11 simple tips for travelling more sustainably
Becoming a sustainable traveller is a lot easier than you might think – and we’ve put together a few simple tips on how to make your trip to Scandinavia just a little bit greener. Don’t worry, you don’t have to follow every single tip, but no action is ever too small to make a difference.
1. Go digital
Instead of buying guidebooks to take on your trip, we recommend purchasing e-book versions of them instead. They take less space, are cheaper, and much more sustainable – it’s a win-win situation. Instead of the classic foldable map, use Google Maps – it’s free. It will reliably show you the way, even when you’re offline. Simply download your desired map, and you’ll be able to use it anywhere – even as a navigational tool while driving.
Tip: If you do use paper guidebooks and paper maps: Did you know that you can leave them at hotels (or even cafés if they allow it) at the end of your trip for future guests to use? This way, they don’t end up in the bin and will help other travellers enjoy Scandinavia as much as you did.
2. Say no to plastic
Did you know that Scandinavia is home to some of the best tap water in the world? Crystal clear spring water right out of the tap squashes your need to buy water bottles. Simply bring your own reusable one from home and refill it wherever you go. There are plenty of places where you can refill your bottle. You could even go a step further and pack a reusable bag for your groceries and souvenirs so that you can say no to plastic bags in shops.
3. Say yes to public transport
Scandinavia boasts some of the best public transport systems in the world. When visiting your destination, we recommend travelling by public transport as much as possible – especially in the big cities. In almost all Scandinavian cities, you can rent either bicycles, electric bicycles, or electric scooters. However, we think that the best way to explore your destination is on foot – this way, you’ll discover many hidden gems you might have missed otherwise!
Tip: If you decide to travel through Scandinavia by car, you can ask for an electric or hybrid car. In Norway especially, there are plenty of charging ports, and you will save money on petrol.
4. Prioritise local and seasonal produce
One of the most effective ways to experience the place you’re visiting is to prioritise seasonal and local produce. Many restaurants, cafés and even hotels actively focus on tailoring their menu around the seasons, and most of them hand-pick their local suppliers. Not only will you get the very best of what Scandinavia has to offer on your plate, but you’ll also support the local economy. If you’re cooking for yourself, simply ask an employee at the grocery shop – they will be happy to tell you what’s in season at that moment
5. Support local craftspeople and artists
Souvenirs are lovely keepsakes of the places you’ve visited or a small and thoughtful gift to bring home to your friends and family. The best items to bring home are always those made with love and have a story behind them. Many local craftspeople and artists make a living from their art, and by supporting them, you will help ensure their specialist skills live on. Local delicacies are also a fantastic way to bring a little piece of Scandinavia back to your own home.
6. Leave only your footprints behind
Whether you are hiking up a jagged mountain in Norway, strolling through a quaint forest in Sweden, or tucking into a tasty picnic on a beach in Denmark, make sure to leave everything behind just as you found it. Usually, bins are provided, but if you can’t find one, keep hold of your rubbish until you find one. When walking in nature, you will quickly realise there are paths and trails almost everywhere. Try your best to remain on these trails, as this protects the local flora and fauna.
7. Go the extra mile
Many hotels in Scandinavia focus on becoming greener, and all of them contribute to sustainability in Scandinavia in their own way. At Haman Group, we prioritise working with these hotels. Here are a few little things you can do to go the extra mile: Switch off the lights, air conditioning or heating when you leave your hotel room. Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth, and try to reuse the same towels if you stay at a hotel for several nights.
8. Get friendly with the locals
Inform yourself about local rules and respect any information displayed on signs – after all, rules in Scandinavia may differ from where you’re travelling from. Most people you’ll meet during your travels will be more than happy to have a chat with you and answer any questions you might have. We also recommend visiting museums to learn about the culture and history of the country you’re visiting.
Tip: The locals will be delighted if you learn some simple phrases in the language of your host country (such as ‘Good Morning’).
9. Inspire others
If you’re particularly impressed with a sustainable practice, create awareness by posting about it on social media or share it with family and friends. If you’re posting on social media, tag the destination and use hashtags such as #responsibletravel, #recycle, #respectnature. This way, you will create awareness of sustainable practices and hopefully inspire others.
10. Research Non-Profits
Before you travel, we recommend you do a little research and find ethical non-profit organizations or community projects at your destination. If you choose to support them, you can book an experience, purchase any products that are produced there, or simply make a donation.
11. Offset your carbon emissions
Each traveller has a carbon footprint, but luckily it’s very easy to compensate. You can offset your footprint by participating in greenhouse gas compensation programs. We recommend these three websites to do this: