Tips for Eco-Friendly Travel

May 4, 2023

For those of us who love animals and wildlife, travel is a wonderful way to experience the world and broaden our horizons. We get to see nature in a way we haven’t before, whether we’re going to the beach in Key West, hiking mountains in Colorado, or just visiting some pretty lakeshore areas in Wisconsin.

As the summer travel season arrives, consider your impact on the environment as you visit different locales. Your actions while away from home can make a difference for both humans and animals. Here are a few ways you can make sure your effect on the ecosystems you visit will not result in harm to sensitive areas. Take Action With Us as you plan your family vacation this summer!

1. Support Accredited Zoos and Sanctuaries

If you’re visiting an area with a zoo or aquarium, make sure they are accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums by utilizing their online list. These institutions follow strict standards of animal care, scientific education, and staff training. And remember: if you are a Lincoln Park Zoo member, you may be able to use your reciprocal zoo benefit to receive a discount on admission. If you visit an animal sanctuary, check to ensure they are accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, or GFAS.

2. Ask for the Origin

Lincoln Park Zoo advocates for the reduction of illegal wildlife trafficking through individual actions we can all take. One small but important thing you can do is to ask for the origin: When you are shopping at marketplaces and retail centers while traveling, be a smart shopper. Find out where animal products are made and whether they are legal to sell and export. This can reduce the chance that you’ll unknowingly support practices that harm wildlife.

3. Pause Before Posting

Do not pose for photos in direct contact with wildlife, especially if you have reason to think they’re not living in situations where they can thrive. Animals in these “photo op” experiences may have been illegally taken from the wild.

You may be tempted to digitally document everything you experience while on vacation—but it if involves exotic animals being viewed as pets or performers, consider leaving that out of your online photo album. Research has shown that inappropriate images of wildlife can have negative effects on their welfare, and you do not want to contribute to the complex and immense problem of wildlife trafficking.

4. Reduce Your Use of Single-use Plastic


To help save the oceans and its inhabitants, like grey and harbor seals, when traveling, take a refillable water bottle and a stainless steel straw with you. Pack your own cutlery. Bring a reusable laundry bag and your own canvas shopping bags. Pack your toiletries in small, silicone containers. Where possible, use biodegradable products like bamboo toothbrushes and solid soaps and shampoos.

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