Diving into the world of Sustainable Travel. Are you?

Diving into the world of Sustainable Travel. Are you?

Caroline Kay
World Traveler’s Blog
5 min readJan 17, 2021


Droplet of water landing on a bright green leaf
Photo credit: Aaron Burden, Unsplash

I have been looking at Sustainability.

David Attenborough’s Netflix 2020 Film — “A Life on Our Planet” hit home on everything I have been thinking, reading, seeing — time to step up.

For most of my adult life I have been traveling, whether for personal fun holidays or for my “paying” job as an Events Planner/Producer. But it has only been in the last few years or so that I have really looked into being more conscious of my impact on the planet.

What is sustainability? From our old friend, the Oxford English Dictionary:

noun: sustainability

the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level.

  • “the sustainability of economic growth”

avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance.

  • “the pursuit of global environmental sustainability”

There are 3 pillars of sustainability — economic viability, environmental protection and social equity. Why 3 pillars? “Sustainability creates and maintains the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony that permit fulfilling the social, economic, and other requirements of present and future generations.”

“A new National Geographic survey of 3,500 adults in the U.S. reveals strong support for sustainability. That’s the good news. The challenge will be helping travelers take meaningful actions. According to the survey, while 42 percent of U.S. travelers would be willing to prioritize sustainable travel in the future, only 15 percent of these travelers are sufficiently familiar with what sustainable travel actually means.”

A small plant being held in the palm of a hand
Photo credit: Akil Mazumder, Pexels

Understanding Sustainability:

I have been scrolling the internet to understand more about travel and sustainability and how I can do to “do my bit”. In 2019 (the world we knew before Covid), I took over 45 flights that year — not very sustainable I hear you cry. 80% of them were for my work, however, if 2020 had anything to prove, it is that not all meetings need to be in person. A blog for another time.

You just need to hit “sustainable travel” in the search bar and tons of articles, tips and opinions will pop up. Some give advice that if you really want to do your bit… don’t travel, cars are being classed as the major culprits for CO2 omissions, use bikes where you can, carry your own water bottle etc. Some of the tips I personally find restricting or l feel like I will end up being a hermit not ever doing anything but others I have now added to my everyday life. From hours of scrolling, this article stood out — from Charlie and Luke, 2 UK travel bloggers and eco-conscious backpackers. “What is sustainable travel? (And how to be a sustainable traveller)

Below are a few things that I do today and some new adds to the list:

  • A rule that I brought into my life after spending a couple years as a nomad. If something is being added to my suitcase, something has to leave. I now have that with my home (obvs not with food!). New piece of clothing? Something has to leave. I try and wear out my clothes!
  • Do I always need to fly? Can I take a train to my destination? If I am with a group, maybe car sharing is a better way.

When I am exploring a city, you will find me on foot or speeding around on a bike. Love getting lost in a new place.

Photo of Caroline Kay on a Lime bike exploring Seattle
Caroline Kay exploring by bike!
  • Support local. Where I can, I will stay in locally owned B&B, AirB&B or hotels. Always up for supporting the local community rather than give my money to overseas owners. Here is a cool spot I stayed in Rockport, MA
  • If I do have to stay in a chain hotel for work — I always visit their website or talk to their team to understand what levels of sustainability they offer.
  • When I do fly, I donate to organisations such as One Tree Planted.
  • I limit the number of times cleaners come into my hotel room. I don’t need a fresh towel every day!
  • Watch where I put my feet. Whether I am diving or snorkeling near coral or when hiking in the mountains. I keep to the paths to avoid trampling over vegetation.
  • I wear ocean-friendly, non-toxic sunscreen to look after the reefs.
  • Instead of frequenting restaurant chains, you will find me eating in locally-owned restaurants, cafes and bars. This has great benefits: not only do I meet some amazing people but usually the food is waaaay better! I mean having “mamma” cook up her famous family dish has to be better than a piece of meat slapped in-between 2 pieces of bread that have been flown in!
  • When available I will buy from farmer’s markets.
Farmers Market
  • Did you know 27,000 trees are cut down everyday to make toilet paper, and they can’t even be recycled. I use Reel Toilet Paper made from bamboo for my hiney!
  • I have a piece of art or souvenir from almost every place I have travelled. So much better than something factory-made.
  • Reduce/Remove plastic from my everyday…
  • I have a water bottle and will use that bottle to refill at airports, hotels, coffee shops, gyms.
  • Instead of using the plastic bags for my fruit and veg, I have reusable bags.
  • Support heroes like Ocean4Life

What are you doing to be more sustainable?

“We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love… and then we return home.” Aboriginal Australian saying

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Caroline Kay
World Traveler’s Blog

Founder of @CKAYInternation. Travel Blogger at Have Fizz Will Travel (@carolinekay11) Event planner & Executive Producer for more than 20 years