People travel to the United States for various reasons, each as diverse as the country itself. For some, it’s the appeal of iconic cities like New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Others are drawn by the stunning natural landscapes, from the awe-inspiring Grand Canyon to the majestic Rocky Mountains.

Travelling can be a long and emissions-intensive journey. However, as the world becomes aware of the environmental impact of tourism, there are eco-friendly tips and alternatives for travelling that have less impact on the environment and support the locals. 

Planning and preparing your trip

When planning your trip to the United States, consider alternative routes that minimise carbon emissions. Direct flights are often more fuel-efficient than connecting flights, so opt for non-stop options whenever possible. Additionally, explore the possibility of flying into airports with sustainability initiatives, such as San Francisco International Airport or Portland International Airport.

Eco Luxury Modern Mountain Retreat Woodstock, NY
Eco-Luxury Modern Mountain Retreat Woodstock, NY

Your choice of accommodation can significantly impact the sustainability of your trip. Look for eco-friendly hotels, hostels, or vacation rentals that have implemented green practices, such as energy-efficient lighting, water-saving fixtures, and waste reduction programs. Many eco-conscious accommodations also source their food locally and prioritise recycling and composting.

Consider staying in eco-friendly accommodations like Earthships in Taos, New Mexico, or sustainable lodges near national parks where you can immerse yourself in nature without leaving a heavy ecological footprint.

pubblic transport in san francisco
Photo via Canva PRO

There are green options to get around and explore your destinations. Choose public transportation options like buses, trams, or subways to explore cities like New York, Chicago, or San Francisco. These modes of transport are eco-friendly and offer an authentic way to experience local life.

As you prepare for your trip, consider the convenience, flexibility, and eco-friendliness of eSIM United States. When choosing an eSIM provider, compare plans and prices to find the best option. Many eSIM providers like Holafly offer plans for the United States.

Unlike traditional physical SIM cards, an eSIM lets you activate a local phone number and data plan right from your device, eliminating the need for a physical SIM card swap that can add more e-waste to the landfill.

Eco-friendly destination and activities

San Francisco, United States
San Francisco, United States, photo by Maarten van den Heuvel, via Unsplash

The United States is home to various stunning natural landscapes and cultural attractions, making it a popular destination for travellers. These destinations fulfil your need for exploration and contribute to preserving natural and cultural treasures.

Utah’s Arches National Park has over 2,000 natural arches, including iconic landmarks like Delicate Arch and Landscape Arch.  Another popular park is the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, one of the Seven Natural Wonders. Whether hiking along its rim, crossing the park on a bike, camping in its shadow, or rafting down the Colorado River, the park offers an array of adventures.

The Denver Museum of Nature and Science would be an exciting spot for history buffs. Located in City Park, Colorado, it is one of the largest museums in the Rocky Mountain region. Visitors can learn about dinosaurs, space exploration, and the natural world. With LEED Gold certification, the museum uses recycled materials and energy-efficient lighting. 

Peaceful Heart Farm is also worth checking out for farm stays, workshops, and tours. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, it is a certified organic farm committed to sustainable practices such as crop rotation, composting, and cover cropping.

California's Big Sur
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California’s Big Sur coastline is a dreamscape of towering cliffs, pristine beaches, and ancient redwood forests. In addition, the Big Sur community is equally committed to sustainability, with many local businesses adopting practices that minimise their environmental impact. 

Sustainable travel tips

Packaging light is one of the simplest and most effective ways to lessen your environmental impact while travelling to the United States. The principle is straightforward: the lighter your luggage, the less fuel your flight will consume. 

light luggage and reusable waterbottle
Photo via Canva PRO

Another sustainable travel strategy is to bring a reusable water bottle. Many airports and travel hubs now have water bottle refill stations, allowing you to stay hydrated without generating plastic waste.

Conserving energy is an integral part of responsible travel. Turn off lights, heating or cooling systems, and appliances when you’re not using them. 

Consider renting an electric car for longer journeys between cities or regions. Many car rental agencies in the United States offer environmentally friendly vehicle options, allowing you to explore with a lower carbon footprint.

As you explore the United States, support businesses that share your commitment to sustainability. Seek out restaurants, shops, and hotels implementing eco-friendly practices. Many establishments prioritise sourcing locally, reducing waste, and conserving resources. Your patronage encourages responsible business practices, helps stimulate the local economy, and promotes sustainable tourism.

Cover image: photo by Jennifer Rogalla via Unsplash

Author: Silvia Ombellini

I am an architect with a passion for travel. I think it is urgent to be able to live in harmony with the ecosystem we are part of. After the birth of my second baby, Leo, I began to work at Ecobnb, an adventure undertaken to change the way we travel, to make it more sustainable, respectful of the environment, places and people.
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