Packing a few useful, planet-friendly items and a bit of pre-departure research makes eco-conscious traveling both easy and rewarding.

Travelers who are adamant about leaving as few carbon footprints as possible while on the go will find that green accommodation, eating options, transportation, and activities are becoming easier to find in more and more locations. However, as with any trip, research beforehand will help ensure that travelers can be eco-conscious at their desired destination.

Three Essential Eco Items for Travelers

By packing a few staples, travelers can reduce waste and clutter. The following items will surely come in handy on most vacations.

1. Bamboo utensils are re-usable, easy to carry in a recyclable case, are lightweight, and sturdier than plastic silverware.  I love this set because it’s very travel friendly.

2. Cloth or re-usable bags are perfect for taking to a local market or out shopping. Most Europeans carry baskets or bring their own bags to hold their food purchases. In some countries, grocery stores will charge customers for plastic bags.  We use this mesh type because they take up no room in your luggage, and are so beach friendly.  All of the sand shakes off your things as you walk.  

3. A stainless steel water bottle is environmentally friendly and saves travelers a lot of pocket change from buying plastic water bottles that are extremely pricey in touristy areas. First, make sure that the local water is safe to drink.  I love the insulated stainless steel from Pura or Hydroflask. 

Eco-Friendly Sustainable Green Travel

Easy to Find Green Accommodations

Eco-conscious travelers should research low-impact hotels and depending on location, camping options beforehand. There are more and more hotels that cater to the green lifestyle. Travelers can narrow down their search by perusing a green rating system to see which accommodations provide recycling containers, serve organic food, compost the leftovers, use environmentally safe cleaning materials, and maintain energy saving utilities.

Public Transportation Versus Cars

Taking a bus, subway, or even a bike may be less convenient than having a car, but public transportation generally proves to be cheaper, is usually more adventurous as puts travelers in the middle of a city’s local culture, and is a greener way of getting from point A to B. In order to become familiar with a location’s public transportation and avoid later frustration, it’s best to research schedules and what’s available ahead of time.

Otherwise, renting a few bikes or making time for long walks allows visitors to see hidden parts of a city in fresh air while getting physical exercise.

Eat and Shop Locally When Traveling

It’s a classic mistake to not taste the local cuisine, shop at a local grocer, and to select at least one or two country specialities from the markets. Although chain restaurants and grocers may be less intimidating in a foreign country, the food found within has traveled almost as far as the the visitor him/herself. What better chance to try foods that may be out of one’s normal radius of fresh ingredients than while on vacation?

Ecotourism Experiences for Everyone

For those who want to try something new while discovering new ways to cause less damage to the planet, there are several organizations that offer a variety of ways to have a green getaway, from volunteer farm stays to luxury eco spa packages.

Going green on vacation makes for a unique experience that not only helps the environment, but makes the average traveler step out of his comfort zone and better understand their visited destination.

I live on an Eco-Friendly Island in South Carolina, so if you are looking for a fun nearby sustainable option, please consider Hilton Head Island!

For more on the eco-friendly tourism movement, check out this article by CNBC!

Homebodies, I didn’t forget about you guys. 100 ways to go green with your families is one of my favorite mom blogs ever!

Eco-Friendly Sustainable Green Travel