What is sustainable travel, and why is it important for all travelers to know about? Simply, sustainable travel means that one travels eco-consciously and with the environment, the local people and land, and the impact they make as a traveler on their mind. Sustainable travel is important due to many factors, such as climate change, struggling economies in poorer travel spots, erosion, and the number of people in popular travel spots.

One of the simplest ways to travel sustainably is to not contribute to the use of single-use plastic by bringing a reusable water bottle. Most developed countries have tap water that is safe to drink. If traveling in a location where the tap water is not safe to drink, tourists can ask hotel or restaurant staff to refill their water bottles as this water is almost always safe to drink. Travelers can also boil the tap water or use a SteriPen or purification tablets to sterilize the water.

Eco-friendly tour companies are another excellent choice when booking day trips or tours. Eco-conscious local tour companies are taking steps to be more aware of their impact on the environment. Look for companies that cap group sizes, use smaller, more eco-conscious vehicles, and choose not to hand out disposable headphones. Along these same lines, choose local when eating, shopping, and deciding on transportation. When your money goes into the local economy, this supports the local tradespeople instead of big corporations.

The environment takes a big hit by the countless airplanes that take off all over the world every day. Sustainable travelers can be part of the solution by choosing airlines that use renewable biofuels, like Qantas, American Airlines, JetBlue, Lufthansa, and KLM. Also, trains and public transportation are good choices when flying is not necessary.

If travelers are not able to stay in locally owned accommodation, they should be conscious about how they behave in their hotel. First, towels do not need to be washed every day, so hanging them up tells the hospitality staff that they can skip washing them. Also, travelers can choose not to use the small plastic toiletry bottles that just end up in a landfill. Guests can fill up reusable bottles with whatever products they need. Lastly, they can utilize that “do not disturb” sign so excess water and chemicals do not need to be used during a single stay.