How to Become a Conscious Tourist

Tips to tread lightly while traveling.

Hikers in a mountain meadow are exploring the world in a sustainable way.

(novak.elcic /

Exploring the beauty of this world inspires and uplifts. In a time when sustainability is more important than ever, travelers are starting to tread lightly when abroad. 

From planning a trip to exploring a destination, there are many ways you can make this world a better place while traveling.

The current tourism model has put pressure on valuable resources, including land, water, and energy, according to Conscious Travel. Yet tourism can proactively address these issues.

It all begins with awareness and with you! Here are several ideas to travel in greener, more sustainable ways.

Reducing Your Carbon Footprint

The most ideal way to explore is to stay local, recommends The New York Times. There are always unexplored adventures and treasures awaiting in local towns. When you stay local without flying, you reduce your carbon footprint.

Going for a hike or bike ride as opposed to driving is another way to tread lightly, and it will keep you fit! If you do want to travel farther, choose trains over planes.

Biking through Paris is a form of sustainable sightseeing.

(Ekaterina Pokrovsky /

Choose a Sustainable Destination

When you have the urge to travel abroad, select a place that is eco-conscious. The Sustainable Living Guide rates cities according to special criteria that include amount of recycling, usage of renewable electricity, and the number of sustainably certified hotels in each location. For 2022, Copenhagen came out on top, with Zurich winning second place.

Copenhagen is a top eco-conscious city to visit.

(Arcady /

Being Ecologically Sound When Abroad

Once you get to your dream destination, you can reduce your carbon footprint by choosing an ecologically sound hotel. 

Citizen Sustainable recommends considering hotels that compost, recycle, have energy efficient fixtures, use bulk container toiletries, serve organic farm to table produce, and reduce emissions by supporting local farmers.

Check out Citizen Sustainable’s list of top 15 hotels. Ready for an ecologically sound getaway? Their number one pick is a lodge nestled in Italy’s Dolomite Mountains.

Goals to consider when planning an ecological vacation.

(Watch The World /

Celebrate Local Communities

Being a conscious tourist is also about experiencing new cultures. Your trip could be designed to support sustainable development in indigenous populations. Sustainable Travel International shows you how. When you visit local communities abroad, you are supporting rural people and helping to preserve their traditional way of life.

Supporting local communities abroad, like this one in Brazil.

(Talita Santana Campos /