Sustainable travelling: 8 tips for a green vacation

Paulina Kulczycki

After two years of strict travel restrictions, we can finally travel with more freedom again – and a lot of us are taking full advantage of that! But our hunger for holiday and wild destinations takes a heavy toll on climate. As conscious consumers and climate activists, we therefore ask ourselves: is sustainable travelling possible? At SANVT, we reveal some tips on how to have a greener holiday, and found some ways to enjoy your trip more consciously.

Sustainable travelling SANVT 8 tips

Choose destinations close to home

Sustainable travelling is easier said than done. Because let's face it: we're all drawn to far away, exotic places. But do we always have to travel across the world to enjoy a beautiful holiday? Needless to say that with limited vacation, distant travel destinations can only be reached by plane and generate immense amounts of greenhouse gas emissions. But even when travelling to closer destinations, we often opt out of convenience for the fastest, cheapest and easiest mode of transportation, a low-cost flight, when we could consider trains, buses or carpooling. And since most of flight emissions happen during takeoff and landing, short-haul flights are even less worth taking.

Sustainable travelling therefore means avoiding flights as much as possible and choosing destinations with shorter routes that we can reach by cleaner means. Fortunately, most of us still have plenty of culture-filled cities, as well as gorgeous beaches, islands and mountainous landscapes within easy reach, which we can get to in an environmentally conscious way. 

Sustainable travelling SANVT packing list

Travel light

To further minimize emissions during transportation, we should also travel light. Why? Because a light suitcase adds less weight to the means of transportation and, accordingly, requires less energy to be transported. What should not be missing in your light luggage though, are of course sustainable and fair fashion basics, like the lightweight t-shirt by SANVT, which is perfect for the summer due to the light mixed fabric of lyocell and cotton. Otherwise, we recommend you bring a water bottle, as well as coral-friendly sunscreen, solid zero-waste shampoos, natural soaps, a bamboo toothbrush, a shopping bag, and a metal straw.

Sustainable travelling SANVT summer t-shirt

Offsetting CO2 emissions

Of course, every round-trip leaves an environmental footprint – no matter what mode of transportation you use and no matter how light your luggage may be. That is why it’s important to consider offsetting the unavoidable emissions we create. Some trusted partners like Project Wren or Atmosfair do a great job at making this process easy, transparent and affordable. CO2 offsetting is definitely not a silver bullet for climate neutrality and the fight against the climate crisis, but it is definitely an important and necessary endeavour of climate activism. Whenever you travel any distance, have it calculated and offset.

That's why we at SANVT also offset the CO2 emissions from every item in our collection and also plant one tree for every essential we sell. You can read more about our climate promise here.

Book sustainable accommodations

If you're making an effort to live as sustainably as possible at home, you're probably sourcing green electricity, buying furniture made from recycled wood, using sustainable textiles for bedding and towels, separating your trash, cooking with seasonal and plant-rich ingredients, trying to avoid plastic, and cleaning your home with eco-friendly products (maybe you even make them yourself!). And these are exactly the same efforts we should be making when travelling. So instead of booking into an all-inclusive hotel that doesn't take any initiative on sustainability, there are now a lot of certified organic hotels, eco-resorts, campsites and farms that specialize in sustainable hospitality in all aspects.

Portals like Bookitgreen, BookDifferent, Fairweg or Good Travel will help you find eco-friendly accommodations on your travels that put at least as much effort into going green as you do at home!

Sustainable travelling SANVT shop local

Shop local

No matter where you travel, you’ll find corporations like McDonalds, Starbucks and H&M on every corner in even the most remote places in the world. But sustainable travelling also means sustainable local consumption. So make sure to support local shops, designer stores, small businesses and regional, seasonal food – even better if vegan and organic. By doing so, you'll not only be supporting a more sustainable economy, but also the locals, instead of soulless major corporations that we, as conscious consumers, want to say goodbye to anyway.

Leave the place better than you found it

Whether on a beach vacation or city trip, it's always a good example to leave the place better than you found it. This not only means always carrying your water bottle, reusable straw and shopping bag with you to avoid single-use plastic, but also avoiding trash on the go, or even picking it up from the beach or street. Many resorts now have trash collection activities on the beach, tree planting initiatives, or other ways to support nature conservation. In this way, we contribute a little bit towards leaving a greener footprint on our trip.

Sustainable travelling SANVT soft tourism

Treating the culture with respect

Respectful interaction with nature also goes hand in hand with conscious tourism – in other words, respectful interaction with the culture and local traditions. Many tourists travel to Mallorca or Bali and behave as if the world belongs to them, with no regard for local customs. However, as a traveller, we are guests in a foreign country and should respect the culture, traditions and religion prevailing there and adapt accordingly. Thus, conscious tourism makes sustainable travelling even more mindful.

Say no to tourist attractions involving animal cruelty

Last but not least, we would like to draw attention to many tourist attractions that either harm nature or involve animal cruelty. Whether elephant camps in Thailand, safaris in South Africa, bullfights in Madrid or the circus around the corner: wild animals are often exploited as a tourist attraction, kept in captivity and abused. In many countries (including in Europe) there are no strict laws against cruelty to animals or for animal welfare – and even if there are, they are often disregarded.

So steer clear of any attractions that include wild animals and instead get involved in local animal welfare. Find out how you can help four-legged friends in need, which animal welfare organizations you can donate to, or which animal shelters might need your help.  

Sustainable travelling: our conclusion

With these 8 valuable tips for conscious tourism, sustainable travelling is definitely possible. If we minimize our exotic explorations and instead visit the natural parks and cities around us, we've already taken a giant step in the right direction to reduce our ecological footprint. So we can enjoy our vacation with a good (and green) conscience!

And if you still need to dress up with sustainable and fair basics for your green-cation, you will certainly find what you are looking for in our online store.


Photo by Anastasios Moiras