How to have the most sustainable spring break vacation ever
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You’re a zero-waster who eats plant-based and always remembers to bring a bamboo straw. But, you love to travel. Ah, it’s a true sustainable, do-gooder’s dilemma.

The truth is, traveling to faraway places is the biggest way private citizens contribute to climate change. And as much as we wish our reusables and biodegradable sunscreen cleared our carbon footprint and conscience — it’s important to acknowledge long-distance vacationing is not a planet-friendly activity (sad, we know).

But that doesn’t mean you need to throw away your bucket list and pitch a tent in your backyard! Mother Earth is full of incredible places and tourism does play a major role in local economies. So explore mindfully while putting a little extra emphasis on sustainability… even in vacay mode.

13 ways to have the most sustainable spring break vacation ever

1. Unwind with a staycation

Want to skip the price tag, carbon footprint, and stress of plane travel? Have a staycation! 


For some staycation inspiration, here are just some of our favorite ways to lounge locally:

  • Make breakfast in bed 
  • Play tourist in your own town 
  • Go to a cute spot that’s been on your bucket list for years
  • Binge-watch a Netflix series (our suggestions: Our Planet and Nature)
  • Take a bath
  • Bake cookies
  • Walk without a purpose
  • Journal
  • Get zen with an at-home spa day
  • Read
  • Do a digital detox

2. Get down with “undertourism” 

Undertourism — basically the opposite of overtourism — is the idea of heading to less frequently visited places (think: Paros instead of Mykonos). Scoping out less “popular” places means you’ll give your tourist $$ to an economy that may really need it and you’ll avoid big, selfie-taking crowds.

Check out one of these under-the-radar locations to get wanderlust daydreaming.

3. Travel slowly

Bike tours, road trips, and train rides typically take longer than flights (although, flight delays are not to be underestimated). But opting for slower travel transportation will seriously cut your carbon footprint.


The  New York Times cites that flying less often is “the most effective way to reduce your carbon footprint.” Simple as that. Plus, the slow route leaves more room for freedom, spontaneity, and unexpected adventures that get *literally* overlooked from the sky. 

4. Eat plant-based 


Show love to Mother Earth with your plate! Eating more vegan options is an efficient (and delicious!) way to reduce your impact, no matter where your travels take you.

If you’re new to the lifestyle, consider eating plant-based during the a.m. or dedicating one meal of the day to vegan eating (Meatless Mondays, anyone?). Every effort matters. 

5. Know the local recycling rules

Cities differ when it comes to recycling policies. While one city may recycle resealable sandwich bags, another may not. So, do a quick Google search to clarify rules and adjust your habits based on where you are. 

6. Pack light

Every pound counts! When you pack a lighter load, you’ll help relieve planes and cars of excess weight, which will ultimately reduce carbon emissions. 


If you struggle with overpacking, create a packing checklist, bring more neutral-colored clothes that you can mix and match, and be honest with yourself about things you really need

7. Leave no trace

While the seven “Leave No Trace” principles are usually associated with camping and hiking, it really applies to anywhere you’re visiting. The overall idea is to leave each place better than you found it, whether that’s a train seat or trail path. 

8. Avoid the minis

Mini shampoo and conditioner bottles are super cute, there’s no denying that. But it’s also a waste of plastic

Bring your own reusable travel containers filled with your favorite shampoos you normally use. That way, you’ll ditch the single-use plastic and have a little taste of home with you. 

You could also consider making the switch to shampoo and conditions bars. Bottle None’s Travel/Soap Dish Set is perfect for your carry-on.

9. Bring your reusables

Wholesome Culture bamboo utensils

We know it’s not easy to fit reusables in your carry-on. From straws and spoons to totes and wraps, it’s a lot!  


But vacations often involve airport pit stops, coffee runs, and to-go meals, which typically creates lots of waste. So come prepared.

Must-have reusables:

10. Show love to the local scene

sustainable travel

Between farmers markets and hidden bookstore gems, exploring the local scene is an earth-friendly way to support the community you’re visiting.

11. Treat hotels like homes

Just like you’d turn the lights off when you leave your house, try doing the same practice in a hotel room. So, rather than get your towel cleaned after one shower, consider opting out of housekeeping services and be mindful of your AC habits. 

12. Don’t be afraid to ask questions

Whether or not you’re confused about recycling practices or want a recommendation for a vegan restaurant, asking questions shows you care! 

13. Protect your skin mindfully


Sunscreen is key to protecting your skin, but it’s also important to be conscious of what you’re slathering on your body and acknowledging how it impacts the planet. Two of our favorite eco-friendly brands include: Ocean Potion Sunscreen Lotion and Sun Bum Mineral SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion.

Check out this other post for more tips on how to pick a planet-friendly sunscreen.

And if you’re looking for vegan vacation ideas, don’t miss these posts:

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