​11 Eco-friendly Ways to Travel: A Guide to Sustainable Travel

Why do you need to know about sustainable travel?

Well, traveling (especially traveling internationally), actually increases your carbon footprint because you’re using a mode of travel like airplane, train, or car. As a traveler, you’re also constantly consuming in your destination–and that has an impact on the environment. Climate change is continuing to wreak havoc on the world around us, making sustainable travel more and more necessary for the survival of the planet and for future generations.

Now, hold up–what am I saying… that you can’t travel anymore in order to live a sustainable lifestyle? Not at all. There are ways to reduce your environmental footprint and travel sustainably without foregoing travel altogether.

One way to have a positive impact on the environment is to advance sustainable tourism as more and more environmentally conscious members of the tourism industry are finding ways to reduce their footprint.

Tips for Sustainable Travel

#1 Avoid Flying (if you can)

12% of all transportation greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the U.S. is contributed by the aviation industry. As a conscious traveler, try to avoid taking an airplane if it’s possible.

Other modes of transportation may be more eco-friendly than others. If it’s possible, take a train–Europe is a great example of where taking a train can be more rewarding as a traveler than taking a plane would be. Or, if it’s possible to drive to your destination–say from San Francisco to Los Angeles–do that instead of booking a flight. Contrastly, driving from Los Angeles to New York might not be ideal for you or the planet, so taking a flight, in this case, would be the better option.


Photo by Dane Deaner on Unsplash

#2 Fly non-stop

In some cases, flying non-stop produces fewer emissions than flights with multiple stops. You can impact the degree of carbon emissions you contribute to by flying smart and taking the fewest stops possible.

#3 Don’t buy travel size items

At least not specifically for your trips. The plastic waste that is accrued from travel size items being used and tossed away contributes to the growing plastic pollution in the world, and isn’t exactly environmentally friendly, especially when you toss that mini size body wash in the trash in a country that doesn’t have proper disposal methods.

A more sustainable way to travel is to refill smaller reusable bottles with a bulk sized product. If you do have some travel size items leftover from other trips (probably from before you read this article), you can save them for this!

*Bonus points for buying and using products with compostable or plastic-free packaging.*

#4 Take public transportation

Do your research on transportation at your destination as part of your planning process. Public transportation can be a more efficient alternative to renting cars or taking taxis depending on where you are in the world. Your thorough research will ensure that whatever option you choose is both sustainable and convenient for you. It’s way better for the environment and you’ll benefit from having exciting new travel experiences you might not otherwise have.


Photo by Ingo Hamm on Unsplash

#5 Buy local

Buying local products might not necessarily be cheaper in other countries, but your money will be directly supporting the local shop owners as opposed to larger companies. Check with local guides to find establishments owned by local people. Local communities will directly benefit from your business and you’ll feel good about where your money is going.

Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa | Courtesy of Hyatt


#6 Stay in eco-conscious resorts or hotels

The tourism industry can destroy native land, wildlife, and culture in different countries. Tropical islands and resorts can be among the most detrimental, but there are some out there that aim to bring tourists in while preserving the environment and the well-being of the communities around the properties.

You can look for eco-certification and standards at accommodations before booking. This can differ from country to country, so you should do your research on these certifications before booking.

These certifications are usually run by sustainable tourism or non-profit organizations to promote sustainability in tourism across the globe. They signify whether or not an establishment is eco-friendly by way of giving back to the community the lodging has built its property on, has been assessed for sustainability practices, or is acting on best sustainability practices. These seals of sustainability can mean a lot of things–some approving the establishment for improving anything from economic development to cultural heritage, or employing local people and even wildlife preservation.

By supporting these certified establishments, you’re making a statement that eco-tourism can be sustainable and lucrative for other tourism companies considering new ventures. It’s better environmentally and you’ll help foster a travel trend the tourism world so desperately needs.

#7 Conserve water–always!

No matter if you’re at home or abroad, try not to use water excessively. You may be on vacation but think twice before you fill up a huge tub of water or keep it running while not in use. Water conservation is of utmost importance when it comes to living sustainably as well as traveling sustainably.


LARQ Self-Cleaning Water Bottle in Monaco Blue

#8 Don’t buy bottled water

Sure, you get water on the airplane, can buy bottled water at the airports, or you can purchase them pretty much anywhere in your destination and feel assured that it’s safe to drink–but is it the most sustainable option? The answer is no.

You should always bring a reusable bottle with you on any trip so you’ll have something to fill up with instead of adding to plastic pollution. For all you germaphobes out there who buy bottled water because it’s safer than tap water in another country, it’s a good thing there’s a self-cleaning water bottle out there that uses UV-C technology to zap bacteria and germs to keep your water bottle and your water fresh. That’s right, we hope you don’t mind a little self-promotion, but the LARQ water bottle is probably one of the best things you can ever buy if you drink water.

Anyway, you get the gist. Save the planet one less bottle at a time, and please, just bring your own reusable water bottle next time you travel.

#9 The deal with cruise ships

So, you might want to brace for what I’m going to tell you next if you love cruises… Based on an investigation by the United Kingdom’s Channel 4 television station, daily greenhouse gas emissions from cruise ships can equate to the emissions of one million cars. The air quality is so bad around some cruise ships that they can be worse than the most polluted cities in the world. If this isn’t an argument for sustainable tourism, I don’t know what is.

The fact is, we rely on cargo ships for imports and exports, and for consumers (everyone), it’s going to take some sacrifices to help promote sustainable travel and remind ourselves to make more eco-friendly choices.

#10 Beware of greenwashing

Greenwashing is a marketing tactic that some companies use to promote their products, services, or technologies as eco-friendly. This can mean slapping the word “natural” on labels or creating imagery and packaging that makes it look like a sustainable product. By being aware of these tactics, you can help reduce your environmental impact by purchasing products that actually are better for the environment.

#11 Take a bike

Or a hike! Finding other modes of transportation like biking or just walking is the best form of sustainable travel. Instead of taking a car or taxi somewhere, look up some bike rental companies in the local communities. Bicycling is a fun way to really absorb the culture and views of the city you’re in. If navigating a foreign city by bicycle seems daunting, schedule a bike tour!

Walking tours are also great because tour guides really know their stuff, and you can learn more about the local environment, the culture and be a conscious traveler. And hey, you’ll certainly get your steps in so you can justify eating a whole baguette every day.

The best tips for sustainable travel international that we can give is to be aware of tricks that will attempt to lure you in. Look more closely at labels and eco-certifications, be conscious of your choices in accommodations, support local businesses when you can, and help advance sustainable travel by spreading the word. The world is your oyster, just don’t sh*t all over it.


11 Sustainable Ways to Start Living a Plastic-free Lifestyle

Working toward a more sustainable lifestyle? Good on ya! Whether this is your first effort to learn more about reducing your environmental impact or if you’re a sustainability champion, find out some ways you can reduce plastic pollution in the world right here.

The first step is awareness (looks like you’re way ahead of the curve so far), the next step is to make meaningful changes in your daily life to minimize the amount of plastic you’re tossing into the can. The more informed you are about best practices for recycling, what types of plastics are recyclable and best ways to reduce plastic waste, the better off you will be (you might save some $$$), and the better off our planet and wildlife will be. Our sea turtles and future generations will be so thankful.

Along with saving some money on purchasing endless disposable plastics and saving wildlife, you’re also reducing the amount of  carbon emissions that are produced from the manufacturing of plastics and from burning them in landfills.

So what are the plastic-free alternatives to household products? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s our list of sustainable products that will help reduce your environmental footprint:

Photo by Sylvie Tittel on Unsplash

    1. Reusable Bags

      Despite efforts to ban plastic bags around the world,  4 trillion plastic bags are used each year worldwide–with 14 billion plastic bags a year from the US alone. From these staggering numbers, only 1% of plastic bags are returned for recycling. Next time you’re out shopping, remember to stash away a couple of reusable shopping bags for groceries and shopping. (Tip: Keep some bags in your car at all times or keep some placed next to your front door so you’ll remember to bring them with you on your way out.)If you forget your reusable bags while out shopping–don’t worry. Just try to opt for paper bag options if they’re available to you. Paper bags take about a month to decompose whereas plastic bags can take 10-1000 years to decompose in landfills. In the debate between paper or plastic (bags), the answer is clear–always choose paper.


  1. Reusable Food Wraps

    Swapping out all kinds of plastic, including your single-use plastic at home like plastic cling wraps can have a huge impact on the earth. It takes 500 or more years for plastic to disintegrate. However, they don’t even completely break down; instead, they photo-degrade and become microplastics that continue to pollute the earth.Switch from your usual plastic cling wrap to more sustainable reusable food storage like Bee’s Wrap, an organic cotton material covered in beeswax, jojoba oil, and tree resin. You can use it exactly the way you would a normal cling wrap. After each use, wash with soapy water, dry, and reuse. healthy meal prep in glass containers Photo by Ella Olsson
  2. Reusable Food Containers

    Have you ever tried to clean oil from plastic containers? It’s just about the most frustrating thing imaginable! Instead of using disposable meal prep containers, opt for glass containers with BPA-free lids or stainless steel bento containers that are completely zero waste.
  3. Reusable Water Bottles

    A study by the Guardian reported that a million plastic bottles are purchased worldwide every minute. This number is expected to increase by 20% by 2021. This is baffling considering there are so many reusable water bottle options out there, and even one that self-cleans and purifies your water for you. Try to avoid buying bottled water and instead fill up your reusable water bottle where you can. Photo by Olivier Guillard on Unsplash
  4. Stainless Steel Straws

    The U.S. alone uses an estimated  500 million plastic straws every day. Diminish your straw waste by purchasing reusable straws and refusing straws at restaurants and beverage shops. There are all sorts of straw sizes and styles to suit your needs–whether it’s for smoothies, shakes, boba, or soda. These are usually made from durable materials like stainless steel (also easy to clean), and some even use glass (for those of you who prefer your straws to be transparent).
  5. Reusable Eco-friendly Cutlery (and travel-friendly!)

    Did you know that only some plastic utensils are recyclable by your typical curbside receptacles? That contributes to about  300 million tons of plastics going into circulation.A great first step is to minimize your use of plastic cutlery at work or school by bringing your own.  Travel-friendly flatware sets like this one made from bamboo are eco-friendly, safe, and reusable. They’re also compostable, so if you end up getting rid of them, they won’t harm the environment.
  6. Collapsible Bowls

    If you’re traveling, camping, or out and about, silicone collapsible bowls are the way to go. These will minimize the waste from using single-use bowls or plates. Plus, they collapse so they’ll barely take up any room in your bag. You can even use them more regularly at home to save space in your pantry!
  7. Biodegradable Loofahs

    Stop buying plastic loofahs. It’s recommended to replace loofahs every 2-3 months, which can contribute to even more plastic waste than you would’ve thought twice about. There are plenty of sustainable options for bath products such as loofahs or bath sponges that are plastic-free. Some are made of organic biodegradable bamboo or made from  organic materials such as sea sponge or ground konjac root.
  8. Sustainable Toothbrushes

    There are no “perfect” options for this category, but these  sustainable toothbrush options listed by Treehugger are still a huge step toward a more sustainable lifestyle. Whether you go with a toothbrush made from recycled materials, a bamboo toothbrush, or a silicone electric toothbrush, you can rest assured that you are making a positive impact on your plastic footprint.
  9. Plastic-free Reusable Sandwich Bags

    Reusable sandwich bags are gracing the pantries of many households in an effort to cut out single-use plastic. They can be used for packing anything from baby carrots for your kids’ lunch boxes to some chips for the road. For reusable bag options, check out  HuffPost’s list of sustainable alternatives.
  10. Plastic-free Packaging

    Plastic packaging can be a tricky one to avoid, but there are some companies out there striving to bring great products to the world sans-plastic.We, at  LARQ, are extremely conscious of our environmental responsibility–that’s why our packaging is made of 100% recyclable paper–no plastic.Companies such as  By HumanKind and Bite make hygiene products sustainable and accessible. By Humankind sells mouthwash, deodorant, and shampoo bars with “plastic-neutral” packaging that can be refilled. It’s a unique program that encourages repurposing and a plastic-free lifestyle. Bite uses glass bottles instead of plastic to package their toothpaste “bits”, which are refillable through their subscription service and recyclable.

Now that you know a few more ways to impart plastic-free living in your daily life, help spread the word! With so many alternatives out there for plastic and non-biodegradable materials that are toxic to the environment, what disposable plastic products can you cut out of your life and replace with sustainable ones?


Top Safety Tips for Women Traveling Alone

Although the idea of traveling solo as a woman seems be daunting, it can be the most rewarding once-in-a-lifetime opportunity you take–a journey of self-discovery if you will. For a lot of us, it’s a way to boost our confidence, move away from being co-dependent on another person to have a good time or feel safe, and a way to travel where we want when we want.

If you’re looking to go solo for whatever reason, there are many like-minded women out there looking to do the same. If it’s your first time on a solo travel adventure, keep reading to find great tips for safety for women traveling alone, other resources for solo female travelers, and tips you need to know before you embark on your solo travels.

Safety Tips for Women Traveling Solo for the First Time

When it comes down to it, solo travel is a matter of knowing yourself, doing your research, having a plan, and erring on the side of caution whenever possible. Hold onto the idea of prevention to keep you safe when you’re traveling abroad alone. Before you embark on your first solo trip, make sure you check out all the top safety tips for solo female travelers–or solo travelers in general–below.


Plan Ahead

Whenever you travel, always do your due diligence and study up on your destination–solo or not. It’s always good practice to find out if the country you’re traveling to speaks your language, or if most shops and restaurants only take cash. Thanks to the internet, it’s easy to find answers to all your glaring questions about whatever destination you are curious about.

Planning also means mapping out all the places you want to visit. Google Maps is helpful for finding out where Notre Dame is in relation to the Sacre Coeur in Paris, what time either attraction closes, and will provide images so you know whether or not you’re at the right place.

When booking your flight, try to arrive at your destination during the day. It’s harder to navigate at night, and there are probably fewer people on the road. Here’s a list of things you should research before you take on your solo traveler journey:

  • Culture – Read up on the culture at your planned destinations so that you don’t stick out like a sore thumb or offend anyone. Sometimes cultures will prefer bowing over handshakes, or conservative attire rather than exposed limbs.
  • Travel insurance – Janice Waugh of Solo Traveler dubs this a solo traveler must.
  • Transportation – How will you be getting around? Public transportation? Taxi? Uber or Lyft?
  • Reputable tours – Don’t wait until you arrive at your destination to book a tour. It may end up being more expensive, or unreliable.
  • Lodging – Whether you’re staying at a hostel, hotel, or Airbnb, make sure you have proper addresses and ways to contact the host if you have trouble finding your way. Most hosts and front desk agents are friendly and helpful–this isn’t their first rodeo. There aren’t a ton of women-only hostels, but if you were interested in staying in some, The Hostel Girl has a great list of female-only hostels in a few places around the world.
  • Costs – Try to estimate the costs of your trip and locate any ATMs in your area before you leave for your trip. Not every country will accept credit cards as readily as the U.S. You want to make sure you have enough local cash to get you by at least the first few days of your trip–if not the entire trip. In some countries, ATMs can be harder to come by or have high rates for international travelers, so plan ahead.
  • Tipping customs – Not every country accepts tips–some even take the gesture as disrespectful, and vice versa. Don’t get caught in an awkward or hostile situation. Plus, the more you know about, the less likely you’ll be hustled. If locals know you’re American, depending where you are in the world, they may take advantage of you.
  • Local convenience stores – try to find out if there are convenience stores close to where you’re staying in case you forget to bring body wash, tampons, or anything of the sort. You can find out from your lodging host ahead of time and mitigate any panic from your travels.
  • Places to visit – It’s worth mentioning again that you should plan and map out all the destinations you have in mind to visit–even if they’re maybe’s. Be diligent in planning an itinerary so you can maximize your vacation. Plan mini day trips, hikes (make sure they’re safe ones!), and even food stalls or restaurant options along your routes. Plus, if you’re picky with food, it might be worth doing a little extra digging or asking around for recommendations before your travels.


Pack for your destination

Customs and social climates differ all over the world. Study up on what locals wear so you can blend in. Oftentimes, tourists will stand out and become targets for pickpockets and swindlers.

It’s also of utmost importance for safety as a female solo traveler to generally err on the more conservative side. Some countries frown upon exposed legs or shoulders–take the Vatican for instance, which requires all women to cover their shoulders and knees, no matter how hot it is. It’s probably a good idea to avoid unwanted attention by ditching those tight-fitting tank tops and short-shorts when traveling to countries like India, Istanbul or even Dubai! A great piece to bring along with you is a sarong or a large scarf which can easily be tied around the body to cover up.

Stay alert

This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s worth touching on, especially when it’s so easy in this day and age to keep your head down and eyes glued to your phone’s screen. Not only should you open your eyes to your surroundings and soak in the culture and views of your travels, but you should also be aware of what’s going on around you, the faces you’re seeing and keeping an eye out for pickpockets or people who seem suspect.

As women, we tend to feel apologetic or afraid to accuse someone of wrongdoing–even if it is just in our heads–but when you’re a solo female traveler, it’s a matter of safety and our own well-being.

People-watching can be a great way to start your day in a new country. You can practice staying alert and getting to know your surroundings. Stop by a cafe to relax and watch as things are happening around you. It might make you more comfortable studying the interactions of locals around you, and allow you to blend in better. Local coffee shop workers might also know a thing or two about other great local spots to visit while you’re there, so it’s a win-win.

Be open to meeting new people

Since you’re traveling solo, try to make friends with other travelers. You might even meet another woman traveling alone! It’ll make your travels a bit safer if you have another set of eyes on you and your things–even if it’s only for a day. However, you can’t trust just anyone. Make sure you remain cautious and really get to know someone before you ever trust someone to watch your things for you. This is where your women’s intuition will serve you well.



Carry money and documents in different places

You never want to carry all your money, credit cards, passport and other important documents in the same place. Instead, keep small amounts of cash dispersed in different areas such as in smaller coin purses (for when you’re shopping around in a marketplace), in slightly larger forms of cash in a different pouch, in a money belt for emergencies, and even sprinkling cash here and there in different pockets of your bag.

When you’re in a safe and private place, count the cash you have left, and do a quick check of all your important items to make sure they’re all there each night. You want to have a general idea of how much cash you have so you don’t go searching in all your secret places for money when you want to pay someone. You’d also want to check to see if maybe something like your passport was taken from you so you’d have proper time to figure out a plan to replace it. Is there anything worse than realizing you don’t have your passport right before your flight?

Documents and passports, if possible, should be stored separately from your wallet, which you may be using most frequently. This will prevent you from pulling them out too much in public and potentially dropping something or leaving them somewhere.

Travel light

Don’t be weighed down by having multiple pieces of luggage that are difficult to maneuver on your adventures. A part of a solo journey is to be more independent, so plan to carry your own bags everywhere you go. If you can fit everything in a carry-on suitcase and a personal item, this is a great way to keep your items close, cut time waiting at baggage claim, and avoid your bags mysteriously going missing. Of course, some places are suitcase friendly, but if you’re staying in non-urban areas, your best bet may be to use a sturdy backpack instead.

If you plan on backpacking, avoid packing a bag that is too heavy for traveling. You don’t want to hurt your back or be literally weighed down by your backpack, which can cause unnecessary exhaustion or cut your days shorter. Bring what’s necessary, but do your research on the weather conditions at your destination. Even if it’s hot where you’re going, it’s always good to bring a light jacket and a pair of long pants just in case.

Leave the valuables at home. Your wedding ring can be left behind, or replaced with a silicone one. There’s no need to bring your diamond earrings either. The fewer valuables you bring along with you, the more stress-free you’ll be.

Join tours

Tours are a great way to meet fellow travelers (and even other women who are traveling alone). You’ll be safer with a group of people, and one or two tour guides who know their way around. You’ll learn a lot more about the history and culture that way too instead of wandering aimlessly. Some tours will allow you to explore a bit on your own and give recommendations on local restaurants or advice on the best times to visit major tourist attractions.

Take the time to find a tour company that has reviews from other travelers so you’ll have some peace of mind when you’re there. Also, be sure to ask questions before departing your home country about where to meet, and how they will communicate with you if a tour is delayed or canceled.


Don’t drink too much

If you choose to consume alcohol during your trip, make sure you pace yourself, eat beforehand, and always watch your drink. Alcohol can dull your senses and make you more susceptible to harm. Make sure you know your limits and stay within them. If possible, try to befriend the bartender, a group of women, or other travelers that you’ve gotten to know while sober. This tip goes for your trip abroad as well as at home.

Have a plan or safety net in place

If it’s possible, share your location with a loved one back home and plan a scheduled time where you’d send a message or call to let them know you’re safe. If you aren’t able to contact a loved one regularly, let them know your general location, where you’re staying, and share a detailed itinerary just in case.

If you won’t have cellular service, or if you’re unsure about the network coverage where you’ll be going, it’s always a good idea to screenshot maps of your destination, routes to and from important places like from the airport to the hotel, and keep addresses and names of places you’ll be visiting handy on your phone. The images won’t take any time to load and you won’t be using up any data to pull them up. Just make sure you have a good external battery with you so you’ll always have a charged phone.

Are you ready?

The list of safety tips for traveling alone is endless, but keeping these top safety tips in mind, you’ll be ready for an extremely rewarding solo trip. It’s okay to be a little nervous traveling all by yourself, just take it one step at a time, and trust your instincts.

You got this!