If you appreciate nature, the great outdoors and all the little and not-so-little critters and plants living in it, you know you can’t travel like an average tourist. Most people are happy to sit on a plane, travel to a popular destination, stay in resorts and come back home without worrying about how their holiday affects nature. Also, they don’t care about experiencing the wonders of the natural world. But, if you live for those nature-heavy and friendly vacations, here are a few travel tips you need to keep in mind.

Pick the Right Destination

Every nature trip starts with a good destination. While nature can be found all around us, there are destinations that offer better outdoor experiences, so make sure to look into them for your next vacation. Make sure your destination is not only blessed with beautiful landscapes and wildlife, but also with people who are eco-conscious and willing to preserve nature. Countries that invest a lot of money into nature conservation are New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, and Scandinavian countries, so you might want to support their efforts and visit their green countries.

Choose the Right Transportation Mode

While it might be the easiest, air travel is definitely not the greenest way to travel and it always leaves a huge carbon footprint behind. However, sometimes you simply need to hop on a plane, and if you’re traveling to a faraway destination alone, it’s better for the environment to fly than to drive across the globe. On the other hand, if you’re visiting a more local destination or if you’re traveling with a group of friends, you can choose greener ways to get to your destination. Traveling by bus leaves the smallest carbon footprint, but trains are also a green option. If you want to drive, use a small electric car or even have a biking adventure to minimize your emission!

Travel Light

Traveling light is not only easier on your back and wallet, but it’s also much greener. No matter where you’re going, you can always minimize your luggage and reduce the strain of your plane, bus, train or car. The bigger the weight a vehicle or aircraft needs to carry, the more fuel they will waste and produce more pollution, so pack smart and leave at home everything you won’t 100% need on your trip.

Pack Smart

If you’re visiting a resort, you really need a minimal amount of things (swimsuit, sandals, a few tees and pants and that’s about it) but if you’re opting for a more nature-related trip, you will need to pack a few necessities that will come in handy in the great outdoors. Start with reliable otf knives that are suitable for all sorts of actions, from cutting rope to making shelter and fending off predators. And they will help you greatly when preparing delicious al fresco meals! Of course, you should never go on a trip without a first aid kit, so make sure to leave space in your backpack for these safety items. Tactical clothing is also necessary, especially when camping outside.

Choose Green Accommodation

More and more travelers are trying to conserve nature and hotels and resorts picked up on that, so they are turning their traditional accommodation offers into an eco-friendly stay experience. Before you book a hotel/motel/resort, check online to see how green they are. There are even websites that rate accommodation according to their eco-friendliness, so don’t just book blindly. Of course, staying in independent accommodation or choosing to camp is always the best for the environment and local economy.

Shop Locally

Another way to protect a beautiful place is to shop locally and support the destination from an economic standpoint. When visiting a new natural spot, see what locals do and try to imitate the way they experience the place—shop at local shops, eat at small restaurants, visit farmer’s markets and experience the culture and art of the place. In many cases, big chains have no regard for nature and turn beautiful spots into construction sites, so it’s best to give your money to small, family-owned businesses that actually care.

Don’t Leave Anything Behind

Did you notice that those beaches and landscapes you see in photos and Instagram posts are usually not that beautiful in real life? In many cases, they are speckled with garbage and devoid of flora and fauna, and humans are to blame. So instead of causing devastation, be part of the solution and leave no trace when traveling. Make sure to take all your trash with you when spending time in nature, and if possible, pick up other garbage you come across. Don’t disturb the wildlife and be gentle when hiking and walking through the greenery.

Now that you have these tips in mind, you can organize green and eco-friendly vacation full of natural beauty and organic excitement. Pack your bags (as lightly as possible), board your green transportation, and head to your destination to explore nature and meet locals.

Have any more tips for traveling green? Let us know down in the comments.

This article was originally published in GREY Journal.