crystal huskey

Are You a Sustainable Tourist? 

You value sustainability in your day-to-day life, but do you practice it while you’re traveling? 
Are You a Sustainable Tourist? 
Courtesy of Atmosfair

It’s much more challenging to be “green” while you’re hitting the road, but it is possible to have a positive impact on the environment, society and local economies while you’re on-the-go.

Not all vacation destinations are created equal. Many popular tourist destinations like Amsterdam, Venice, and even Reykjavik are victims of overtourism, according to National Geographic. Overtourism is disruptive to the local way of life and increases the cost of living for those who do live in the area. Mass travel can also pose real threats to natural and cultural treasures.

Some of the worst offenders vacation-wise are cruise lines. They often  deposit  thousands of people at one time onto small islands or other communities unequipped to deal with them.

In Barcelona, one of the world’s busiest cruise ports, officials are making changes to the laws surrounding mass tourism, and other port cities around the world are restricting the number of ships allowed to dock.

Even Amsterdam is working on tourist redistribution.  After decades of promoting itself as a tourist haven, Amsterdam is done and is instead focusing on damage control. They launched an “Enjoy and Respect” campaign last year, informing visitors of local customs, rules, and penalties.

Deciding where you’ll go and how you’ll get there are two of the most important questions you can ask yourself as you plan your trip. Once you’ve selected a sustainable destination, keeping your carbon footprint low while you travel is the next step.

Many airlines are now eco-friendly, including KLM, United and Quantas. You can check out other airlines at to see their carbon footprint. Try to fly direct if you can, since take-offs and landings create most of an airplane’s carbon emissions, according to Green Global Travel.

Taking a train is more sustainable than flying, so check out mass transportation as an option.

Are your accommodations sustainable? A hotel guest generates around two pounds of waste per day, according to the International Tourism Partnership, so knowing that the environment isn’t worse off for your stay is a good thing! Many hotels claim to be “green,” but do your research and ask questions if you want to confirm that the hotel actually takes part in sustainable practices.

Remember to practice the same basic environmentally-friendly habits you have at home while you’re traveling. Reuse towels and bring reusable containers with you. Turn the lights off when you leave a room and the water off while you’re brushing your teeth or shaving.

Bring a reusable water bottle with you to avoid plastic bottles. The “leave no trace” principle applies here — leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but pictures.

The big thing while traveling is respect: for the environment, the culture and the people who live there. 


Crystal Huskey is a content writer at, an online retailer of new and reconditioned PTACs, along with a full range of parts and accessories.

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