Traveling can be an especially tough time for me to stick to environmentally friendly habits. The break from reality not only disrupts my usual eco routine, but also feels like a hall pass to “treat myself” with convenience. Here a few tips that have helped me stay on track during my recent trip to Baja, Mexico.

  1. Stay at vacation rental rather than a hotel. I much prefer the unique travel experience of staying at an Airbnb or VRBO than a hotel. Renting a local’s home not only enables me to absorb the culture more, but also makes my experience feel more personal and unique. I’d much rather be exploring a local neighborhood and community than be one of the throngs of tourists huddled up by a resort pool. I also find myself to be less wasteful when I’m staying at a vacation rental. While traveling, I often prefer a quick and easy breakfast before heading out, and stocking a vacation rental’s kitchen with a few breakfast groceries really helps to avoid the single use plastic and paper that is often used to package such meals. If an indulgent breakfast is in order, I like to pack snacks or a light lunch, which can be easily assembled before heading out for the day. The cost savings can also be used to splurge more on other meals or experiences.
  2. Purchase your travel outfit secondhand. After hiding away in a cocoon of sweaters and jeans all winter long, I want to emerge at my summer getaway a crop top and cutoff wearing butterfly, but I don’t always have the corresponding wardrobe handy. I have my trusty Levi’s cutoffs that I’ve worn every summer for years, but I wanted something slightly etherial yet bohemian to pair with it. Instead of heading to a dreaded fast fashion store, I absolutely scored on this Zimmerman crop top at my favorite consignment store, Wasteland. I often see vacation-ready items at consignment stores, as some customers must buy items for a specific trip then sell them, so that’s a great place to start.
  3. Carry your beach bag with you when shopping. If I know that I’m doing some shopping on a specific day, I repurpose my beach bag as a market bag to carry all of my purchases in. This way I avoid the plastic bags that I usually end up throwing away before departing anyway.

Do you have any other tips for sustainable travel? Share them below!

These earrings were made from repurposed vintage silverware and were a gift from my boyfriend’s parents. How cool are they?

Photos by @sdrpick.

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