Top 10 Ways To Travel More Sustainably In 2024

We often look forward to holidays as the highlight of our year. However, nowadays, the joy of travel is often dampened by the realisation of its detrimental impact on the planet.

Regrettably, travel frequently involves numerous unsustainable practices, including air travel, excessive waste, and the displacement of locals and their businesses to accommodate tourist destinations.

Fortunately, according to the BBC, eager travellers are not shying away from this reality. In fact, its study reveals that over three-quarters of travellers want to embrace more sustainable travel practices in the coming year.

As such, there is no better time than now to examine why sustainability in travel matters and explore actionable ways to achieve it.

How Can We Make Travel More Sustainable?

Of course, the initial step toward more sustainable travel involves keeping an eye on our journeys. Are we boarding planes to jet off every month? Could we try to reduce this frequency?

Some individuals may have unavoidable business travel commitments, and it’s important not to deny yourselves a trip or two. After all, travel plays a significant role in cultural enrichment, fostering lifelong memories, and granting everyone the chance to visit their dream destinations.

Admitting that we may need to cut down on our trips, especially our trips by plane, can be the first step towards embracing a more conscious attitude towards travelling. But for the journeys we do undertake, there are lots of ways to practice sustainability concerning our mode of travel, choice of accommodation, dining options, and more.

Let’s begin by embarking on our journey towards sustainable destinations.

Sustainable Travel Destinations

Sustainable travel destinations are generally the countries that promote sustainable practices and responsible tourism, they may also be easily accessible by more eco-friendly modes of transport such as train or bus.

Let’s begin with one of the ‘cleanest’ countries in the world: Iceland. Easily accessible by ferry, Iceland not only offers beautiful sites such as glimpses of the Northern Lights but is also almost entirely powered by geothermal energy, making sure any traveller who ventures there can enjoy journeying around one of the greenest countries in the world.

Conservation and sustainability are also a big part of Norway’s travel culture and, according to Explore!, several Norwegian tourist destinations have been officially certified as sustainable by the International Sustainable Tourism Initiative.

And, if a trip to Asia is higher up on your priority list, a trip to Singapore may be just the ticket. While this may be a little further afield, Singapore is renowned for its mindful urban landscape developed by previous Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s “City in a Garden” vision. Singapore now boasts the title of the first nation to receive the sustainable destination certification from the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, according to the BBC.

And why not look at what’s available closer to home? Belfast remains the strongest supporter of the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism launched at COP25, and Belfast’s Resilience Goal targets an inclusive, zero-emissions, climate-resilient economy to be built for the next generation of travellers.

Besides choosing a travel destination, there are several other important sustainable practices to embrace. To take a look at just a few, just keep reading.


Top 10 Ways To Travel More Sustainably In 2024


1. Use Public Transportation

When travelling, jetting off on a plane may be necessary thanks to your destination. Nevertheless, whenever possible, utilise buses, trains, or ferries instead of planes or cars to get there. Public transportation that takes multiple passengers produces fewer emissions per passenger than individual vehicles.


2. Reduce Plastic Waste

Bring a reusable water bottle, coffee cup, and shopping bag to minimise single-use plastic consumption while travelling. Moreover, avoid using plastic straws in those delectable tropical cocktails and utensils when dipping our toes in foreign cuisine whenever possible.


3. Choose Eco-Friendly Accommodation

Opt for hotels, hostels, camping sites or resorts that have implemented sustainable practices such as energy-efficient lighting, water conservation measures, and waste reduction strategies.

Or, do one better by steering clear of all hostels, resorts, and so on, and look out for free accommodation in exchange for house-sitting. Not only does this stop you from fuelling the local tourism business, but it can help you save money and may allow you to immerse yourself in the experience of living like a local.


4. Support Local Businesses

Eat at locally-owned restaurants, shop at markets selling locally-produced goods, and support eco-friendly tour operators and businesses that prioritise sustainability. If you’re not sure about where to find the best locally-owned businesses, who better to ask than the locals themselves? Just check in with the locals – not only can this help you find the best spots but it can immerse you in local culture.


5. Conserve Energy and Water

Practice energy and water conservation habits in your accommodations just as you would at home, such as turning off lights and air conditioning when leaving your room, recycling and taking shorter showers. Remember, just because you’re on holiday, doesn’t mean you should kick your family sustainable practices to the curb.



6. Leave No Trace (LNT)

Ever heard of the saying, “Leave No Trace”? This means leave everywhere you travel to just as you find it. This means no litter, don’t disturb wildlife, and so on. Try to always LNT and stay aware of the local ecological environment.


7. Skip The Souvenirs

Not only should you try to pack light when going on your trip, but try not to be tempted by masses of souvenirs while you’re out there. While supporting local businesses is important, steer clear of all the heavily plastic-packaged souvenirs, however much they catch your eye.

Packing light can also help to reduce the weight of your luggage, which in turn reduces fuel consumption during transportation.


8. Respect Wildlife

We may all want to take a snap of interesting wildlife when we see it abroad. But try and observe this wildlife from a distance and refrain from participating in activities that exploit or harm animals.

Follow designated trails and respect protected natural areas to minimise your impact on the environment (again, always remember to LNT!)


9. Walk or Bike

Besides just getting to your holiday destination by public transport, try to explore your destination on foot or by bicycle when you’re there.

This means instead of taking taxis to get here and there, minimise your carbon footprint even further and immerse yourself more fully in the local culture and environment by walking or biking to where you need to go.


10. Offset Your Carbon Footprint

The most drastic thing to do to compensate for the emissions produced during your travels is to invest in carbon offset programs. Several organisations offer credits that fund renewable energy projects or tree-planting initiatives. While these can be expensive, they can certainly give you peace of mind as you travel the world.