20 Eco-friendly travel planning and packing tips

We are going on summer vacation soon, can’t wait 🙂 ! I am busy planning and packing for it. We have made a family tradition to travel Eco-friendly as much possible during every vacation and I have been sharing our Eco Travels with you, through all these years.

But this time I am sharing my Eco-friendly travel planning and packing tips, which somehow I didn’t think of writing before. Responsible tourism is not just staying in an Eco-friendly resort or reusing your linens in your hotel but there are many things involved to reduce our carbon footprint while we travel.

Eco-friendly Packing

1. Pack Light

The more weight planes, trains, cars are carrying, the more fuel they use. Plus it’s convenient to travel light though it’s difficult for us moms, who pack a lot of things thinking if we need them just in case. But try to limit clothes by creating combinations of outfits out of few pieces. And better to take just one or two universally matching shoes. Also don’t pack too many toys for kids, instead let them run wild and even get creative in Nature to make their own toys out of stones, twigs and what not.

Ruhaan is playing with long leaves of a tree in Singapore (read here sustainable travel to Singapore)

2. Travel Size Toiletries & Beauty Products

Always carry travel size refillable and reusable bottles with Eco-friendly toiletries. Instead of disposable bags or carrying full-size containers of toiletries use refillable travel size bottles to reduce the weight of your luggage. After returning from travel I finish and clean them and reuse the containers for my next travel. This time I have packed my favorite Eco-friendly and biodegradable shampoo, body wash, face wash, scrub, multipurpose detergent from newly found Forever Living Aloe products range. If you are staying in a sustainable hotel, they provide you biodegradable toiletries or always request you to bring the same with you.

Travel Size Toiletries

3. Pack Reusables

Pack re-usable Tote bags for shopping for groceries, souvenirs, picnic etc. To avoid using plastic bags and reduce garbage; use these reusable tote bags. These bags fold into small size which can fit easily in your purse, bag pack or handbag. When I traveled solo to Iceland and at a spur of a moment decided to buy gifts for family and friends while walking on Laugavegur street, I didn’t know they charge for plastic bags till I returned and read somewhere. Because I was trying a zero waste travel and even otherwise always carry my foldable tote bag in my handbag! Read here about my Iceland trip.

You can buy foldable tote bag by clicking here on souq.com.

Pack refillable water bottle. Instead of buying plastic bottles for water repeatedly carry your own reusable water bottles. Just make sure the tap water of your destination is safe to drink or not. The best experience of using our reusable water bottles was in Bernes Oberland, Switzerland, where you can refill fresh spring water for free at water fountains on street. Read here about our Switzerland trip!
Click here to buy stainless steel reusable water bottle on souq.com which can last for years.
Pack a tiffin box. Specially if you are traveling with kids to store food or leftover food from your lunch. Instead of using zip lock plastic bags or take away containers this is best, healthier and greener solution. If you pack and use your reusables you are going to reduce waste significantly. I always pack a travel size dish soap to clean my reusable bottle and tiffin boxes.

4. Opt For Rechargeable Batteries

Instead of taking disposable batteries for an alarm clock, cameras, flashlight, and toys opt for rechargeable batteries. You won’t have to worry about safe disposal of batteries on your travels and you won’t have to worry about buying disposable batteries if batteries drain out. Just don’t forget to pack the chargers of rechargeable batteries.

Click here to buy a set of rechargeable batteries online.

5. Travel Literature & Maps

Don’t buy too many books and maps for your travel. You get better and updated information on the internet. Plus you can take few kilos off your luggage if you cut back on heavy destination guides. You can always find maps in information centers of your destination. This way you are also saving many trees. I prefer to save all my trip itinerary and literature digitally on at least two devices. I love TripAdvisor app too.

6. Reading List On Travel

Avoid buying too many books and magazines for your travel. There are newspapers, magazines always available on planes, in hotels. Some people nowadays buy ebooks and read it, it’s the smartest way to reduced paper use. And some people instead of reading on travel, explore as much as possible and take surround in whenever seating or waiting for something. You can always buy English magazines or newspaper from the destination if you carry it in your hands while walking; you can be counted as a resident (which is great for safety etc) plus you can take it home as a souvenir.


Before you leave home

7. Turn Off & Unplug

Don’t forget to turn off and unplug all the lamps and household electronics. Unplugging is important since electronics leach power even if they are turned off.

8. Water & Gas Supply

Turn off water and gas valves. This way you avoid wastage in case of leaks and it’s safer too.

9. Water Plants While You Are Away

Put filled water bottle upside down in planters, so that you won’t come back to dried up plants at home.

10. Recycle

Recycle all those packaging cardboard boxes of things you bought for your travels.


Enjoying Destination Green Way

11. Use Sustainable Transport on vacation

Avoid using transport when possible. Walk as much as possible, you get to explore more when you walk. And you can indulge in eating local food without worries about extra gain in weight on travel. We have a great memory of cycling on the scenic roads of Cappadocia in Turkey.

Use public transport instead of hiring car. On our upcoming trip, we are going to travel internally by train; not just our son but we too are excited about it. We had traveled by bus overnight on our Turkey trip a few years back, while I was planning my husband was not very happy. But that trip is most memorable and one of his favorite from that trip. You get so many interesting experiences when you travel with locals, by keeping your CO2 emissions lowest. One of the best public transport experience we had was during our visit to Singapore.

12. Choose Eco-friendly hotel/resort.

It’s amazing to see how they lessen their impact on the environment by creating their own power, innovative recycling, employing locals and you get to eat amazingly fresh food grown in their gardens. You can always get great tips for greening your home from these hotels. One of the best experience we had was at Sarinabuana Eco Lodge in Bali.

13. Support Eco-friendly housekeeping

You stay in an Eco-friendly hotel or not you can always reuse your towels and hang them on a rack for drying after use. And can always request not to change your bed sheets every day. this way you will save a lot of water by not asking your hotel to wash your towels and linen every day.

14. Shopping Locally

Purchase things from local market fruits, food, local handicraft etc and use that reusable tote bag you packed for it. Read here a guide to sustainable shopping in Iceland which can give you an idea of ultimate sustainable shopping during travels.

Bought exotic fruits, vanilla and spices from this farmer’s market in Bali! Read Here.

15. Recycle your waste on travel.

If you are staying in an Eco-friendly hotel there will be recycling bins. Else there are generally recycling bins kept in airports, public transport stations, and parks. Use your one of the tote bag to store recyclables till you reach the bin.

16. Do Your Bit

To offset your travel, you can always plant native plants either in your travel destination or back home. But make sure you are planting a species which can sustain without much maintenance (water, sunlight etc) and is local to that terrain. Buy the seeds or plants locally. There are restrictions on taking foreign species to countries like Australia etc.
Alternatively, you can always donate to local charity, not environmentally sustainable but it’s socially sustainable.

17. Gift Wrapping

Wrap gifts after landing back home. Security check on airports might ask you to open the gifts you bought for family and friends. And there is a chance of getting the gift wrapping damaged in transport. So instead of wasting wrapping papers and boxes; just wrap them after you land.

18. Cook From Locally Grown Ingredients

If you have kitchenette facility available in your hotel, buying from local farmer’s market and cooking a meal for your family on travel is great fun. During our vacation in Australia, I couldn’t stay back from buying fresh organic vegetable from Queen Victoria market and cook it for dinner. According to my husband that was one the best meal on that trip. Read here about our sustainable travel to Australia. If you are not cooking while on travel, try local cuisines and food made from local ingredients.

Cooking in Melbourne

19. Eat Local Sustainable Food

There is no better experience that to eat from local eateries. This way you get to eat fresh food, local cuisine, explore their food culture and you can give back this way to that community. Fewer logistics and carbon emission are involved in eating locally. So next time you are ordering your meal from Mc Donald on your vacation think twice.

20. Focus On Natural Beauty

Go outdoors, explore the natural beauty of your destination. But remember not to disturb the local flora fauna and environment. Have as less impact as possible when you are out in Nature. Go for nature trails, walks, hikes it’s a great way of teaching your kids about environment and conservation. This will be great family bonding time too.

Hope these tips will help you to make your travels sustainable. Would love to hear from you and know any of your Eco travel tips which are not covered here.

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Meet Amruta

Hi, I am Amruta, Thank you for visiting my blog!

I am a Sustainability Professional. I have worked on many green building projects in the


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