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Exploring sustainable eating: Tips for travellers on the go

eating sustainably while travelling

Food and travel have always gone hand in hand. You can’t explore new destinations without indulging in local cuisines, savoring regional delicacies, and discovering culinary traditions. I mean I don’t know about you, but some of my favourite travel memories include the meals that I’ve had in each country I’ve been to.

However, as we set off across the globe, we can start to marry our exploration with eco-consciousness, making each meal a celebration of both local cuisine and planetary well-being. I know I know… practicing sustainable eating habits while on the go does not sound like the easiest thing to do. You’re in a new country, you haven’t slept in two days, and you just want to find a Starbucks and go to bed. Trust me I’ve been there. That’s why I have all the tips and tricks on how to eat sustainably in any country. 

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What does it mean to eat sustainably?

Let’s start off easy – to eat sustainably, means to consciously make choices about food that have a positive impact on the environment (and your health). It’s knowing where your food came from, what is in it, and who your money is going to. It’s a way to support farming, agriculture, and local artisans through how you shop and choose where to eat. 

So, how can you do it?

1. Research local cuisine and sustainable options

Before heading out on your journey, take some time to research your destination’s local cuisine and sustainable dining options. Look for restaurants and markets that prioritize locally sourced ingredients, organic produce, and sustainable practices. Since we are becoming a more environmentally responsible society every day, a majority of restaurants that practise sustainability will 100% advertise it.

I’m a big planner, as in ‘make my own travel guides for my trips’ type of planner, so I will research the cities I travel to pretty far in advance and Google “farm-to-table restaurants X city”, “grass-fed beef restaurants X city”, “organic restaurants X city”, etc. Most of the time the same places pop up, but it is a good starting point and is easy to do for any dietary restrictions or preferences. 

If you are a little skeptical and are afraid to venture out into local restaurants, try to find global restaurant chains that support sustainable practices and seek them out when you can. Sometimes when you travel, especially for a long period of time, you just want something familiar and I definitely respect that. A few examples of these types of restaurants in the US would be:

eating sustainably while travelling

Image source:Contiki

2. Support local farmers and markets

One of the best ways to experience a destination’s food culture while supporting sustainability is by visiting local farmers’ markets. These markets often feature fresh, seasonal produce grown by nearby farmers, promoting agricultural sustainability and reducing the carbon footprint associated with long-distance transportation. Engage with local vendors, sample regional specialties, and savor the authentic flavours of the destination. (Farmers’ markets tend to have set weekly schedules so definitely do your research beforehand to check which ones will be open while you are in town.)

This could allow you to try your hand at cooking your own food while traveling. A variety of hotels have options that include kitchens or kitchenettes. I have recently been splitting my time between Residence Inns and AirBnBs because I love to try to cook at least my breakfasts on the go, but if you can’t do that that’s okay! Just know that you can make hard boiled eggs inside an electric kettle. 

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Discover real Italian food in Umbria’s finest MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® farm-to-table lunch experience

Charlie Fabre
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3. Engage with the community

Immerse yourself in the local food culture by participating in cooking classes and food/farm tours. Engaging with community members and artisans not only enriches your travel experience but also fosters a deeper appreciation for the origins of your meals and the people behind them.

At Contiki we have some amazing sustainable food tours as part of our MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® initiative. We are committed to educating our travellers on a variety of sustainable and eco-conscious practices as well as getting them involved in giving back to the wonderful places we travel to. A few of our favorite tours include:

eating sustainably while travelling

Image source:Contiki

4. How Contiki can help you!

At Contiki we take pride in working with local food suppliers and guides across the world, such as Eating Europe and EatWith who prioritise local and sustainable food venues so that you can make sure you’re meals are as fresh, responsible, and delicious as possible.

Both our properties (Haus Schöneck and the Château de Cruix) have food waste management systems in place! Food waste plays a big part in individuals’ carbon footprints, and this is where the in-house system, Kitro, comes into play. By measuring the amount of food that doesn’t get eaten by our travellers, we can make adjustments to portion sizings and the amount of food we buy, so that less waste is produced next time!

20 sustainable travel tips to keep in mind for your next trip

20 sustainable travel tips to keep in mind for your next trip

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Whether you are a five-star chef or can only put PopTarts in a toaster, you can find a way to make sustainable eating work for you. It is all about growing your awareness and mindfulness of what you eat and who you are supporting on the go. By researching local cuisine, supporting local farmers, and educating yourself on cultural traditions, you can contribute to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly food system. So, let’s embark on our culinary adventures with hearts full of curiosity, bellies eager for delicious discoveries, and a commitment to leaving our planet a little greener with each bite. Bon appétit and safe travels!

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