Sustainable Travel Tips on a Budget

Want to leave goodness in your path when you travel?

These sustainable travel tips will help you to embark on travels that are good for the earth, communities and yourself.

They will help you to immerse in local culture, see the land through the eyes of the people who live there and it will save you a ton of money.

It’s also possible to travel sustainably while on a budget…here’s our tips.

Sustainable travel tips
Sustainable travel tips – Walk, bike and use public transportation over taxis, rental cars, and flights.

Sustainable Travel Tips on a Budget

Live happy. Live healthy. Live free. Live beyond yourself. And travel sustainably.

Here’s our top sustainable travel tips:

1. Walk, bike and use public transportation over taxis, rental cars, and flights.

2. Eat locally produced food. Stick to a whole food plant based diet, which means more veggies, fruits, grains, nuts and less or no animal products

3. Be a part of the local economy. Eat local, shop local, play local. Avoid national chains and corporations.

4. Reduce- Reuse- Recycle– In that order. Trash sucks, don’t make it! Check out our sustainable camping tips.

5. Use the sharing economy. Use websites like couchsurfing.comwarmshowers.org, wwoof.net and craigslist.org. The sharing economy is one of our top tips for how to travel the world for free!

6. Buy less stuff and purchase used stuff when you can. You can buy second-hand camping gear, luggage and clothes.

7. Conserve water and electricity. Just be conscious of your usage. Refrain from buying water in plastic bottles by rather taking your own travel water bottle and filling it up with tap water (where safe).

8. Don’t use one time use anything’s (bags, take out containers, bottled water, straws, napkins etc.) Carry your own reusable dishes, cutlery and bags.

9. Positive consumerism. Buy from businesses that are using business for good.

10. Simplify. The less you need the easier it is to be friendly to our planet and to get around.

11. Travel light and carry only what you need (here’s our guide on how to pack lightly). It will force you to interact with the locals.

12. Be conscious. When you make decisions take into account where things come from and how they were produced. If you don’t know then find out. Take action by putting the information you find to good use.

13. Live beyond yourself. How do your actions affect other humans, animals, and the earth? Make your decisions based on the wellbeing of everyone and everything not just you.

14. Lend a hand to the local community. Spend time at orphanages, volunteer at a community kitchen, or pick up trash from the beach. There are so many ways to give back!

15. Help protect wildlife by refusing to purchase wildlife products and take part in tourism activities that include animals.

16. Don’t go where you’re asked not to go. Certain places are out of bounds for a reason – they could be private land, or they could be protected wildlife areas. Respect the rules of both the land and the local community.

Check out these other sustainable travel tips:


How to do Sustainable Camping

Camping provides access to beautiful hiking and fishing sports, making it the ideal way to escape from the daily chores so you can unwind and relax.

It is important to keep the environment in mind though – and that’s where sustainable camping comes in.

There are a lot of things you can do to make your stay at a campsite eco-friendly.  

Sustainable camping tips
Sustainable camping tips

Related Read: Camping Survival Tips for Adults

Top tips for sustainable camping

Let’s have a look at the things you can do to minimize the damage on the environment when camping:

Use solar energy 

When camping in a motor home, portable solar equipment creates pollution-free electricity and therefore it is an excellent clean alternative. They can provide power for a number of devices such as radios, chargers and lights.

If you want to have a shower in the great outdoors why not use a solar shower? It is as simple as filling a water bag in the morning so that you’re ready to wash in the afternoon. 

Here’s a few great solar-powered camping gadgets:

These are all great gadgets to add to your sustainable camping kit!

Take your litter with you 

Campsites have huge problems with waste, therefore if you go to a campsite make sure you throw away all the litter you have produced. Instead of adding to the litter problem, try to leave the campground in better condition than you have found it. This is crucial because it can take months or even years for litter to decompose. Also try not to leave food, as this attract animals to the campsite for a snack.  

Have a safe fire 

Most campsites have fire restrictions you should pay attention to, whilst other campsites even have their own fire rings you can use. When choosing wood go for fallen timber instead of cutting wood off trees.

When you can’t make a fire because of safety restrictions you can use camping stoves to cook, lanterns to provide you with light and extra clothing to keep you warm.  

Wash it green

If you keep the environment in mind and bring reusable cutlery then also wash it green. Instead of using toxic detergent, you should try to use biodegradable soaps. Also remember that liquid waste should not be emptied into a river, but onto vegetation or dry ground.  

Green equipment 

Nowadays caravan dealers choice in camping materials, so choose wisely. When it comes to sustainable camping you can consider the following idea’s:

Choose a tent that is completely made out of recycled materials. If that’s a bit too expensive for you, have a look at pre-owned tents or eco-friendly tents at a sporting goods store.

There is also a broad range of eco-friendly sleeping bags. Whatever choice you make, be sure to look at the materials before you decide to buy a tent or sleeping bag.

Check out these great camping spots in the US:


Graz street and square

Enjoy a Sustainable Weekend in Graz

 

If you’ve never heard of the city of Graz, Austria before, it is because Graz truly is one of Europe’s last hidden gems.

Situated in the south-east of Austria, Graz offers the perfect escape for those longing to escape overwhelming tourist crowds and fast travel.

Here are some tips on how to spend an enjoyable and sustainable weekend in Graz:

Friday: First Impressions

After arriving at your hotel (for example the newly refurbished Grand Hotel Wiesler), you can use the last hours of the day to gather some first impressions of the city. Head over to the Graz Tourist office, located in the city center, to pick up your town map as well as some useful insider tips. While you’re there, you can also consider investing in BACKUP, a reusable coffee cup, perfect for a guilt-free sip of espresso on the go. You can either keep it as a functional souvenir of your time in Graz, or return the cup to any of the 60+ participating cafes in the city.

Schlossberg

Once you are equipped, it is time to get a real feel for the city. And what better way to do so than by getting a bird’s eye view? Once the home to an impressive castle, Schlossberg has been the heart of the city for hundreds of years. Although the castle fell during the Napoleonic wars, the people of Graz never lost their love for this lush green oasis with a view.

There are several ways of getting to the top and each offers a unique experience in their own way. You can either take the ever-popular Schlossberg steps from the base of the mountain at Schlossbergplatz, or, if you’re tired, opt for the funicular or the lift instead. And who wouldn’t want to take an elevator through the middle of a mountain?

At the top, you can take a stroll along the cobble-stoned paths, seek out hidden corners, and, of course, marvel at the impressive clock tower. And if you feel that you are losing track of time, it may be because you are losing yourself in the beauty of the place, but if you take a closer look, perhaps it’s just because the hands on the clock tower are actually reversed.

End your day with a stunning view of the red rooftops of the city with a glass of crisp south-Styrian wine at the sky bar of the Schlossberg restaurant or Aiola Upstairs.

PS: If you’re up for a kick of adrenaline, take the Schlossberg slide on your way down!

Saturday: Hip, Green, And Trendy

One of the best things to do in Graz during the warmer months is to enjoy its ample green spaces and explore some of the city’s most trendy neighborhoods, Lend and Gries.

Farmers’ Markets

Start your day early and head to one of the numerous farmers’ markets in the city. Here, you can shop for fresh regional and seasonal produce while supporting the local economy where it matters most. On average, the fruits and vegetables, meats and cheeses, and other products are produced within just 20km of the city. The markets are very popular among the locals, so do be sure to come early or everything will be sold out!

One of the best farmer’s markets in Graz is located on Lendplatz. While you’re here, you can also sit down at one of the many hip cafes in the area and enjoy a cup of coffee and a piece of cake. Lenz im Lend is the perfect address for coffee during your market visit.

Tip: If you ever get thirsty along your way, keep an eye open for places with a ‘Refill Austria’ sticker on the door. Here, you can fill up your water bottle with tap water for free and avoid buying plastic bottles along the way.

Sustainable Shopping

Continuing on your adventure in Lend, you will come across a number of smaller, boutique-style shops in the area. The Lend district is known for its quirky art scene. Graz is part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network and was named the first City of Design in Austria. As a result, numerous design shops have settled here throughout the last years. Two of the best known are Offline and Tag.Werk.

Offline primarily employs individuals struggling with addiction. The goal of the project is to offer entry-level employment to ease the return of addicts or former addicts into the labor market. In the shop, you can find second-hand clothing, as well as various up-cycled items ranging from accessories to furniture.

Tag.Werk offers employment to underprivileged youth. In the shop, you can primarily find bags and backpacks made from up-cycled materials which makes each piece unique.

Funky Architecture

Returning to the city center, you will come across several quirky structures, such as the Murinsel (island in the Mur) and Kunsthaus (modern art museum). Both were conceptualized in 2003, when Graz was the European Capital of Culture. They offer a stark contrast to the traditional architecture found within the old town of Graz and dazzle the eye with pops of color, especially during the night.

Kunsthaus, also dubbed the ‘Friendly alien’ due to its biomorphic blue shape, is home to ever-changing exhibitions dedicated to modern art, starting from 1960. The exhibitions offer a good mix of Austrian and foreign artists and are sure to leave you inspired after your visit. The museum is also home to one of the best design shops in the city and well worth popping in your head for. If you’re in dire need of a break, the Kunsthauscafe is one of the most popular and trendy cafes in Graz.

Multicultural Flair

Continuing on on the banks of the river Mur, quite literally the pulsing artery of the city, you leave the funky yet glitzy Lend district and enter into Gries. Once known only for its red-light district, Gries has developed significantly over the last couple of decades. It still retains much of its grungy edges yet introduces a much-needed breath of multicultural flair into the city.

Today, Gries is home to a multitude of Asian, Middle-Eastern, and African shops as well as cafes and restaurants. Before World War II it was also home to a large proportion of the Jewish community in Graz. At the location of a previous synagogue which was destroyed during the November pogroms in 1938, you now find a modern structure with a glass dome in its place.

Keep your eyes open for street art as you make your way south. Several intriguing pieces are hidden in the small paths and alleyways in the area!

Augarten

From the synagogue, cross onto the other side of the Mur river. Here, you will find the newly reopened Augarten, one of the city’s most important green spaces. It offers a welcome reprieve from the heat during the hot summer months. The river brings a cool breeze and the trees offer plenty of shade. Benches and lounge chairs invite you to stay and have a picnic with friends.

On the edge of the park, you can also find a little cafe, Paulschlössl. It is one of several so-called ReUse cafes in Graz. The cafe offers employment to those disadvantaged in the labor market, be it due to age, health, or a lack of qualifications. The goods are sourced seasonally and regionally and most of the interior is made up of up-cycled materials.

Styrian Cuisine

End your day by enjoying some typically Styrian cuisine. The best address for classic yet elevated dishes is Der Steirer. Found at the location of a former wine bar run by Hans Weitzer, this restaurant embodies the Austrian concept of “Gemütlichkeit”, or coziness. True to its heritage, the restaurant offers a nearly endless supply of wine along with a delicious selection of Austrian dishes. You can either taste yourself through the menu with their Styrian tapas, or keep it simple by ordering a traditional Styrian Backhendl (fried chicken). No matter which way you decide, you’ll be sure to finish your day on a high note.

Sunday: Historic Old Town

Sunday is the perfect day to explore the city’s historic old town as well as some of its excellent museums. While you’re here, be sure to make use of the free tram connection between Jakominiplatz and Südtirolerplatz or Jakominiplatz and Schlossbergplatz.

Stroll through the historic old town

Graz’s biggest draw is obviously its gorgeous and well-preserved medieval center, one of the best-preserved medieval centers in Europe. As you take a stroll through Graz’s UNESCO-protected center, you will encounter an array of elegant palaces and townhouses which bear proof to the city’s Baroque heyday.

Start your tour at the city’s main square, Hauptplatz, and take a moment to marvel at the impressive city hall. Then, make your way uphill through Sporgasse and let the cobblestones take you to some of the city’s most imposing squares, Karmeliterplatz and Freiheitsplatz.

Pass the Graz castle and get dizzy on its double spiral staircase, get dazzled by the elaborate tomb of Emperor Ferdinand II. Take a short breather in the castle park (Burggarten) or the city’s main park (Stadtpark) below. Don’t miss the beautiful opera house as well as the city’s own version of the Statue of Liberty on your way back. Head down Graz’s premier shopping street, Herrengasse, and enjoy the intricate facades. It is also the location of one of the city’s most memorable buildings, the painted house.

Enjoy Mediterranean flair

On the way, you will pass the Landhaushof, one of the best examples of Renaissance architecture in Graz. The whole of the inner city has an Italian Renaissance overlay to it, lending Graz a very Mediterranean feel, unlike any other Austrian city.

Once you return to Hauptplatz, navigate through some of the narrow alleyways on its western edge to reach the Franziskanerviertel. Have a seat at one of the many street-side cafes and enjoy a glass of Aperol Spritz for a feel of Italy in Austria.

A visit to the Styrian Armory

When spending a weekend in Graz, a visit to the Styrian Armory is a must. With more than 30,000 items on display, the Styrian Armory is the largest preserved arsenal in the world. Built as a stock of arms to be handed to the local population in the event of a Turkish attack, the rich collection includes suits of armor, helmets, breastplates, swords, firearms, and cannons.

Besides the Styrian Armory, there are a number of other museums in Graz that are well-worth visiting. Some of these are Graz Museum, the Natural History Museum, and the New Gallery.

Hearty Austrian dinner

To round off your visit to Graz, head to Glockenspielplatz for your dinner. At 6 o’clock PM you will find two figurines dancing up in the gable of one of the buildings. Clothed in traditional costumes, they sway to three different tunes played by 24 bells.

In the same building as the Glockenspiel, you will find Glöcklbräu, one of the most popular restaurants among locals and visitors alike. Finish your weekend in Graz with a hearty portion of Spätzle or a traditional serving of Schnitzel, washed down with a tall glass of beer.