How To Plan and Take a Sustainable Trip

How To Plan and Take a Sustainable Trip

Last Updated on February 21, 2023

Are you an environmentalist by heart? Do you want to keep the Earth safe but also have a fun time exploring? Then, it’s time that you plan and take a sustainable trip!

Sustainability in travel means that you are making the most of the local community’s resources which you are visiting. It also means that your actions keep the Earth clean and protected with as little carbon dioxide emissions as possible. 

Here are tips and tricks to follow when planning and taking a sustainable trip nationally or internationally. Pack your bags and get ready for adventure-sustainable adventure, that is!

Choose an Ecotourism-Friendly Destination

First, choose an ecotourism-friendly destination. Ecotourists are interested in seeing natural attractions while practicing sustainable efforts to keep the Earth safe and protected during their journey. 

Choose a destination with many natural destinations to explore. Rather than booking with a larger tour operating company, choose a local small touring business. 

Destinations with the following attractions are more than likely ecotourism-friendly:

  • National parks
  • World Heritage Sites
  • Campgrounds
  • Rainforests 
  • Natural conservation sites 
  • Bayshores 
  • Beaches 
  • Nature preserves 

Plan To Use Your Smartphone Only When You Need It

Be mindful of when you are using your smartphone on your trip. Of course, take as many pictures and videos as possible to capture memories. However, do not let documenting the experiences take away from truly enjoying what’s in front of you. 

Give your family members and friends a quick text with a picture if they want to see how your trip is going. Invite them to look at your social media page if you decide to upload photos there. Keep phone calls or video chats short to minimize your carbon footprint.

A newer smartphone model lowers your carbon footprint because it optimizes operations without expending as much energy. Using your smartphone for at least 10 hours daily can emit carbon dioxide emissions of 90 kilograms. 

Select Only Sustainable Hotels 


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Plan your sustainable trip by selecting a hotel that is certified sustainable. Simply do a Google search that says “certified sustainable hotels in (insert name of destination)” or “eco-friendly hotels in (insert destination).” 

What makes a hotel sustainable are the materials that were used to build it, the green energy they use to power the building, and the supporting amenities that do not have a bad influence on the Earth. 

For example, Hotel Nueva Vida in Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico, reports their green efforts as follows: 

  • Participation in the Tulum Sea Turtle Festival, which annually takes place in the middle of October. 
  • Helps with a local reforestation program.
  • Cleans seaweed from the local beaches. 
  • Participates in regular clean-up crews to make the beaches sanitary and enjoyable for all families visiting the area. 

Get started finding where you will lodge during your sustainable trip on Motel Matcher. Learn about the local motels and hotels in any area of the United States to plan which sustainable lodging you will choose.  

Camp at Your Destination

Rather than frequent a hotel, save money and camp at your destination instead. Some sustainable hotels cost hundreds of dollars per night. Camping in a tent or the traditional way under the stars in a sleeping bag lessens how much energy you may be expending watching television or doing other electronics-related activities, even at a sustainable hotel. 

TAKEAWAY: Take it a step further, and do not burn any fires while camping. Burning wood causes 2.5 times more CO2 emissions compared to creating fire utilizing natural gas. Wood burning creates 30 times higher CO2 emissions than burning coal. Instead, purchase a solar cooker where you can use the power of the sun to cook food if you prefer any hot meals. 

Hence, plan to pack some freeze-dried and other ready-made snacks to eat in between meals. Place everything in containers that you can take home with you. Alternatively, you can reassure them that they are already in packaging that can compost naturally into the Earth’s soil. 

Explore the World Around You

Sure, relaxing in a sustainable hotel is a great way to refresh, knowing that you are not increasing your carbon footprint on the environment. However, take the time to explore everything around you at your travel destination. 

Before you take your trip, look up the best destinations in that area. Browse a museum, visit a national park, and plan a hike or picnic for that day, or support a local small business rather than going to a big box store for your needs and wants. 

Stay Near All the Hotspots To Travel by Foot or Bike

Did you know that a gallon of gasoline can emit almost 8,900 kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions? Rather than renting a vehicle to explore your destination, be more sustainable in helping out the environment by choosing more mindful transportation methods. 

Choose a lodging place near many of the hotspots you plan to explore so you can walk on foot or bike to your destinations. Of course, these modes of transportation will mean it takes longer to go from place to place. However, you will enjoy more sites of your destination and learn more thoroughly about the culture and surrounding businesses and organizations. 

If you were driving in a vehicle, you may have passed by a business or tourist attraction that could have captured your interest if you knew about it. Sustainable transportation not only helps the environment but also gives you many more lessons as you take the time to learn the area more in-depth. 

Carpool With Friends and Family

If you have a destination where you must use a vehicle to travel, opt for carpooling with friends and family joining you on your trip. Use a vehicle rental only for the longer destinations and save gas when going on shorter trips where you can walk or bicycle to the place instead. 

Carpooling reduces your carbon emissions while making it easier to coordinate longer-distance trips. You will already be inside the vehicle with your family and friends, so there would be no need to plan a meeting place since you are not taking separate cars. 

Top Sustainable Destinations in the United States

If you are ready to take your sustainable trip but you are not sure where you want to go, take a look at the top sustainable destinations in the United States. We hope this list inspires you. 

Orlando, Florida


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We know the most-visited tourist attractions are Universal Orlando Resort and Disneyland. To remain on a sustainable trip, explore Orlando’s natural environmental destinations. Explore the 23-mile-long West Orange Trail or explore what nature has to offer at the Split Oak Forest Wildlife and Environmental Area. 



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Hawaii is a tropical paradise full of awe-inspiring forests and crystal-blue bodies of water. In Maui, go whale watching and enjoy a delicious packed picnic lunch. If you prefer a guided island tour, sign up for an event with the Sustainable Tourism Association of Hawaii. Visit Oahu for the best hiking trails to explore the nature around you. 


Oregon is high on the list of sustainable states in America, with 49% of expended energy utilized from renewable energy sources. Go mountain climbing and site seeing at the Columbia River Gorge. Witness the largest waterfall in that location, which is Multnomah Falls measuring 620 feet high. 

Visit Silver Falls State Park to watch waterfalls, hike, bike, or explore nature which is the biggest state park in the area. South Falls is the tallest waterfall to witness during your trip, at 177 feet high. 


If you are ready to take a sustainable trip, start planning today. Taking a sustainable trip involves keeping your carbon footprint low with limited smartphone usage, mindful transportation, and sustainable lodging. 

The world is your itinerary!

About Maria Kennedy

Maria Kennedy is the managing editor at Travel for Food Hub. Maria is on a full-tilt mission to share local food and travel inspiration. When she is not writing about food and travel, startups or social media, she is enjoying her time with her boys in sunny Spain.

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