Earth Day 2023: Wanderlust editors share their sustainable travel tips

This Earth Day, we consider the best ways to make a positive impact while travelling. These are our top tips to being a more conscious traveller...

1 mins

What does sustainable travel mean to you? This now widely-used term, according to the World Tourism Organisation, refers to travel "that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities."

As the world moves towards a more conscious and considerate way of travelling, the more we seek advice on how to be more responsible travellers. The more knowledge available on how to travel more responsibly, the better we have the opportunity to become as travellers.

With this in mind, Wanderlust’s experienced editors have offered their thoughts on what responsible and sustainable travel can really mean, sharing their expert tips on how to be a more conscious traveller.

Make an effort to book indigenous experiences, says George Kipouros (Shuttersotck)

Make an effort to book indigenous experiences, says George Kipouros (Shuttersotck)

George Kipouros, Editor-in-Chief

When staying in a destination with an Indigenous or First Nation community, make an effort to book community-owned accommodations, tours and activities. Your support will go a long way and you'll also be experiencing the destination with the people that know it best!

Lyn Hughes, Founding Editor

Food is such an important and enjoyable part of our travels but avoid needlessly imported food. Avoid chain restaurants and avoid wasteful buffets. Instead, try the local dishes, eat in local restaurants and eat local seafood.

Try eating local dishes, says Lyn Hughes (Shutterstock)

Try eating local dishes, says Lyn Hughes (Shutterstock)

Book tour operators who work with local guides, says Katie McGonagle (Shutterstock)

Book tour operators who work with local guides, says Katie McGonagle (Shutterstock)

Katie McGonagle, Deputy Editor

Do your homework and book with a responsible tour operator. One that works with local guides, people in the destination, visiting community projects, family-run restaurants and other local enterprises to ensure that the economic benefits of tourism reach the people in the destination. Most responsible operators will discuss their work with local communities with you in advance, so you know where your money is going before you even book.

Jessica Reid, Digital Editor

Minimise your plastic footprint on your travels. A few steps to get you started include taking a reusable water bottle fitted with a filter. My favourite brand is Water-to-Go, especially now they’ve released a bottle made from sugarcane. Also carry reusable cutlery, so you can say no to any single-use knives and forks. Stay at hotels that ban single-use plastics in their hotel sustainability policy - as well as taking steps to reduce their carbon impact. And finally, take any plastic back home with you, especially if you can't locate any recycling services. 

Stay at plastic-free hotels, such as An Villa in Hoi An, says Jess Reid (Jessica Reid)

Stay at plastic-free hotels, such as An Villa in Hoi An, says Jess Reid (Jessica Reid)

Can you swap short-haul flights for trains? Give it a go, says Karen Edwards (Shutterstock)

Can you swap short-haul flights for trains? Give it a go, says Karen Edwards (Shutterstock)

Karen Edwards, Sustainability Editor

If you’re someone who travels regularly, the most powerful change you can make is to take fewer flights to reduce your carbon footprint. Perhaps you could swap short haul flights for trains, ferries and coach journeys and discover the adventure that comes with slow travel. If flying, spend longer in your chosen destination to make the most of those precious air miles. Fewer stopovers also mean fewer emissions so plan your journey with this in mind.

Read next: Europe's best rail journeys

Visit our Travel Green List hub to see more sustainable destinations, hotels, tour operators and transport companies 

Visit the hub

Related Articles