Do you want to travel sustainably? These 14 habits will help you with that


Many of you will agree that travel enriches life in ways other activities can’t. Traveling is almost like therapy because it strengthens mental health, improves communication and organizational skills, and broadens our horizons. Also, whenever you interact with new languages, scents, tastes, people, and cultures, complex mental processes such as creativity and resourcefulness are nurtured along the way.

It has never been easier to travel than today – we can relatively painlessly reach any destination in the world and experience situations we will remember for a lifetime. However, accessibility to other destinations is partially responsible for environmental problems that we should not ignore.

The most problematic one is related to global warming, which is caused by the increasing emissions of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, the tourism sector accounts for about a tenth of greenhouse gas emissions. From taking airplane flights and boat rides to buying souvenirs and choosing accommodation – these are just some of the activities that contribute to the increased carbon footprint of the tourism sector.

76% of respondents want to travel more sustainably

Interestingly, last year’s survey, conducted by one of the largest online travel agencies, discovered that travellers are very aware of the problems with sustainability. The survey, with answers from more than 33,000 travellers from all over the world, revealed that 66% of travellers want to leave the places they visit better than when they arrived. Because of this, around 76% of respondents want to travel more sustainably.


Some travellers (43%) are even willing to pay a little more to support certified sustainable travel options. However, 49% of respondents pointed out that, due to rising living costs and the global energy crisis, sustainable travel options seem too expensive to them.

Additionally, more than half of them believe that there are not enough sustainable travel options, and 44% of them don’t even know where to find that kind of options. Respondents also showed some level of distrust in the validity of claims that certain accommodations operate sustainably.

Tourists are already traveling more sustainably

On the positive side, many travellers in the survey confirmed that they try to bring change into the world of tourism by making small and sustainable daily habits. For example, the number of travellers who turn off the air conditioning when they aren’t in their accommodations increased by 29% compared to the 2022 report. Also, more than half of the respondents (55%) travel with their own reusable water bottle, and 60% of them use the same towel multiple times.

Because of those positive results, we decided to make a list of sustainable habits that each of us can start applying on vacation.


14 steps that will make a difference

1. Don’t overpack

Pack light because the lighter the mode of transportation we travel with, the less energy it consumes. And when it consumes less energy, it emits less carbon dioxide.

2. Travel off-season and in groups

The most visited cities are not always sustainable, so if you travel to a popular and busy city, consider traveling off-season. In that case, not only will you benefit from cheaper flights and accommodations, but your contribution while you are staying there can also promote local economic growth and preserve jobs. Unfortunately, the seasonality of the tourist industry of many countries and cities is recognized as a global challenge for job security.

3. Fewer places for a longer time

Instead of trying to visit as many places as possible in just a few days, we advise you to stay longer in one location. In that case, you will have more relaxed sightseeing pace and you’ll reduce your carbon footprint. Besides that, you’ll get more opportunities to connect with the culture, gain a better understanding of local people, try more local food, and ultimately enrich your experience in a way that you might not pull off on a short trip.


4. Choose sustainable destinations

Look for cities that promote greener and cleaner practices and strive to improve the quality of life of their residents. In order to find them, look for the countries’ official certificates and awards. For example, Finland, Sweden, and Denmark are the top three countries in terms of sustainability, according to the Sustainable Development Report.

5. Turn off devices

When you are not in your accommodation, be sure to turn off the air conditioning, lights, chargers, and household appliances.

6. Reuse towels in accommodation

When staying at a hotel, it is common practice to hang towels to indicate that you want to continue using them. But if you throw them on the floor, they are considered dirty, and hotel staff will replace them with the new ones. It is recommended not to leave towels on the floor every day because washing machines consume a lot of energy and water. Interestingly, many hotels around the world encourage this habit by giving free drinks or meals in exchange for an unchanged towel.

7. Avoid single-use plastic as much as possible

Pre-purchase eco-friendly travel items, such as reusable items (glass or metal water bottles and food containers, canvas bags), clothing, and shoes made from sustainable materials (such as vegan leather and natural fibres), environmentally friendly toiletries (menstrual cup, reusable makeup pads, handkerchiefs), and so on. Also, refrain from using the free headphones that many airlines still offer. These are usually cheap and low-quality headphones that are used only once. After that, they are thrown away, unnecessarily polluting the environment.

8. Be cautious with sunscreen

For sunny destinations, pack sunscreen without harmful ingredients such as oxybenzone, octinoxate, nano titanium dioxide, and nano zinc oxide. Research has shown that chemicals in common commercial sunscreen can bleach and damage coral DNA.

Small habits for big changes

9. Separate waste whenever you can

When traveling, separate your waste according to the host’s instructions. Also, if it’s possible, don’t immediately throw away waste you gather outside of your accommodation; instead, when you get the opportunity, separate it properly.

10. Reduce food waste

Although you are on vacation and you probably want to try everything from the local cuisine, try to minimize your food waste. For example, if you cannot eat everything in a restaurant, ask the waiters to pack you the leftovers.

11. Try to use public transportation or walk

Try to use environmentally friendly transportation, such as buses and trains. Trains significantly emit less carbon than cars or airplanes. Buses provide affordable and cost-effective travel, and many of them use hybrid or electric vehicles. Public transportation reduces congestion, promotes cleaner air, and encourages socializing with other travellers. And if you have the opportunity, choose walking, biking or scooter riding to get around the city.

12. Support local and family businesses

When visiting a destination, buy locally and choose handmade items to help strengthen local small businesses and artisans. By buying products of traditional crafts, you are helping them preserve their heritage and pass on those skills through generations. Also, try to limit your purchases to things you really need and look for items that will last.

13. Respect the animals and the environment you visit

When visiting a destination, make sure you leave it as you found it – ideally even better. So, for example, in order to protect sensitive ecosystems, always follow marked trails, do not touch or disturb wild animals, and do not leave trash behind. Also, consider supporting conservation and nature protection projects by donating or volunteering during your trip. Through volunteering with a non-governmental organization, you can even get free accommodation, meals, or pocket money. If you are young, explore EU-funded volunteering opportunities here.

14. Support sustainable accommodation

If you want to travel sustainably, consider booking eco-friendly accommodation. For example, private tourist accommodation facilities in Dalmatia that have decided to make their business greener and to provide guests with a unique stay in harmony with nature and the local community proudly display the Dalmatia Green Eco-Certificate. This certificate has been recognized by the Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Croatia and Split-Dalmatia County.


In 2019, Sunce, as the certificate holder, concluded a cooperation agreement on the development of sustainable tourism with Split-Dalmatia County. Based on the agreement, the Dalmatia Green Certificate was included as one of the measures for improving the quality of the tourist offer in Split-Dalmatia County for the year 2019.

Whether you are an experienced traveller or planning your first adventure, we are sure that these tips will help you explore the world in an environmentally friendly and responsible way. Remember, if we can simultaneously protect the environment and satisfy our desire for exploration, maybe one day travel will become less harmful to our planet.