Avoid COVID, Crowds, and Climate Change: Sustainable Summer Travel Tips

As pandemic travel restrictions lift across the country, we are all excited about the prospect of planning a trip. It will be so nice to get away from our homes, especially since we have been locked in for the past year. However, as we travel, we should still be mindful of our environmental impact. Here are five tips to travel more sustainably.

Choose your destination wisely.

By choosing a destination that is less crowded, you are helping to prevent “overtourism” of popular spots. Not only is this safer for those who may not have gotten the vaccine yet, but it is also nice to get away from the mobs of people that usually crowd popular tourist destinations. It is also more sustainable to travel somewhere closer to home. Reduce emissions by going on a trip that stays within your general region.

Use sustainable transportation when
Take transportation that reduces emissions when you can. If it is possible to take a train or other public transit to your destination, do so. However, if not, you can try to find flights that are more eco-friendly. Sites such as Skyscanner have ratings for flights that produce fewer emissions. When you get to your destination, walk or bike when you can, or try to rent a hybrid or electric vehicle. 

Support local businesses. 
Look for sustainable and local businesses to keep your money in the area. This allows your tourism to directly benefit the community you are visiting, and the local economy will grow. Support the work of indigenous artists, and seek out locally-made goods to decrease transport emissions.

Try to reduce waste. 

Inevitably, travel creates waste, but by bringing reusables with you (water bottles, bags, silverware for takeout), you can decrease your environmental impact. At home and in the hotel, you can unplug and turn off appliances when you are not there. You can also set the thermostat higher or lower to use less energy while you are gone. 

Find eco-friendly accommodations.

There are many ways to try to decrease your environmental impact by avoiding large-scale, international hotel chains. Staying in a local accommodation would likely reduce food and laundry waste. If you are travelling within the United States, the LEED Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council can help to indicate environmentally friendly places to stay.