31 Ways to Travel More Sustainably in Tonga
31 Ways to Travel More Sustainably in Tonga

29 Ways to Travel More Sustainably in Tonga

© TongaPocketGuide.com

How to Travel More Sustainably in Tonga: Tips for an Eco-Friendly Trip

Tonga is home to some of the most stunning natural underwater landscapes and islands in the world. If you’re not already environmentally conscious, then you certainly will be after you’ve seen some of the amazing wildlife and pristine pockets of paradise that are well worth protecting. Tonga certainly has a way of awakening the inner eco-warrior. Get a headstart on treating Tonga and the planet with a little more care by following our tips for travelling more sustainably in Tonga.

Sustainable Destination and Planning Tips

1. Travel in the Low Season to Prevent Overtourism

The low season offers a sustainable, cheaper and uncrowded travel experience in Tonga. Book your trip from November to May (avoiding the Christmas holidays) to save money and help preserve Tonga. Check out more benefits of travelling in the low season in our 10 Reasons to Travel in the Low Season in Tonga.

31 Ways to Travel More Sustainably in Tonga© TongaPocketGuide.com

2. Head to Less-Visited Destinations

Most holidaymakers head to Neiafu (Vava’u) and Nuku’alofa (Tongatapu). Avoid spending too long in these hotspots to reduce the strain on their limited infrastructure. Check out some lesser-visited yet awesome destinations in our Guide to the Lesser Travelled Islands of Tonga.

31 Ways to Travel More Sustainably in Tonga© TongaPocketGuide.com

3. Stay Longer to Make the Most of Your Carbon Footprint

It is no secret that your flight to Tonga will have the largest carbon impact of your trip. Consider extending your stay (or waiting until you can) to make up for the heavy environmental cost of your flight. Plan a longer trip with the help of The Best Tonga Itineraries for 2 Weeks.

31 Ways to Travel More Sustainably in Tonga© TongaPocketGuide.com

Low-Waste Packing Tips

4. Pack Reusable Items

Resuseables, such as metal straws, water bottles and tote bags, can help save dozens of plastic from going into landfills. By packing your own (and making sure you use them), you’ll help reduce the need for single-use items in your trip and keep your waste to a minimum. By the way, check out reusable water bottles that make Tonga’s tap water safe to drink in the 5 Ways to Make Sure the Water is Safe to Drink in Tonga.

31 Ways to Travel More Sustainably in Tonga© TongaPocketGuide.com

5. Use Shampoo Bars Instead of Your Resort’s Shampoo Bottles

Shampoo bars are both a great way to save money on haircare and reduce the amount of plastic used. Plus, this will also help you avoid the use of mini-toiletries in your resort that are extremely plastic-inefficient.

31 Ways to Travel More Sustainably in Tonga© Unsplash

6. Take Your Rubbish with You

When exploring Tonga, avoid littering by packing a small bag to take your rubbish with you. Know that aerosol sprays, batteries and many plastics, for example, are not properly recycled in Tonga, so take them back home where you are more likely to recycle them properly (better yet, avoid bringing them at all).

31 Ways to Travel More Sustainably in Tonga© TongaPocketGuide.com

7. Pass On or Return Brochures, Guides and Maps

Travel pamphlets and brochures are everywhere in Tonga and many of them are super useful. On departure, what about leaving them behind in your accommodation’s lobby, for example, so they are used a second time?

31 Ways to Travel More Sustainably in Tonga© Unsplash

8. Use Reef Safe Sunscreen

Standard sunscreens are made with oxybenzone and octinoxate that are harmful to Tonga’s coral. Use reef safe sunscreen to enjoy Tonga’s amazing coral reefs without damaging them. Check out our favourites in the 10 Best Natural Sunscreens for Tonga.

31 Ways to Travel More Sustainably in Tonga© TongaPocketGuide.com

9. Use Natural Mosquito Repellent

DEET is the main component of standard insect repellents that contaminates soil, waterways and isn’t all that great for you either. Use lemon and eucalyptus sprays, cover your arms and legs, or use one of the other 10 Best Natural Mosquito Repellents for Tonga.

31 Ways to Travel More Sustainably in Tonga© Pexels

Sustainable Transportation Tips

10. Use Public Transport Wherever Possible

Buses and island-hopping via ferry are truly a local’s experience and much better for the planet than taxis and flights. Public transport results in fewer carbon emissions per head. See all of your options for travelling in the Tonga Transport Guide: 10 Ways to Get Around Tonga.

31 Ways to Travel More Sustainably in Tonga© TongaPocketGuide.com

11. Offset the Carbon Cost of Your Flight

Pretty much every airline offers options to offset the carbon footprint of your flight. It’s only a few dollars but can do miracles! If you are after a more comprehensive carbon offsetting solution, however, look into myclimate.org or flygrn.com that offer great options.

31 Ways to Travel More Sustainably in Tonga© TongaPocketGuide.com

12. Use Shared Airport Transfers or Buses Instead of Taxis

Not only will using shared airport transfers or buses save you money, but it will reduce the amount of gas used per passenger. Most shared airport shuttles offer quick door-to-door services while buses take you pretty much anywhere on Tongatapu. Learn more about your airport transfer options in the Tonga Airports: Your Airport Transfer Options.

31 Ways to Travel More Sustainably in Tonga© TongaPocketGuide.com

13. Non-Stop Flights are Less Impactful

It is no secret that flying direct can save you a lot of time. But did you know that it also results in a lower carbon footprint? Making your total flight time shorter reduces the carbon footprint of your trip and we’re all better for it. Check out where you can take direct flights to Tonga using Which Airlines Fly to Tonga?

31 Ways to Travel More Sustainably in Tonga© TongaPocketGuide.com

Eco-Friendly Tips for Staying in Tonga Resorts

14. Pick Eco-Resorts

Many resorts in Tonga make a significant effort to offer their clientele a more sustainable stay. By picking accommodations that positively impact their surroundings, you’ll turn your trip into something good for you, the local community and the planet. Check out some of our picks in the 10 Best Eco Resorts in Tonga.

31 Ways to Travel More Sustainably in Tonga© Tonga Ministry Of Tourism

15. Hang-Dry Your Towel to Save on Resort Laundries

Resort laundries are notoriously heavy on chemical detergent and water usage, so consider keeping your towel for a few days. All you’ve got to do is to hang your towel to dry instead of leaving it on the floor; the housekeeping staff will get the message.

31 Ways to Travel More Sustainably in Tonga© Unsplash

17. Turn Off the Light, TV and A/C in Your Resort/Hotel Room

If you’re lucky enough to have A/C at your resort or hotel in Tonga, it can be cooled in a matter of minutes so there’s no need to let the air-con work all day. Wherever you stay, do a quick check around your room and turn off all the appliances to help decrease the power consumption of your stay.

31 Ways to Travel More Sustainably in Tonga© TongaPocketGuide.com

18. Close Your Windows When Using the A/C in Your Hotel/Resort

Air-conditioning machines have to work extra hard when set in larger spaces… And there is no larger space than the Tonga outdoors! Make sure to keep your doors and windows closed when cranking up the A/C in your hotel room. It will significantly reduce your power usage.

31 Ways to Travel More Sustainably in Tonga© TongaPocketGuide.com

19. Use Your Room’s “Do Not Disturb” Sign

Avoid unnecessary cleaning and chemicals by placing the “Do Not Disturb” sign on your room’s door. This way, it will not be cleaned daily. Some resorts even offer rewards for guests doing this, such as food discounts, for example.

31 Ways to Travel More Sustainably in Tonga© TongaPocketGuide.com

20. Bring Your Own Soap and Travel Soapbox

Instead of using mini-toiletries in resorts that are extremely plastic-inefficient, use your own soap (and reusable soapbox for easy travel)! Not only will it reduce waste, but it means that you can stick to your loved and trusted brand and avoid any nasty surprises.

31 Ways to Travel More Sustainably in Tonga© Unsplash

21. If Using Resort Consumables, Take Any Leftovers with You

If you choose to use the mini-toiletries included in your resort’s room, take them with you when you leave. No matter how much of it you have used, it will be discarded by the housekeeping staff and that’d be a shame.

31 Ways to Travel More Sustainably in Tonga© Pexels

22. Try Backpackers and Guesthouses

It is no secret that having more people in one room creates less of an environmental impact, so what about giving a shot to backpacker hostels or guesthouses? You can even book a full room for your whole party and have a holiday style stay. Check out some of our top picks in the 6 Best Backpacker Hostels on Tongatapu and 10 Best Guesthouses in Tonga.

31 Ways to Travel More Sustainably in Tonga© TongaPocketGuide.com

Ecotourism Activities in Tonga

23. Choose Ethical Whale Swimming Companies

Many Tonga whale tours make a significant effort to offer a more sustainable experience for both travellers and the whales. Read our recommendations and reviews to make sure you’re choosing a more ethical whale tour. Learn more about ethical whale swimming in Is it Safe to Swim with Whales in Tonga? and The Best Place to Swim with Whales in Tonga.

31 Ways to Travel More Sustainably in Tonga© Tonga Ministry Of Tourism

24. Choose Low Impact Experiences

Going on a walk, snorkelling, kayaking and relaxing by the beach are not just some of the most memorable experiences in Tonga, but they are also some of the most sustainable. The scenery above and below the surface is, arguably, the country’s biggest selling point so why not enjoy it without the fluff of, say, another boat tour?

31 Ways to Travel More Sustainably in Tonga© Teta Tours Tonga

25. Do Not Stand on Coral

Speaking of snorkelling and relaxing at the beach, another thing to be mindful of when looking to travel more sustainably in Tonga is how you impact coral. Try not to stand on coral or break any with your flippers; it takes years to regrow. Enjoy coral from a safe distance.

31 Ways to Travel More Sustainably in Tonga© TongaPocketGuide.com

26. If You See Some Litter, Pick It Up

Not all travellers and locals are mindful. If you see some litter, pick it up and dispose of it properly. This will help keep Tonga safer and potentially save some curious wildlife from choking.

31 Ways to Travel More Sustainably in Tonga© TongaPocketGuide.com

Sustainability Tips in Tonga for Food and Eating Out

27. Do Not Be Afraid to Say “No” to Plastic in Restaurants

Many cafes and restaurants in Tonga still use plastic straws and utensils. Don’t be afraid to say no to them and use your own reusable alternative (or, you know, simply drink from the cup). Our team does this regularly and we never receive as much as a bad look.

31 Ways to Travel More Sustainably in Tonga© TongaPocketGuide.com

28. Eat Local

When travelling, there’s no need to have the same imported treats from home. Try something local! Fresh locally sourced ingredients are better for the planet. Plus, you’ll hardly regret trying some of the local delicacies. We guarantee it! Check out some local eats in the 6 Unique Foods in Tonga You Have to Try and 10 Exotic Fruits in Tonga You Have to Try.

31 Ways to Travel More Sustainably in Tonga© TongaPocketGuide.com

29. Try Tonga’s Vegetarian or Vegan Food

Travelling is a great opportunity to try new things. You may have heard that plant-based food is easier on the planet, so why not give a shot at a vegetarian meal or two during your trip? You may discover something new and delicious. Plus, it will help reduce your impact in a multitude of ways.

31 Ways to Travel More Sustainably in Tonga© TongaPocketGuide.com

More About Ecotourism and Travelling Sustainably in Tonga

That’s it for our official list of tips on ways to travel more sustainably in Tonga but is by no means the end of our eco-advice! Check out these other guides for the eco-conscious traveller:

And don’t forget our general Tonga tips in the 31 Tips for Travelling in Tonga and The Complete Travel Guide to Tonga.

Author

Laura S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor in chief and co-founder of Tonga Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in the South Pacific over 10 years ago with nothing but a backpack and a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to explore a paradise such as Tonga. She knows the islands inside-out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience Tonga’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also editor of several other South Pacific travel guides.

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