How To Make Your Next Vacation More Eco-friendly

family camping

As time passes, more people are seeking ways to live a more environmentally friendly lifestyle. There is a wealth of information available on climate change and how we can make a positive impact without completely disrupting our lives.

There are numerous small steps that we can take to make a difference. For instance, finding ways to make vacations more eco-friendly is one such step.

Following the pandemic, people realized the importance of taking breaks from work and spending time outside. While this is vital, it is equally important to do so in a sustainable manner.

If you’re looking to make your next vacation more environmentally friendly, there are plenty of simple steps you can take. You could consider a staycation or camping trip, opt for the more eco-friendly flight itinerary, cook your own food, and use public transportation to get around town. With these easy tips, you can enjoy your vacation while making a positive impact on the planet.

Types of Environmentally Conscious Vacations

Sometimes the biggest shift you can make starts with choosing the type of vacation that you’ll go on. While many people think of vacation as a long plane ride to a tropical beach, it doesn’t always have to be that way.

Many other vacation styles can help you get away from home without going too far. It’s amazing how far from home you can feel when you put some thought and effort into exploring the places that are all around you.


A staycation is a great alternative to traveling far from home as it can be a fun and eco-friendly way to enjoy time off. With a staycation, you can explore your local area, try new activities, and support local businesses.

This might include a hotel stay downtown, a night out at a new restaurant, and catching a performance by a local band. Or find the museums you’ve overlooked by doing a walking tour of your own city or town.

Not only does this reduce your carbon footprint, but it also allows you to appreciate the beauty and culture of your own community. Plus, with less travel, you can save money and reduce the stress of packing and navigating unfamiliar places.

Overall, a staycation can be a relaxing and enjoyable way to recharge while minimizing your impact on the environment.


Camping is a unique and environmentally conscious way to travel. By spending time in nature and leaving technology behind, you can reconnect with the natural world and appreciate its beauty.

Camping also allows you to reduce your environmental impact by using fewer resources and producing less waste. You can cook your own food over a campfire, use a reusable water bottle, and pack out all your trash.

Additionally, camping provides an opportunity to learn about conservation and how to leave the environment in better condition than you found it. By choosing to camp, you can have a memorable trip while taking steps to preserve the environment for future generations.

Local Vacations

If you still want to get farther away from home, try looking for local vacations. When I was growing up, we often got on the train and took it two hours north to Chicago, where we would visit art museums, parks, and countless restaurants.

These mini-vacations were still exciting to my entire family. We would ride the train and watch the cornfields of Illinois pass by to end up in a massive city filled with entertainment. We got a vacation that was just like traveling hundreds of miles to New York, but with a short and fun train ride.

By reducing the distance you need to travel, you are reducing the amount of transportation-related carbon emissions that are released into the atmosphere. A short drive or train ride can take you to nearby destinations for hiking, sightseeing, or relaxing in a new environment.

Try looking closer to home for a trip that can still be fun for everyone!

How To Make Long-Distance Vacations More Eco-friendly

Sometimes there’s a vacation destination that you just have to go to. Those places can often be far away, but you can still find ways to make those trips more eco-friendly.

Choose the Most Direct Flight

Taking a flight can have a significant impact on carbon emissions, but there are several ways to reduce your impact when traveling by air. One option is to choose flights with fewer stopovers, as takeoff and landing contribute significantly to emissions.

Additionally, you can offset your carbon emissions by donating to a carbon offset program, which invests in renewable energy projects or carbon reduction initiatives to balance out the emissions from your flight.

By taking these steps, you can help reduce the environmental impact of your air travel.

Cook Your Food

Cooking your own food while on vacation can be a more environmentally friendly (and more pocketbook-friendly) option compared to eating out for every meal. When you eat out, you are likely to consume more processed and packaged foods, which generate more waste and require more resources to produce.

Cooking your own meals allows you to control the ingredients, reduce waste, and support local food systems by shopping at local markets.

Additionally, cooking with locally sourced ingredients can reduce the carbon emissions associated with transporting food long distances. By preparing your own meals, you can also save money and reduce the number of single-use items, such as plastic utensils and containers.

Overall, cooking your own food while on vacation can be a sustainable and enjoyable way to experience new flavors and support the environment.

Makeover Your Gear

Replacing your travel gear with more environmentally friendly items can be a simple but impactful way to reduce your carbon footprint when traveling. Choosing items made from sustainable materials, such as bamboo or recycled plastic, can help reduce waste and prevent the use of virgin resources.

For example, replacing disposable water bottles with a reusable one, and single-use plastic bags with reusable shopping bags, can significantly reduce the amount of plastic waste generated during your trip.

Additionally, investing in durable gear that lasts longer can reduce the frequency of replacements, saving money in the long run. Ultralight backpacks for longer, more difficult backpacking trips are a great example of this. Ultralight backpacking gear makes good-quality gear out of less material, meaning more can be made with less material being produced.

By choosing more sustainable travel gear, you can travel with a clearer conscience and help protect the environment for future generations.

Use Public Transportation

Public transportation, such as buses, trains, and subways, is a more environmentally friendly option than driving a car. They can move many people at once, reducing the number of individual cars on the road and thereby lowering carbon emissions.

Additionally, they often use cleaner fuel sources and are more energy-efficient. By using public transportation, you can save money on fuel and parking costs while also reducing traffic congestion and improving air quality.

Moreover, public transportation promotes social interaction and reduces social isolation by connecting people from different communities. Ultimately, choosing to use public transportation can significantly reduce your carbon footprint and improve your quality of life.