Environmental Considerations

  • Learn about current environmental issues in the places you are visiting. Different regions will have different situations based on their ecosystems. Learn about the effects of mass tourism on beaches, mountains, wetlands, deserts, etc. and then seek to counter those effects.
  • Use water sparingly. Many communities face water shortages and water usage costs money. One small gesture you can make is to take quick showers.
  • Carry a Reusable Water Bottle. If tap water is safe where you are traveling, reduce your environmental impact abroad by avoiding bottled water and bring a reusable water bottle with you abroad. If the tap water is unsafe, encourage your program to invest in water purification systems (chlorine drops, filters, etc) for the group instead of buying bottled water to decrease your waste from plastic packaging and likely save money over the course of your trip.
  • Use local and public transport whenever possible. Take a train or bus. Bike or walk. Try to fly less; airplanes produce disproportionately large amounts of carbon dioxide.
  • Buy Local, Eat Local. Rather than heading to a chain grocery or department store (where more energy is used to ship food further distances), stop by the market or a street stand and learn about local foods from folks who are directly involved in its distribution.
  • Don't litter! Even if you notice the locals doing so, try to find a container to dispose of your trash.
  • Don't buy products made from endangered species or valuable, historical, or cultural artifacts. Ask about where a product comes from. Many of these products are illegal to export. Report incidences to local or national conservation organizations.
  • Don't disturb the wildlife. Maintain a proper distance at all times. Don't use loud, motorized equipment among small communities of people or in areas where there is wildlife.
  • Choose your recreational activities wisely. Low impact sports that don't involve a lot of equipment or fossil fuels and that don't disturb the environment or local communities are preferable.

Adapted from Yale’s Tips for Sustainable Travel Abroad