Begin the Shift

Take only Memories, Leave only footprints – Tips to keep in mind for a greener vacation

3 Mins read

Now that the world is slowly opening up again, there are many things to consider. If you are having a vacation with your family there are several ways you can make it friendlier to the environment.

How far a distance do you need to travel?

Explore local places, have a staycation or play tourist in local areas so that you don’t have to travel far. You can still camp or check into a hotel or bed and breakfast if you want to feel like you are away from home. You don’t have to go far to feel like you can switch off from work, school and chores. Lots of hotels and resorts have eco-friendly options now, where they generate power from solar panels or hydroelectric power, and where they recycle.

Choose the most eco-friendly transport that you can.

Driving, taking a train or bus, are all better options than flying in terms of carbon foot print. If you must fly, try to use companies with the most fuel efficient planes or airlines that have higher occupancy rates. If your airline doesn’t offer carbon offset, then can offset the carbon created by your travel by planting trees.

If you go away somewhere make sure to respect the local environment, flora and fauna.

Don’t litter, and make sure you take all your rubbish with you to dispose of responsibly.

Stay on trails and public footpaths, and don’t pick the flowers or plants.

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Avoid damaging recreational activities. Avoid sports and recreations which have a harmful impact on the environment. Or opt for places that take the environment into consideration. For example use a golf course that recycles water.

Wherever you stay, conserve and protect the water. Reuse your hotel towels and bed linens. Take showers rather than baths. Make sure you turn off taps. Use reusable water bottles and fill with your own drinking water where possible.

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Be aware of other things that can harm the water. For example, many sunscreens contain harmful chemicals that can be damaging to corals and reef life. Be aware of what you use and get non-toxic sunscreens. Research which ones are deemed to be reef safe. The bonus is that the non-toxic ones are also better for you and your children’s health.

Conserve energy too. Switch off air conditioning when you’re not using it. Or if in colder climates reduce heating, and the amount of hot water you use. Make sure you switch off lights or electricity when you’re not using them, like when you leave hotel rooms to go explore.

Recycle the waste that you can. Place plastic, paper and metal in applicable bins. Try to reuse and reduce as much as possible, in ways that you can think of. For example, bring your own thermos, or decline plastic straws.

Choose environmentally friendly local transport. Instead of hiring a rental car you can choose other options like trains or buses or rent a bike. Think about how many steps you can take if you explore things by foot. Better for your health and the environment – win-win!


If you feel you cannot avoid renting a car, perhaps because the place you are in is not safe for bicycling, there are options like electric or a hybrid cars that are greener choices.

Shop responsibly.

Be especially careful when buying souvenirs. Make sure nothing you buy is made from endangered animals or anything else that’s meant to stay local. Not only could it be illegal, but it’s also incredibly sad for the animals it came from. Think ivory, shell, or fur. Choose other things instead. Photos and memories, make great souvenirs without being harmful.

Rather than buy imported goods, spend your money on locally produced food, goods and services because this supports the local economy of the place you are visiting. It’s also a great way to try new things, and is much more energy efficient due to negated shipping and transportation emissions. Also by supporting locally owned businesses, you are helping a local community sustain itself.


All these tips can hopefully allow you to have a much greener vacation with your family.

You’re not alone. Share your experiences, tips, tricks; post your questions or even challenge what we’ve written! Let’s build an eco-conscious community together!

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