Need a New Year’s Resolution? Try These 3 Sustainable Travel Goals for 2024

Need a New Year’s Resolution? Try These 3 Sustainable Travel Goals for 2024

For folks who travel regularly, moving through the rhythm of travel quickly becomes a routine. When was the last time you stopped to think about the ripple effects of your travel habits? Every car you call, plane you board, hotel you visit, and meal you order may feel like drops in a bucket, but over time, each action adds up to create your carbon footprint. 

Like you, few things in life bring us greater joy than traveling. But it’s hard to deny that tourism – whether for business or leisure – is an important piece of the climate puzzle. According to research from the University of Toronto, global tourism accounts for 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions. 

If you’re looking for a New Year’s Resolution with benefits beyond your own personal development, you’ve come to the right place. With just a few tweaks in your travel routine, you can make 2024 the year you live more sustainably. Here are three travel goals to help you get there. 

#1: Invest in lighter, longer-lasting luggage. Over-consumption is a problem for many industries, but there’s something about travel that brings out the over-shopper in all of us. Instead of purchasing new sets of lower-quality bags and suitcases that need to be replaced every couple of years, find a reliable investment that will last a lifetime. If something breaks, get it repaired instead of buying something new. Bonus points if you fight a lighter suitcase made with upcycled or recycled material. 

#2: Swap private rides for public transit. Convenience is a strong motivator while traveling, but a few extra minutes of research and effort can slash the environmental toll of your next trip. For example, many airports have excellent public transportation options to get travelers from the airport to city centers; it’s simply up to you to take advantage of it. Or, when you’re in the thick of a busy agenda, remember to carpool and ride share with coworkers and colleagues. As a rule of thumb, save private rides only for when you’re in a pinch. 

#3: Choose greener accommodations. Before booking with your usual chain, take a moment to research its sustainability practices. The industry offers many eco-certifications, but common ones are LEED, Green Globe, TripAdvisor Green Leaders, EarthCheck, and Green Key Global. Another option supporting local hotels – they may not have the same certifications, but they usually benefit the community and generate less waste than large corporations.

Traveling with sustainability in mind is a low-effort way to improve your relationship with the environment and feel good about your choices. There’s a lot of work to be done to curb the momentum of the climate crisis, but that doesn’t mean that our individual contributions don’t make a difference. The more effort we put toward our personal environmental goals, the more awareness we can bring to sustainable travel in 2024.