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How to Travel Sustainably on a Budget

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How to Travel Sustainably on a Budget

Date: Jun 28, 2022
Author: Sarah Valencia 526 No Comments

Sustainable travel has been regarded as a somewhat luxurious form of vacation when it was first introduced for chic eco-hotels and expensive experiences off the grid. And although this is not completely wrong, it is mostly not the case for sustainable traveling altogether. In most situations, sustainable traveling not only wants to focus on saving the planet and removing our carbon footprint, but it also encourages reducing costs, which makes it more sustainable for you!

We wanted to show you a few ways we believe can save you costs while traveling, without jeopardizing your experience and also keeping it as sustainable as possible, both to help you and the planet.

A sustainable place to stay

Staying in hotels is usually the norm when traveling, however, hostels, which are becoming more popular by the minute, are a great option to save you some bucks while also enriching your experience. You will be meeting new friends along the way as spaces are shared at hostels, and it is definitely way cheaper than your conventional hotel. Although apps like Roomster will primarily help you find a long-term roommate, in many cases it also offers short stays with someone else who will share your space during your visit and help you save on rent costs.

Booking places through apps can also save you some money sometimes as they have specific offers and sales, such as Airbnb lowering the price of your stay if you choose to stay for longer than 2 weeks in a location.

sustainable travel - hostel
Unconventional Hostel

Reuse, reuse and reuse more

Even though it might be tempting to go the easy route on vacation and use everything disposable during your stay, there is nothing that will help the environment more right now than reusing what you use on the daily as much as possible. Because of this, we recommend bringing your own water bottle/thermos/tumbler everywhere so you can ask to be served in it or simply take advantage of the soda fountain with your own cup.

The same rule applies to utensils, which we recommend be wooden so it’s light in your backpack, and reusable bags if you go shopping anywhere. It might seem small, but every time you are not using disposable materials, the Earth is slowly healing from having less waste in landfills.

sustainable travel - reusable white water bottle
Reusable water bottle

Go public or go home!

Sometimes it feels like the easiest way to go to explore as much as possible is to rent a car during your vacation, so you have total independence as to where you go, however, this is both very detrimental to the environment and your pocket. With cities increasingly offering rented transportation for free, we recommend going for the public bikes offered by many cities or renting them at a much lower cost than a car.

Yes, you will be going at a much slower pace, but this also means you will have more time between locations to truly explore and take in the view and interact with the place you are visiting, the sustainable travel way. This also applies to scooters in the case you are moving around a big city, where it is actually more fun to go around in them than using a taxi because it will spare you of some annoying traffic.

In addition, use buses and trains as much as you can and avoid air travel, if possible, as not only will it be more expensive but also worse for the environment, being one of the main contributors of CO2 emissions in the atmosphere.

sustainable travel - biking in amsterdam
Biking in Amsterdam

Choose sustainable, choose local

It might be too obvious to mention, but we cannot stress it enough. Shopping local, be it a farmers’ market or a local café/restaurant, will always be better for your pocket and to help the community you are visiting. This is also quite eco-friendly, as shopping and having local experiences usually help reduce transportation costs and emissions for the products you are purchasing and is most likely helping a family in the area keep their business alive.

This does mean ditching fast-food chains as well. Even though in some cases it might be less expensive to shop there, taking into account your overall health and the wellbeing of the place you are visiting, we recommend always trying your best to support local businesses!

sustainable travel - farmers market
Shops at Farmer’s Market

Apps to the rescue

In a world where our lives can often be contained in the palm of our hand, apps on your phone will always be a resourceful way to further connect you to and save at your destination. From couchsurfing apps to the city’s local app to inform you of transportation updates, events, and perhaps even weather alerts, apps can be your best friends during a trip. This also includes ridesharing, looking for good local spots through reviewing apps, good deals for booking stays and connecting with locals who can show you around.

Not only will apps make you more aware of the place you visit, but also help you save on some good deals on your sustainable travel adventure!

sustainable travel - apps on phone
Using apps on a smartphone

Give back to the community

Our last tip, which is tied with sustainable travel as well, is dedicated to those who are up for anything and have a soft spot for helping the community in any capacity. Volunteering programs will help you with your stay in exchange for your service depending on how deep you want to go, as it can be for a few days or an entire summer. Volunteering could also mean working in exchange for goods, such as food, or being able to stay somewhere when money is short. Although this is definitely not an option for the faint of heart, those that are a few more adventurous can definitely consider this as a good alternative for saving on food and lodging, which are usually the biggest expenses during a trip.

Additional to saving money and feeling good about helping out, this will give you a deep immersion into communities and cultures that will help you appreciate the diversity all around the world, which should ultimately always be the main purpose of your travels.

These 6 tips have gotten many of us to save a few bucks here and there, which at the end of the trip can mean a good amount of money! This will not only help you travel more often as costs will be spared but also do so in a more sustainable way for the planet. What better than traveling often and helping out communities and the environment?

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