Sustainable Travel Tips / by Ellen Cotten

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Vacation is a time when we leave all our worries behind, don’t have a care in the world, sit back & relax.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to do all of this on vacation however, one thing we should be conscious of while traveling is respecting the places we go to visit.

Here are my tips to sustainable, conscious travel:



Our oceans are littered with trash!
Things like plastic bottles, straws, food wrappers, single use bags and bottle caps.

When traveling you eat out more, consuming lots of single use plastics and waste throughout the duration of your stay.

Think ahead and pack useable gear to take with you to coffee shops and juice bars.

Many local businesses appreciate when you bring in your own cup, jar, bowl, etc and some may even offer a discount for doing so!


-Reusable jar/water bottle
-Reusable straws
-Togo container/bento box
-Utensils kit
-Reusable bags

Check out the eco-friendly section in my store for links to some of my favorite useable products!


When visiting any beach it is important to use reef safe sunscreen.

Using non toxic sunscreen protects our reefs, wildlife and our own health!

Most commercial sunscreens have oxybenzone and octinoxate which contribute to coral bleaching.

14,000 tons of sunscreen enter coral reefs a year according to the National Park Service.

Avoiding sunscreens that contain oxybenzone and octinoxate is a must!

Raw elements is an awesome reef safe, all natural sunscreen company.

I’m also a fan of combing through Etsy for homemade, low ingredient, all natural sunscreens.



In the age of social media everyone wants a photo of everything.

I know a photo of a sun bathing turtle at the beach will really pop off your Instagram feed, but respecting animals is cooler!

Here on Hawaii the rule is to keep 15ft distance from any wildlife you may encounter.

Even so, when wildlife comes onto the beach you see crowds gathered at 15.5ft all trying to get their best shot and video.

Travel destinations like Hawaii see visitors year round, meaning this happens to these animals on a daily basis.

Choose to respect wildlife over having a cute photo for social media.

It’s just the right thing to do.



Leave everyplace you visit in a better condition than which you arrived.

It should go without saying that one should pick up any and all trash they have accumulated while at the beach, park, etc.

Sadly, this is not the case and lazy humans leave a trash trail wherever they go.

We should go above and beyond by not only cleaning up our space, but picking up loose trash we may see while out and about.

Trash ends up in our oceans, gets mistaken by animals as food and is disrespectful to others who want to enjoy the space after you.

It’s simple: don’t be trashy!



Buying local supports the community, stimulates local economy and business owners.

Local businesses could be restaurants, gift shops, juice bars or grocery stores.

There are many local products within shops and stores as well.

I love to visit a farmers market wherever I travel.

Food at farmer’s markets travel considerably less miles than food that is imported in, making it the ultimate eco friendly option.

Farmer’s markets are an excellent showcase of local produce, products and handmade items that the community has to offer.

Those are my tips to make your next vacation a little more eco friendly!

Remember, it’s not about perfection.

If we each try to be a little more conscious of our actions, it will make a world of difference collectively!