11 steps for a more sustainable journey – Part 1: The preparation


                Now, more than ever, we, as travel lovers, have the duty to take care of our planet and of all the places we visit so they can continue to exist for our future generations to be able to visit them and enjoy their natural and authentic community and wildlife.

                Travels and sustainability do not need to be contradictory and it is possible to be sustainable while traveling. It won’t be always possible to avoid planes or to walk, but the most important is to, whenever we can act more sustainably. If you already follow my content on social media, you know that sustainability implies much more than being environmental-friendly, it also means taking care of local communities at an economic and socio-cultural level.

                This will be part 1 of two texts. Now we will focus on preparing our journey and on the next post we will focus on being sustainable while at our destination. Many people think being sustainable is how we act at the local, but no, everything starts at home! The important is to find a balance and not to be perfect, so here we go to some tips:


Choose your destination and plan your trip wisely


             This tip is very important and it does not only affect the environment and the local communities, but it also affects the way you will enjoy your travel! Avoid traveling in the destination’s high season. In high season many destinations are saturated and most of the time the communities and authorities can´t deal with the major flow of people (whether we’re talking about infrastructures, cleaning capacity, or security reasons, among many others) and you will not be able to enjoy so much. Your must-see locals will be crowded, nature and the animals will be “tired” and the companies won’t have the capacity to give you the more personalized or authentic experience. Although we always want to travel in the best climate or see things that you can only see on certain months, the truth is that many countries have a great climate all year round and sometimes you can see things on the low season that you could not see on the high season. Do some research on your destination and inform yourself of what could be the best time for your travel!


         Choose the place where you sleep and the activities you will do consciously. Try to choose sustainable hotels (the greener ones normally advertise it on their website and travel agencies/booking websites or you can understand it by their comments or photos) and try to use local hotels. The same applies to companies or guides for your activities. If you love animals and animal-related activities choose a place where there is no animal abuse and where they focus on conservation and not on activities just to attract tourists, without considering animal welfare. Photography on the top of animals or with dangerous animals on our side gets you a lot of likes online, but is it really worth it? You will have a way more rewarding and authentic experience on a conservation center or just by feeding or being side to side with the animals on their natural habitat.


         We all know that the transports we take are probably what has a bigger environmental impact, due to their high emission of pollutant gases. However, we don’t have always the option to use a train and sometimes the only possible transport is the airplane. So what can we do? A great resource that most of the airlines already have on their booking websites is the programs to compensate for carbon emissions. Basically, at the end of your reservation, they tell you the amount of carbon your travel releases and you can pay an extra value to compensate that amount. A lot of times that amount goes to tree plantation or ecological projects. You can add this option at the end of your reservation or you can do through other institutions if you know any that you trust. If you have the opportunity to get more information on your airline website, try it for your next journey. Tap, a Portuguese airline, for example, among other projects, is using this compensation program to help to conserve the Amazon by avoiding wood extraction and educating local communities on more sustainable agriculture practices. See your airline projects and I leave you here a National Geographic link so you can understand this matter better. 


     Do not print your boarding passes or any other reservation unless it is required by the company. Nowadays the majority of places accept digital documents and it is so easy to access them through our devices. If you’re worried you won’t have wi-fi the moment you’ll need your documents, just download them and you will have them always accessible.

choose what to take with you and don't forget anything

take your bottle of water

A simple action that can have a greater impact! Take it with you and you can refill it prettily anywhere. Nowadays most of the places have drinkable water and those who don’t have water dispensers that you can use. Even some long journey planes already have a place for you to refill your water! It seems we ran out of excuses not to take it with us J     

Have you heard about the stojo cups?

        If you are like me one of the things that bother me the most on a plane trip is that whenever I ask for a drink, it comes on a plastic cup! I can understand the logistic part behind this decision, but there should be an alternative right? While looking for an option I came across the Stojo cups (maybe there are other brands, but this one sells in my country, so it’s the one I’m aware of), reusable and foldable cups that occupy almost no space in your bag and you can use anywhere. Next time you’ll ask for a drink ask them to fill your cup and it’s done! Some fewer plastic cups used! This cup will also be very useful in less developed countries, where sometimes they serve you drinks in plastic cups. If you don’t find this option in your country just keep the first cup they give you on the plane and use the same one for the next drinks 🙂

say no to plastic!

  If you know in advance that you will need to go shopping while traveling, place 1 or 2 fabric bags in your luggage, so you don’t have to use the supermarket plastic bags.

What type of toothpaste do you use?

  This might seem a silly question and you might be wondering what this as to do with traveling, so let’s try to figure it out! When you take your toothpaste or any other hygiene or cosmetic item to your travels, normally you take them in reduced size and this means there is a high probability you will finish them on your journey. So far, so good, but, while at home you would place your toothpaste in the recycling bin and you felt good, in the countries you visit perhaps the term recycling doesn’t exist or it’s not done in a proper way. In this case, it is better to take eco-friendly zero waste products, that will likely last more, and even if they finish during the journey they can be biodegradable. Try bamboo materials, like bamboo cotton buds and toothpaste in tablets or in glass jars (if you don’t know any brand check Georganics and Humble, they sell practically everywhere and have good products). Enjoy this time to make the transition at home to this type of products and if you take your own amenities you won’t have to use hotel ones that, unfortunately, most of the time, come wrapped in plastic 🙁

a tip just for girls

   Are you traveling during that week of the month? Instead of using the conventional pads or tampons, give an opportunity to menstrual cups! You will reduce significantly your impact on the visited local 🙂


    Get informed about your destination weather and other conditionings and make sure you take all you need and only what you need. Take the essential; do not take things you will probably not use! If you’re traveling by plane and your luggage its lighter, it means you’re helping to decrease the amount of energy and fuel used.


   No, we are not talking about the sun protection index, but yes about its ingredients! Especially if you plan to dive or if you’re planning on beach and ocean vacations, this is something you should take into account. Recent researches have shown that there are some chemicals on the sunscreens that can be harmful to marine species, particularly to corals. There are already some areas like Hawai or some Mexican cities that already forbidden the sale of sunscreens with certain ingredients. Try to buy the most natural ones and that have a certification of coral reef safe. Normally the certification appears on the package.

        As you saw there are many ways to prepare our journey in a more sustainable way! Some are harder than others and some might not even be possible to be done by everybody. Do not think that you have to do everything or that you are not being sustainable if you miss some tips, of course, you are still being sustainable! The important is to take the first step and to what we can! Small actions can have a big impact and, as I said in the beginning, the goal is not to be perfect, but to act and do our best J Many of the tips above are related to things we already do at home, like avoid plastic while shopping or using eco-friendly products. I hope this text will give you some ideas and that you can prepare your next journey in a more sustainable way.

       Leave your comments below and let me know if there is something else you already do or think it should be done!

         Thank you for reading and stay green!



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