How to Travel Sustainably

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Published on :
  • 23/02/2024

The number of people travelling overseas has dramatically increased over the last decade. While this is great for economic growth and personal fulfilment, it comes at the cost of the environment. This, in turn, has sparked a debate on the importance of sustainable travel.

With the environmental impact conventional methods of travel pose, more people are opting for eco-friendly tourism. Research also shows that over 80% of travellers agree with its importance and acceptance.

If you are wondering how to include sustainability in travel and tourism and reduce your carbon footprint. Read on as we have put together a list of practical tips that will help you become a more sustainable traveller.

What is Sustainable Travelling?

Sustainable travel refers to the adoption of sustainable practices. At its core, sustainable tourism is acknowledging the impact of conventional tourism – both its pros and cons. It aims to fulfil the present needs of tourists and regions while protecting the environment, cultures, heritages and wildlife for future opportunities.

In practice, this can involve curbing overcrowding, the use of single-use plastics, etc., while emphasising the importance of supporting local businesses and the preservation of historical places.

8 Tips for Sustainable Travel

Go Beyond the Bucket List

Whether it is clicking an aesthetic picture of the Eiffel Tower or raving about NYC, people are more likely to visit “known places''. However, most popular tourist spots are usually filled with long lines of people and a crowd of restless tourists. This leads to “over-tourism”, resulting in hordes of people flocking to one place.

Ditch doing this; instead, look for less crowded and not-so-known places. Yes, it might require you to do some deep research, but the result would be worth it.

Look for local towns, undiscovered beaches, and peaceful trekking grounds. You can always ask locals and fellow travellers for guidance and get to know better places to promote eco-friendly tourism. It will help uplift the economic, cultural, and historical value of some lesser-known and well-deserved communities.

**Being a Responsible Traveller **

How you travel to and from your destination matters a lot. The tourism industry contributes around 8% to global carbon emissions, and in upcoming years, these numbers are predicted to increase.

However, this negative impact can be curbed by opting for responsible travelling practices. For example,

When flying internationally, take direct flights and look for carbon-efficient airlines. Some names in this list include KLM, Easyjet, Etihad, Lufthansa and JetBlue.

If you are travelling locally, it is advised to travel by train.

When commuting within city limits, opt for public transport like buses, e-bikes, bicycles, or you can walk.

This way you will not only reduce your carbon footprint but will also get to enjoy local scenery better.

Be Mindful of Local Resources

When travelling to any destination, be mindful of how you use local resources like water, food, electricity, etc.

While taking a shower or brushing your teeth in hotels, try to limit your water usage; turn off the lights and charging sockets before leaving your room and buy only the necessary amount of food at restaurants.

– Yes, you may be paying for the end products, but the resources utilised are locally grown. Often, tourist places have a limited stock of resources, and overusing local resources can lead to their depletion.

This is especially true in popular tourist destinations like Spain, where freshwater resources are scarce.

Research the Culture

Before you plan to visit any new place, do not just research the “best restaurants” or “best tourist attractions” of that destination. Dig deeper and explore the culture, history and values of the local people of that place.

Responsible travelling is not just about saving the environment; it is also about saving communities and their traditions.

Through your cultural research of a place, you will know about how to dress appropriately, what not to say, how to greet people, how to conduct yourself in public spaces, etc.

Use Reusables

One of the biggest reasons for tourism waste is the use of single-use plastics by travellers. If only tourists start switching their single-use products with reusable ones, tonnes of waste generated from single-use straws, plastic cups, plastic wrappers, etc can be eliminated.

To practise eco-friendly tourism, you can start by:

Travelling with reusables like a steel water bottle instead of single-use plastic ones or using personal straws and cutlery rather than disposable ones.

Bringing your own canvas/cotton carry bag while shopping at your destination, carrying a lunchbox and asking restaurants to pack your leftovers in it instead of plastic containers.

Respect Nature

Respecting the natural environment of your destination place is as important as respecting the people. As a visitor, it is your responsibility to leave as few traces of yourself as possible and not to disturb the local flora and fauna.

For example, while trekking, follow the assigned path and avoid creating new trails. Do not litter on beaches, and avoid touching unknown corals and rocks. Doing so will create less disturbance for the local ecosystem of the area.

Volunteer If Possible

Giving back to the community that has welcomed you in their place is greatly appreciated.

You can choose to volunteer in anything from beach cleanups to spending time at wildlife rescue centres. It is not only considered responsible travelling but will also provide you peace of mind that you contributed towards the betterment of the environment.

Support Local Businesses

Souvenirs are beautiful parting gifts that you can bring back to your family and friends. However, imported souvenirs can have a larger carbon footprint as most are flown in or shipped.

One way to incorporate sustainable travel in your shopping activities is by buying from local artisans. Not only will buying from home-grown businesses help boost the local economy, but these gifts, being handmade, carry much more sentimental value.

Importance of a Travel Insurance Policy

If responsible travelling is essential, then secure travelling is equally crucial for tourists.

Overseas travel insurance is an essential asset when travelling internationally. Several countries like the United States, the UK, Singapore and the Schengen region especially mandate travellers to have a travel insurance policy.

To ensure you remain compliant with these rules, we at Tata AIG give you the option to buy travel insurance online on our website, so you do not have to make the trip down to one of our offices.

Moreover, our overseas travel insurance plans also come with trip cancellation insurance to account for last-minute emergencies. This way, you do not have to worry about any lost expenses in case of a cancelled trip.

Final Words

While sustainability in travel and tourism may seem like a challenging feat, it starts with the little things like bringing your own bags to your local market. Moreover, following our tips for sustainable travel stated above can help you reduce your carbon footprint while enjoying your trip organically.

Try these tips on your next destination and happy travelling!


What is the most sustainable way to travel?

Trains are the most sustainable way to travel behind walking and cycling. It is good, especially for travelling long distances while creating less ecological impact.

Who are sustainable travellers?

Sustainable travellers are people who are mindful of their travelling choices and make conscious efforts to leave less impact on the environment because of their travelling.

What is the concept of sustainability?

In simple terms, sustainability means existing and developing in the present without creating a negative impact on nature and resources for the future.

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