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5 tips for enjoying an eco-friendly vacation

Foster sustainability, lower your carbon footprint and explore fascinating destinations this summer as an eco-conscious traveler. | By Alison Cavatore | March 30, 2023

Who said you can’t travel the world while saving it too? Reshape your summer travel plans with sustainable stays in stunning destinations that promote eco-friendly practices, support local communities and help minimize your environmental impact. Here are our top tips for how to be an eco-conscious traveler:

Take the road less traveled

Avoid crowds and help combat overtourism by going off the beaten path this summer. With warmer weather comes the opportunity to explore the great outdoors in a unique and authentic way. Find tranquility (and fun) in nature by zip lining through a rainforest, exploring protected national parks or discovering the untraveled nuances of a small village. Choose one-of-a-kind eco-focused activities like lion fishing on Turkey’s Aegean Sea, garden-building sessions and local art explorations at Hilton Tulum Riviera Maya All-Inclusive Resort or daily farm tours at Conrad Koh Samui’s Iris Farm. The property’s on-site eco-cafe, Botanikka, is a great place to power down your electronics and capture memories with your senses.

Decrease fuel consumption

Ditch the car: Using alternative forms of transportation to get to, from and around your destination will not only save you money but will also decrease your carbon footprint. When possible, book direct flights or take a train to reach your location. Upon arrival, explore new areas on foot or take advantage of complimentary bikes at Canopy properties to have a positive impact on the environment while still having fun. (Bonus: You can check your workout off your list!)

If you do need a car to explore farther from your vacation home base, opt for an electric or hybrid vehicle for greater peace of mind and a more environmentally responsible road trip.

Seek out sustainable stays

Choose innovative lodgings that align with your environmental goals. Looking to reduce energy consumption? Enjoy farm-to-table dining options? Research your priorities ahead of time to find the perfect stay in your desired location. Hotel Marcel New Haven, Tapestry Collection by Hilton is a historical landmark and the first net-zero hotel in the U.S. with locally sourced furnishings, triple-glazed windows for energy efficiency and around 100,000 solar panels that generate power for the building. Meanwhile, Conrad Washington DC — a LEED Gold certified property in the heart of the nation’s capital — sources ingredients from hyper-local vendors for their dining outlets and employs rooftop solar cooking in the preparation of some of their menu items.

Support the local community

Make your summer travel plans especially memorable by immersing yourself in the local culture and finding ways to spend your time and resources in a way that will benefit the community you’re visiting. What are some of our favorite ways to get a taste of authentic local life while also feeding the area’s local economy? Consider a cooking class with a local host to discover traditional cuisine or browse farmer’s markets to prepare a picnic in a nearby park. Looking for souvenirs? Use this as an opportunity to support local business owners and artisans or book an excursion with a native guide for rare insights into your destination's history and natural resources.

Reduce waste, reuse and recycle

Decrease trash accumulation by taking steps to recycle, reuse, compost and minimize energy and water usage. Book an extended stay with Home2 Suites where Energy Star rated appliances are used for less water and waste, bulk shower amenities are available and serving containers are made from recycled glass. To stay hydrated in the heat, ditch single-use plastics and opt for more sustainable products like a reusable water bottle that you can refill at water stations around your hotel. Conrad Maldives Rangali Island puts this tip into practice, partnering with environmental non-profit Parley for the Oceans to create limited-edition Parley Ocean Plastic tote bags made from plastic bottles that were dumped into the ocean.

No matter where you go this summer, following the lifestyle of an eco-conscious traveler is a rewarding part to furthering responsible tourism efforts and having a positive environmental impact while exploring the world.

Alison Cavatore is the assistant editor for the content marketing team at Hilton. She has written and copyedited for numerous print and digital publications in the U.S. and abroad. Born in Pittsburgh, PA, Alison has lived in Miami, Scottsdale, Holland, France, Switzerland and Canada. She currently resides in the Washington, D.C. area.

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