Use TikTok's Helpful Tips For Eco-Friendly Travel

TikTok has undeniably evolved into an invaluable resource for elevating your travel experiences. The micro-blogging site has become a digital treasure trove of tips, tricks, and hacks dedicated to helping travelers everywhere alleviate the challenges we often face in our journeys, making the act of traveling much easier overall. Whether it's sleeping at the airport more comfortably, avoiding excess baggage fees, or making packing less of a chore, the app is loaded with actionable advice thanks to a massive community of content creators and frequent travelers paying it forward.

Within this wealth of travel wisdom is a specific niche catering to eco-friendly travel practices. For instance, user @sophiaxverde suggests swapping mini toiletries for bar soaps and shampoos, ditching single-use water bottles for reusable dispensers, and toting a single carry-on instead of overpacking. While these tips may state the obvious, other TikTok users emphasize all the ways you can take your environmental commitment to new heights. To elevate your sustainability game, opt for eco-friendly routing, staying in environmentally-friendly lodging, and practicing slow travel.

Take advantage of Google Maps' eco-friendly routing

There's no questioning the usefulness of Google Maps when it comes to discovering how to get to various destinations in the quickest way possible. But TikToker @thesorrygirls pointed out that it can also be instrumental in helping travelers minimize their carbon footprint. In a stride towards sustainability, Google launched an eco-friendly routing feature in 2021, allowing you to opt for the most fuel or energy-efficient routes depending on your car type. When activated, you will be presented with eco-friendly route options characterized by a green leaf symbol, along with the percentage of fuel or energy you'll be saving should you decide to choose a specific route. 

In @thesorrygirls' case, she enjoyed a 5% reduction in gas usage during her journey from Memphis to Austin, Texas. Google notes that it utilizes AI technology and data sourced from both the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the European Environment Agency to supply the most eco-friendly routes. Factors like average fuel and energy consumption and road types are taken into account when suggesting environmentally conscious routes. 

Since its inception, Google notes in its 2023 Environmental Report that it has helped save 1.2 million metric tons of carbon emissions. Activating this feature is a breeze; all you need to do is head to Navigation settings, activate Prefer fuel-efficient routes, and specify your vehicle type. In doing so, you'll reduce your environmental impact every time you're on the road.

Support climate-friendly lodging

Another way to practice sustainability when you're traveling is to be more intentional in your choice of accommodation. While staying in conventional chain hotels is convenient, there are other lodging options committed to reducing their carbon footprint by employing green initiatives. TikTok user @urbanlist suggested in a video on @tiktokforgood that you should search for eco-friendly hotels when booking. These hotels typically adopt environmentally-conscious practices, including using refillable dispensers for toiletries rather than single-use options, timing lights and showers, incorporating organic or fair trade ingredients in meals, and using upcycled materials for amenities.

Identifying eco-friendly establishments can be done through various means, including looking for the "eco-certified" label on Google Travel. This signifies that the hotel has been awarded eco certifications by reputable agencies and has gone through a thorough evaluation to verify that they're actively promoting water and energy conservation, proper waste management and waste minimization, and ethical sourcing. Alternatively, you can also conduct independent research and look for other globally recognized eco credentials such as LEED certification, Green Globe, Green Key Global, and Green Seal, all of which are an indication of their commitment to sustainability.

Embrace slow travel

When we're traveling, we tend to live life in the fast lane. Many of us are guilty of squeezing a smattering of activities into a limited timeframe before moving on to the next destination and doing the same thing all over again. But there's an argument to be made about slow travel and its more immersive and contemplative approach, with the added benefit of facilitating sustainability. The antithesis of over-tourism, slow travel pertains to a prolonged stay in a single location, fostering a deeper connection to the community and the environment. 

As TikTok user @emilypadan explained, this means interacting with the locals, wandering around on foot to grasp the true essence of the destination, and contributing to the economy by dining at neighborhood restaurants and shopping at independent shops rather than sticking to the more touristy areas. With slow travel, you also get to minimize your environmental impact by using trains, which have a lower carbon footprint than planes. 

Embedding yourself in the community and living like a local allows you to forge a deeper appreciation of their customs while frequenting local businesses helps you contribute to their economic growth. Taking the time to experience a place rather than being a mere passerby also encourages enhanced mindfulness about your actions and how they impact the places you visit, all while playing an active role in preserving them for others.