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10 Steps For The Eco-Friendly Traveler | Post COVID-19 Action Items

August 4, 2020

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Maddy Khentigan
Written By
Maddy Khentigan

Over the past few months, quarantine did more than just reduce the spread of Coronavirus, it allowed the natural world to thrive. Global air pollution levels have decreased, water pollution began to clear, and wildlife came out of hiding. Of course this is wonderful, but we have to remember that as life slowly goes back to normal, so does this progress. What can we do to stop this from happening? There must be ways we can learn from this, right? RIGHT. We have to reflect on these last few months and use them as learning lessons. Let's go over what we've learned, see (shocking) before and after pictures around the world, and list out the top 10 steps for the eco-friendly traveler. Let's get into it:   


So class, what was our biggest takeaway? Put your hands down. I'll answer for you. We've learnt that our footprint really does make a difference - a huge difference. Every one of us made small changes throughout isolation, such as:

    • We stopped making unnecessary Target runs.
    • We stopped spending money at restaurants when we knew darn well that we had food in the fridge

Yes, quarantine was difficult, but the effects it had on Mother Earth was incredible! Below are pictures from around the world, both before and after isolation. See the difference you made: 

Milan, Italy

January 2020

Milan, Italy

April 2020

New Delhi, India

October 2019

New Delhi, India

April 2020 (after a 21-day nationwide lockdown)


Venice, Italy

January 2018

Venice, Italy

April 2020

Isn't that incredible? These dramatic changes prove that we DO effect climate change and that we CAN make a difference in the health of our environment, the health of ourselves, and the health of our future great grandbabies. But now the question is, can we keep this up once our isolation period is over? 

10 Easy Steps for the Eco-Friendly Traveler: 

1. Bring Your Own Water Bottle

50 billion plastic water bottles were purchased in the USA alone last year and only about 23% were recycled. We can do better. Bring your own reusable water bottle from now on. 


2. Support Local

Most of the money spent on tourism (sometimes up to 90%) leak out of the actual travel destination. Instead, they make their way back to big global, corporate tourism operators.

(TIP: Use your Online Welcome Book to guide you to the best local surroundings)


3. Support Eco Friendly Tour Companies

  • Check out Intrepid Travel. They were the first tour company to become completely carbon neutral. They arrange small group travel, local accommodation, and hire locals.
  • Sustaining Tourism has a long list of sustainable tour operators around the world.


4. Stay With The Right People

Research before you book a hotel or furnished apartment. Does this company have sustainability standards themselves? Start building relationships with suppliers that have aligning values when it comes to bettering the environment. Here are some sustainability measures we have at Compass: 

    • Solar panels in our Quincy office
    • NEST energy conscious thermostats in our apartments
    • Biodegradable cleaning products
    • Recycling bins in all apartments and offices
    • Donating old furniture to those in need 
    • Hybrid Compass Vehicles 
    • Online Welcome Books (no more wasteful print outs)
5. Transportation
How are you getting around? Use Uber, Lyft, and public transportation whenever possible. It's more sustainable and will save you on parking, tolls, rental cars, etc. If a rental car is needed, remember to choose a hybrid or another fuel-efficient option!

6. Carbon Offset Programs

Take advantage of a carbon offset program. They give airline passengers the option to invest in carbon reduction projects to help reduce their carbon footprint caused by travel. Take a look at Atmosfair and for more information.


7. Remember Your Earphones (+ Water Bottles)

If 1.2 billion people travel each year (many of which are flying), that means there's countless of those poor quality, plastic airplane earphones and drinking cups that end up getting thrown in the trash and then dumped into our oceans. Remember to bring your headphones and water bottles when you fly!


8. Fly With Renewable Biofuel Airlines

If you've never heard of Biofuels, I definitely recommend you check it out. Biofuels are produced using renewable feedstock such as plant oils, agricultural waste and wood chips. Using this type of fuel instead of fossil fuels can reduce carbon emissions by up to 80%. Airlines that invest in and use renewable biofuels today include Jet Blue and American Airlines.


9. Remember Your Multi-Purpose Plug

You know those multi-purpose plugs that fit in just about every local socket in the world? Get one of those and always keep it in your suitcase. This will avoid having to purchase different ones for each trip – a massive time, money and plastic saver. 


10. Check Sustainability Certifications

Ask providers for their green certification and check whether that certifier has been approved by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). The GSTC provides a set of minimum requirements in order to be approved.  Some examples being: 

    • protecting and sustaining natural and cultural resources
    • maximizing social and economic benefits for the local community
    • encouraging cultural heritage 

We have the ability to make a powerful difference in the world. Hopefully Mother Earth's transformation during our isolation period acted as a positive lesson for future sustainability practices. If all of us can implement small, eco-friendly habits into our normal routines, we'll not only be able to maintain a thriving environment for future generations, but we, ourselves, will be able to live longer, healthier, more enjoyable lives. 



Contact Us




Hey, guys! It's Maddy, the Content Creator at Compass. This year made everyone rethink their travel routine, but make sure you're also thinking about eco-friendly travel measures, too. Find me here on LinkedIn and we'll connect!


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