How to minimize your environmental impact as a traveler

How To Minimize Your Environmental Impact As A Traveler

There are countless things we love about travel – trying new foods, seeing incredible sights, meeting interesting people – the list goes on. But there is one drawback to travel – the impact it has on our environment.

And depending on the way you travel, it, unfortunately, can have rather large ramifications. But don’t fret too much, there are many measures you can take to minimize your environmental impact as a traveler. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

How to minimize your environmental impact - reusable bottles

Use refillable shampoo and conditioner bottles

Rather than buying those little travel size shampoos and conditioners from the store every time you head out on a trip, invest in a few small refillable bottles and take the shampoo and conditioner you already have at home. It will not only save those bottles from hitting the landfills but it also ends up saving you money.

How to minimize your environmental impact - water bottle

Bring your own water bottle

Single-use bottles of water are quickly creating an environmental crisis. Don’t add to the problem by buying a new water bottle wherever you go. Bring your own water bottle that can be refilled at water fountains, restaurants, or hotels.

How to minimize your environmental impact - natural sunscreen

Wear Natural Sunscreen

If you’re planning on being in any natural body of water whether that be an ocean, lake, or river, what you wear on your body has an impact on the water. There are two chemicals found in some sunscreens that are believed to contribute to the bleaching of the coral reefs – oxybenzone and octinoxate.

Even if you won’t be near coral, it’s still a good idea to wear sunscreens that won’t harm the plants and animals around you. Not sure how to tell if your sunscreen is safe? Check out this guide for reef-safe sunscreens.

How to minimize your environmental impact - carbon footprint

Calculate your carbon footprint and donate to help offset it

A carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases produced to, directly and indirectly, support human activities, usually expressed in equivalent tons of carbon dioxide (CO2). One of the biggest culprits in adding to your carbon footprint while traveling is air travel.

Taking a flight is unavoidable in most cases if you are traveling to a foreign country. To help offset the negative effect, you can calculate the impact of your flight and donate to a worthy environmental cause. Both Delta and United both have carbon offset programs.

How to minimize your environmental impact - recycle

Look up the recycling practices of where you’ll be visiting

Not everywhere has the same recycling practices. Some places are able to recycle a larger variety of products than others. Look up what can be recycled in the destinations you’re planning on visiting and then make an effort to sort your trash and recycle what you can.

How to minimize your environmental impact - souvenirs

Stop bringing pieces of nature home as souvenirs

Though you may only be taking one small shell or rock from your travels, you may be having a larger impact on the environment than you think. It may look like a discarded piece of material that is of no use but shells and rocks can help stabilize beaches or anchor plants, act as shelter for a variety of organisms, be used in birds nests, and even break down and provide nutrients in the soil.

Even if you buy a shell at a souvenir shop, you are contributing to a negative impact on the environment. A lot of those shells still had living organisms inhabiting them and were subsequently plucked and discarded.


If you stay aware of the impact of your actions and do a little proactive planning, you can minimize the environmental impact your travels have on our world.

Zephyr Adventures is committed to offsetting the environmental impact of our tours by making an annual donation to the Conservation Alliance.

6 comments on “How To Minimize Your Environmental Impact As A Traveler

  1. Thank you so much for this much-needed public service nature conservation plea! Now, back to that page of “good” sun screens…

  2. We are stewards of the earth and this is a lovely post to remind us that conservation is possible at many scales, in many ways, allowing participation by all. A small effort by many can impact big change.

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