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Sustainable Travel Tips

Sustainable Travel Tips and Tricks

The environment matters wherever you go! Below is a list of tips and tricks to help promote sustainable travel. Sustainable travel is about adopting sustainable practices to lessen the negative environmental effects that accompany travel.


  • Incorporate U-M’s general Sustainability Tips into your daily life during travel 
    • The waste reduction, energy and food tips can be applied to general life!  
  • Global Road Warrior is a database accessible through U-M libraries that gives you general information on the country you will be traveling to.
      • this can help you brainstorm ways to sustainably travel within your country i.e. transportation options and general environmental issues to pay attention to 
    • 10 Big Ten Academic Alliance Universities’ study abroad offices are working together to promote carbon-conscious travel practices.
    • Take the pledge to make a personal commitment to make conscientious choices about your travel activities and stay local during the Big Impact Small Footprint weekends.
      • STAY LOCAL WEEKENDS: February 16-18, 2024;  April 19-21, 2024
  • Check out Planet Blue’s sustainability living checklist to learn best practices for general sustainable living
  • Reusable Water Bottle 
    • When you get to your destination, be sure to look into areas near you with filtered water systems like drinking fountains to refill your water bottle! 
    • Some areas do not have clean drinking water. If that is the case, look into buying water purification tablets or filtering straws to reduce the amount of plastic bottles you’re using 
  • Reusable Bag
    • Always be sure to have a reusable bag such as a tote or reusable grocery bag on hand when traveling in case you need to do any type of shopping!
  • Rethink your toiletries
    • When packing toiletries think about ways to reduce your plastic use:
      • Refrain from using small disposable shampoo and conditioner in hotels
      • Bring a soap bar instead of body wash, reusable razor heads, and refillable shampoo and conditioner bottles 
      • Look online to find sustainable travel-sized essentials i.e. deodorant
  • Solar Powered Electronics 
    • Consider bringing solar-powered portable chargers 
  • Consider bringing versatile clothing items to reduce the amount of items you need to pack and new clothes you need to buy 
    • Bring clothes that can easily be washed by hand! (for a reduction in washing and ease if you do not have access to laundry machines) 
    • Bring a drain stop to collect water in the sink to wash clothes
    • Use bio-degradable soap to handwash
  • When staying at a hotel, request to have your room cleaned post check out, not during, to reduce the amount of energy and water consumed 
  • Unplug all electronics 
  • Opt for a homestay with a vetted host family – these tend to be more environmentally conscious compared to large hotels and allow you to immerse yourself in local culture! 
  • Before booking, try to do research beforehand on sustainable and eco-friendly accommodation options
  • Try to bike and walk when safe and reasonable to do so!
  • If your destination is further than a walk or bike, opt for safe, reliable forms of public transportation (i.e. take a bus or train whenever possible) 
    • Before traveling, research the most cost-effective way to access public transport passes 
      • As a UMICH student, you have access to a website called Global Road Warrior which can give you tips and tricks on all travel to that country including transportation!
  • Try to minimize the amount of intracontinental travel and research fun activities within the city you are studying in! 
    • BIG 10 Stay Local Weekends February 16-18, 2024;  April 19-21, 2024 (for more info check out campus resources) 
  • Fly Non-Stop- avoiding layovers and pit stops can greatly reduce your carbon emissions 
  • Choose e-tickets rather than paper tickets 
  • When driving, opt for e-vehicles/hybrid vehicles or ride-shares 
  • Offset Carbon Emissions
  • Dine and shop locally! Eating local cuisine from small businesses is the best way to eat sustainably 
  • Eat plant-based when possible! Reducing meat consumption is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint
    • If you are a meat-eater, be sure to eat sustainable and locally sourced meat!
  • When buying groceries, try to shop for seasonal items
  • When buying snacks, buy from locally-owned businesses 
  • When eating out, opt for reusable utensils and reusable containers, when available
  • Buy intentional souvenirs at local vendors 
    • Reduces negative environmental impact of shipping costs 
    • Be intentional with what you consume and consider the lasting value of your purchases-many souvenirs end up being discarded
  • Respect Wildlife
    • Refrain from feeding wildlife 
    • Keep distance and quiet voices around them 
  • Explore the culture through walking or hiking 
  • Research the recycling initiatives and habits of the country you are visiting in