23 Incredible Slow Travel Tips to Consider for Your 2023 Travel Plans
As we enter into the New Year, many are reflecting on the past year. The mistakes we've made and the wins we have had, too! The new year is an opportunity for us to carry those positive changes we made last year into the next and continue to make good changes going forward. The same is true for travelers and making better travel choices in the new year!
You may have probably already noticed the growing trends of sustainable and eco-tourism travel that have been gaining momentum in recent years. Nowadays, there are a number of ways travelers can make sustainable choices when they plan their trips! Whether it's staying at eco-lodges or taking carbon-neutral flights.
Personal note incoming!! Feel free to just skip to the list here! 😄
So how will 2023 change for me as a slow traveler? While I already consider myself a slow traveler, next year I want to slow down even more. My partner and I have already been planning our upcoming travels for this spring and this time we will be staying in ONE city in ONE country for a whole two months! We’ve never stayed in one place for so long.
While we will go on some small adventures here and there throughout our time in the country, this will be a major change for us, and I am so excited about it! Part of the reason we are making this change is that this year, we want to make a bigger effort to take care of our bodies (and minds), and we’re kind of getting to that age (28 and 34 this year!) that we don’t enjoy the feeling of constantly traveling. This last trip seriously impacted our health. After leaving Peru and heading to Panama, we were so run down nearly the whole time we weren't able to enjoy the city as much as we had hoped. A real bummer!
So what does this change look like for us? Well, we’ll be cooking food at “home” more often while living abroad and drinking less alcohol in general (regardless of our travel status). These are two things we already do a bit, but we feel it’s important to make a more concerted effort now. Additionally, I love to cook and learn new recipes while traveling and sourcing local ingredients makes it that much more enjoyable. It’s also great for the local economy, too!
So, a little homework for you, after you read this list, do you think you’ll change your travel habits in 2023? Let me know in the comments!
Okay, without further ado! Here are 23 sustainable and slow travel tips you should consider for your 2023 travel planning!
23 Slow Travel Tips for 2023
1. Consider carbon offsetting your flights: This is something many airlines now offer to help reduce the environmental impact of air travel.
2. Look for eco-friendly hotel certifications when researching accommodations: Look for hotels and resorts that have adopted sustainable practices and are certified by organizations like Green Globe or Green Key Global.
3. Look for locally-sourced food and drink options: These are often fresher, tastier, and more eco-friendly than imported options. Of course, there is also the added bonus of supporting the local economy!
4. Bring your own reusable water bottle: If you don’t already do this, now is the time! This helps reduce plastic waste and save you tons on bottled water. I don’t even want to think about how much money we’ve wasted when we’ve forgotten our water bottles. Eek! Here’s a good list of travel-friendly reusable water bottles to try this year.
5. Use public transportation: Besides being cheaper than other forms of transport it also has a lower environmental impact. And, in my experience, this is a great way to see how the locals really live!
6. Consider cycling or walking instead of driving: This is such a great way to get to know a new city while reducing your carbon footprint. Nowadays many cities have miles and miles of walkable paths to enjoy and in smaller towns it’s usually just not necessary to take a car anyways!
7. Support local businesses: Patronizing local businesses helps encourage sustainable development and preserves local culture. Most small local businesses (especially in big tourist cities) love it when tourists wander into their shop. In my experience, most shop owners will be happy to answer your questions about how to cook something if you’re not familiar with it or where an item came from and how it was produced.
8. Choose experiences that benefit the local community: Look for tours, activities, and excursions that benefit local people and the environment. This could be a food tour that specifically caters to off-the-beaten-path restaurants and food shops or maybe an activity that teaches you something new about the local culture or environment.
9. Shop responsibly: Buy souvenirs that are locally made and support fair trade. If it looks factory made, it probably is, unfortunately. While it’s more expensive to purchase real hand-made products, it’s well-worth it to support genuine artists and real craftsmanship.
10. Take part in beach clean-ups: There are, sadly, so many beaches around the world are in need of volunteers to help clean up litter and debris. We’ve seen it so much in our recent travels. There really is no beach that can escape it at this point and the local communities and ecosystem would greatly benefit from your help in cleaning it up. While it may not seem like the most fun thing to do during your travels, you will definitely feel good after doing your part! Here’s more info from the Ocean Conservancy on why it’s so important to keep our oceans trash-free.
11. Avoid single-use plastics: If you’re getting food to go at some point, try to remember to ask them not to give you single-use plastic cutlery and consider even bringing reusable containers and bags to help further reduce plastic waste.
12. Choose accommodations with energy-efficient features: Many hotels and resorts today have adopted energy-efficient practices, such as using LED lighting and solar energy. We loved our stay at Las Qolqas in Ollantaytambo, Peru, for this exact reason!
13. Limit air travel: If you’re wanting to travel around Europe, for example, this is a great opportunity to use the extensive rail system! By also choosing destinations that are closer to home or require less overall air travel, you can do your part to reduce your carbon footprint.
14. Respect wildlife: A no brainer for most but it’s always good to reiterate, Do Not Touch the Wildlife 🙂 You have no idea what diseases the animal might have or what impact you might have on that animal’s behavior or health. So be sure to just observe animals from a distance, take your photos quietly, and do not disturb them or their habitats.
15. Look for eco-friendly tours and activities: Sustainable tours and excursions are a major travel trend for 2023 so keep your eyes peeled for agencies offering more of this.
16. Try sustainable culinary experiences: From farm-to-table restaurants to sustainable food tours, travelers can find plenty of delicious and eco-friendly options. If you’re in Europe or in the Americas, look for something that says “agriturismo”, these are usually small family farms that also serve food to guests!
17. Research sustainable hotels: look for hotels and resorts that are committed to sustainability and have adopted eco-friendly practices.
18. Use biodegradable toiletries: buy shampoos, soaps, and other toiletries that are biodegradable and free of harsh chemicals especially if you will be doing outdoor activities. Biodegradable soaps, shampoos, and sunscreen are so much better for the environment and also for yourself. Here are 12 eco-friendly toiletries you can bring with you on your next trip!
19. Pack smartly: bring only the essentials with you and consider purchasing locally-made clothing or toiletries. This is something I do (often inadvertently because I forget things, oops) and I never regret it.
20. Choose eco-friendly souvenirs: buy souvenirs that are made with sustainable materials or locally-sourced materials
21. Bring eco-friendly travel accessories: If you’re going to be cooking at your accommodations more like me this year, bring some reusable vegetable bagsreusable vegetable bags instead of the thin single-use plastic ones. Also, if you usually have leftovers after cooking, consider bringing a lightweight food container.
22. Look for sustainable retail experiences: Shopping for souvenirs can be more sustainable if travelers choose to purchase items from local artisans, ethical brands, and shops that focus on sustainability. This can be as easy as finding a local food or artisan market. Do make sure to read reviews and be discerning because in many places, these markets can also be filled with mass-produced items.
23. Research green cruises: “Sustainable cruise” might sound like an oxymoron but there are cruise ships that are increasingly focusing on reducing their environmental impact. Look for ships that are ocean-friendly and use sustainable resources. Here’s how you can tell if the cruise you’re looking at is as “green” as they say.