

There are so many amazing straw and cutlery alternatives out there that there is no need to be using plastic straws and cutlery.

Do your family and the world a huge favour and invest in a set for each member of your family.

9. Use environmentally friendly sunscreen

Sunscreen is an essential item you must take with you to protect your family from the sun. Make sure you also protect the planet at the same time!

Not all sunscreens are made equal. The majority of sunscreens on the market are bad for our oceans.

Look into brands such as Green People, Holland & Barratt and Littlehands and that are ‘reef safe’ to help protect the oceans.

10. Do not litter

Seems like common sense, I know, but people need reminding from time to time.

If you plan to explore the amazing natural areas wherever you are traveling to (and I’m sure you are!) be sure not to litter.

Take your rubbish away with you if possible. Even if bins are provided it is best practice to take your rubbish away. Bins can get full to the top and the wind can easily whip away lightweight rubbish. Not to mention that wildlife can rummage through the bin and spread the waste throughout the area.

11. Respect the wildlife

As above – do not litter.

Also be aware that you are in the natural habitat of the local wildlife so do your best not to disturb them.

Definitely do observe and learn about them though, our children love to do this and at the same we can teach them how important it is to protect their natural habitats.

12. Say no to animal tourism

As appealing as it may sound to watch an animal show, ride an elephant or feed an exotic animal, be very careful.

Unfortunately there is a lot of animal abuse happening in the name of tourism out there. The best way to put a stop to it is to not give your money to those who only wish to exploit the animals.

Do your research properly and participate only in activities with organisations that you are sure have ethical standards. Read reviews and reports beforehand to make an informed decision.

You can always switch animal activities for animal watching.

13. Respect local customs

This is a big one for us. We love to experience and learn about local culture and customs when we visit a new place.

It is a major part of sustainable travel but it is often overlooked in favour of respecting wildlife instead.

Embrace the differences and customs of the locals. Your children can learn so much from it.

Always make sure you adhere to any dress codes or rules about where you can/cannot go for religious reasons.

Greek Street Food

14. Support local restaurants/food vendors

Try the local cuisine! Our children love to ‘try’ something new. How else would they know if they like it or not!

You can support local people by buying from street vendors, in our experience the snacks they sell are usually delicious!

Top tip – go for the ones that locals are also buying from because that is usually a sign that they are pretty good.

15. Buy local products

Don’t give your money to large international brands.

Instead purchase something unique, authentic and handmade by local people.

You’ll not only get an amazing souvenir to remind you of your trip but you’ll be supporting someone else’s family in the process.

Oh and don’t forget to take a reusable shopping bag with you!

16. Fly less

Yes of course, you can still travel and experience all of the amazing things you want to but make conscious choices about when/how you fly.

Do you really need to do 2 stop overs just to save a bit of money per seat? If you can get a direct flight for not much more it is always the better sustainable option. It will greatly reduce your carbon footprint.

Also don’t take an internal flight if you can get to the same destination via public transport. If you take the train you’ll not only be doing good for the environment but chances are you’ll get to see some awesome scenery too!

17. Travel to less popular places

There are many countries that NEED the money which tourism brings but for one reason or another people don’t flock there.

These are some of the most incredible places to visit because not only do you get to explore somewhere ‘different’ there will also be less tourists which means less crowds!

A couple of countries to look at are Georgia and Kyrgyzstan for example.

18. Learn the local language

Take some time to find out what the local language is and learn a few words or sentences. Common questions or phrases would be the most helpful such as ‘Hello’, ‘Thank you’, ‘Which way is…’ and ‘Do you speak English’

Even if you only use just a couple of words of the language it can make the locals smile.

It will also help you understand them a little more and will potentially help you out.

Kids love learning and using these simple phrases.

So there you have it...

18 easy ways to travel more sustainably as a family.

If you’re already doing some of these things then give yourself a pat on the back – you are AMAZING!

Try implementing some of these ideas on your next vacation.

Even the smallest changes can have a big impact if we all do what we can.

Let’s protect this world together!

Do you have other easy ways to travel sustainably as a family?

Let us know in the comments below!

If you feel that others should know what they can do to travel more sustainably as a family, please share this post on social media or forward to a friend!

Find out more...

What Is Sustainable Family Travel?

See all sustainable travel posts – Sustainable Travel

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This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Karina

    Thank you for sharing all these great tips! When I and my partner travel, we try to be more responsible, use letter toiletries and we do prefer solid soaps and shampoos, especially those from Lush, plus, they don’t take too much space and weight either!
    I really don’t like people who litter. I mean, you got hands, when you open that pack of crips, it is not that hard to put it away where it belongs, right??? And those people in planes… that’s the next chapter…
    Great tips, seriously, people need to listen! Thank you 🙂

    1. Raising Holmes

      Thank you so much! Yes, it baffles me that people are happy to just leave their rubbish lying around – put it in the bin!!
      Lush shampoos smell amazing 🙂
      Let’s hope we can get the message out there to more people 💕

  2. Emma

    I had no idea about environmentally friendly sun cream – I will definitely be looking into this more in future!

    1. Raising Holmes

      We’ll be doing a post specifically about environmentally friendly sun cream very soon!
      You could sign up to receive our emails to be notified of when it is posted 😊

  3. Alexis

    This is such a wonderful list – I wasn’t aware of how to search for green hotels so I’m really excited about this tip. Thank you!

  4. Kiara

    I always attempt to include some of these steps into my travel. But you have given me more to think about so thanks.

    1. Raising Holmes

      Fantastic, well done for doing some already! Glad we could give you other ideas to think about 🙂

  5. Victoria

    Love this list! Travelling sustainably is always important to me

    1. Raising Holmes

      Thank you!
      That’s good to hear. Remember to tell the people you know about how simple it can be to make a difference with just a few small changes to their habits!

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