Tips for a More Eco-Friendly Trip to Samoa
Samoa is home to some of the most stunning landscapes in the world, both on land and underwater. 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; Samoa certainly has a way of awakening the inner eco-warrior! Get a headstart on treating Samoa and the planet with a little more care by following our tips for travelling more sustainably in Samoa.
Sustainable Holiday Planning Tips
1. Travel in the Low Season to Prevent Overtourism
The low season offers a sustainable, cheaper and less crowded travel experience in Samoa. Book your trip from February to March or September to November to save money and help preserve Samoa. Check out more benefits of travelling in the low season in our 10 Reasons to Travel in the Low Season in Samoa.
2. Head to Savai’i or Manono
Most holidaymakers head to Upolu. Avoid spending too long at this hotspot to reduce the strain on its limited infrastructure. Check out some lesser-visited yet awesome destinations, like Savai’i and Manono, in The 9 Less-Travelled Islands of Samoa.
3. Stay Longer to Make the Most of Your Carbon Footprint
It is no secret that your flight to Samoa will have the largest carbon impact of your trip. Consider extending your stay (or waiting until you can) to make the most of the heavy environmental cost of your flight. Plan a longer trip with the help of The Best Samoa Itineraries for 2 Weeks.
Low-Waste Packing Tips
4. Pack Reusable Items
Resuseables, such as metal straws, water bottles and shopping 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 during your trip and keep your waste to a minimum. More advice on using reusable water bottles can be found toward the end of this listicle!
5. Use Shampoo Bars Instead of Your Resort’s Shampoo Bottles
Shampoo bars are both a great way to save money on haircare (they last much longer) 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. We like New Zealand-made Ethique shampoo bars (which, incidentally, use coconut oil from Samoa), but you’ll easily find brands all over the world and even in Samoa, such as Mailelani – see the 10 Best Shops to Buy Souvenirs in Samoa for more on the local body care brand!
6. Take Your Rubbish with You
When exploring Samoa, 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 Samoa, so take them back home where you are more likely to recycle them properly (or avoid bringing them at all).
7. Use Reef-Safe Sunscreen
Standard sunscreens are made with oxybenzone and octinoxate which are harmful to Samoa’s coral ecosystems. Use reef-safe sunscreen to enjoy Samoa’s amazing coral reefs without damaging them. Check out our favourites in the 10 Best (& Reef-Safe) Sunscreens for Samoa.
8. Use Natural Mosquito Repellent
DEET is the main component of standard insect repellents that contaminates soil and 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 Ways to Avoid Mosquito Bites in Samoa.
9. Pass On or Return Brochures, Guides and Maps
Travel pamphlets and brochures are everywhere in Samoa 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?
Sustainable Transportation Tips
10. Use Public Transport Wherever Possible
Samoa’s buses are iconic, fun, truly a local’s experience and much better for the planet than, say, renting your own car or taking a taxi that only transports a handful of passengers. Public transport results in fewer carbon emissions per head – even in the old vehicles found in Samoa! See all of your options for travelling in the Samoa Transport Guide: 14 Best Ways to Get Around Samoa.
11. Opt for Scooters or Bicycles!
That’s right, there are more and more options for travelling sustainably in Samoa! The islands are perfect for bicycle touring via bike and e-bikes. Alternatively, scooters guzzle much less gas than cars and provide another fun way to explore. Find out more in the 5 Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Renting a Car in Samoa.
12. Use Shared Airport Transfers Instead of Taxis
While taxis provide an easy option to take straight from the airport, simply booking a shuttle service before you arrive will ensure your airport transfer produces less carbon per head. Airport shuttle companies and resort shuttles are typically shared with other passengers. Learn more about your airport transfer options in the 10 Best Airport Transfers in Samoa.
13. Offset the Carbon Cost of Your Flight
Pretty much every airline offers options to offset the carbon footprint of your flight, however, most are not so transparent and are questionable in how much real “carbon off-setting” they actually achieve. We always recommend looking into your own choice of carbon off-setting. If you haven’t got the time, we recommend myclimate.org or flygrn.com which offer better options than those offered by most airlines.
14. 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 Samoa using Which Airlines Fly Directly to Samoa?
Eco-Friendly Tips for Staying in Samoa’s Accommodations
15. Stay in a Beach Fales, Guesthouse or Backpackers
Using mostly natural materials and much less space than resorts and hotels, Samoa’s iconic beach fales are not only better for the environment but the benefits of your stay go back into the local community. When you’re not staying at the beach, guesthouses and backpacker-style accommodations have the benefit of more people in one smaller building creating less of an environmental impact. We go more into detail in How to Choose Sustainable Accommodation in Samoa.
16. Pick Eco-Resorts and Lodges
Admittedly, it’s only a tiny selection of resorts and lodges in Samoa that actively try to 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 5 Best Eco-Resorts in Samoa.
17. Hang-Dry Your Towel to Save on Resort and Hotel 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.
18. Turn Off the Light, TV and A/C in Your Resort Room
Resort rooms can be cooled in a matter of minutes so there’s no need to let the air-con work all day. Before heading out, do a quick check around your room and turn off all the appliances to help decrease the power consumption during your stay.
19. Close Your Windows When Using the A/C in Your Resort (Or Avoid Using the A/C at All!)
Air-conditioning machines have to work extra hard when set in larger spaces… And there is no larger space than the great Samoa outdoors! Make sure to keep your doors and windows closed when cranking up the A/C in your room. It will significantly reduce your power usage. Better yet, switch off the A/C, open the doors and windows at the front and back of the bungalow and use nature’s A/C: the ocean breeze!
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.
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.
Ecotourism Activities in Samoa
22. Pay Your Entry Fees for Natural Attractions
Many travellers are shocked by the fact that you have to pay for visiting natural attractions in Samoa, including beaches. With one of the biggest barriers to a healthier planet being over-consumerism, however, isn’t it better to pay locals to preserve the natural wonders in their backyard than these sites being exploited for resources to keep up with consumer needs? It’s only a few tala, after all. Learn more about customary entry fees in our guide to Samoan Etiquette: Samoa Customs & Traditions.
23. Choose Low-Impact Tours
Some Samoa tour operators make a significant effort to offer travellers a more sustainable experience. By picking tour operators that positively impact their surroundings, you’ll turn your trip into something good for you and the planet. Check out some of our top eco-tour recommendations in the 10 Best Eco Tours in Samoa.
24. Shop Local
It’s rare, but some souvenirs found in Samoa are not local and have been shipped from all over the world to be packed and transported back into your country. Pick locally made souvenirs and sustainable gifts rather than, well, plastic tatt. What’s more, there are some artisans, like The Vanya Taule’alo Gallery, that make gifts using reclaimed materials. Check out some local gifts in the 10 Best Souvenirs & Gifts from Samoa.
25. Take in the Scenery
Going on a walk, snorkelling and relaxing by the beach are not just some of the most memorable experiences in Samoa, 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, a motor-powered tour?
26. 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 Samoa is how you impact coral. Try not to stand on coral or break any with your fins; it takes years to regrow. Enjoy coral from a safe distance. Besides, there is some marine life you will not want to touch anyway, as outlined in our Samoa Safety Tips: Is it Safe to Travel to Samoa?
27. Use Samoa’s Woven Rubbish Baskets!
We’re not going to lie, one thing that usually shocks visitors is how much litter there is, particularly along the roadsides. Educating people on the disposal of non-degradable materials is a slow process, but we appreciate where there have been efforts, especially along the beaches with Samoa’s very own woven rubbish baskets; a sustainable material in itself! If you see a stray piece of litter, pick it up and dispose of it properly. This will help keep Samoa safer and potentially save some curious wildlife from choking.
Sustainability Tips in Samoa for Food and Eating Out
28. Do Not Be Afraid to Say “No” to Plastic in Restaurants
While some restaurants and cafes in Samoa are using biodegradable plastic takeaway containers (which still need to be put in the normal landfill waste, by the way, as they only degrade in landfill settings), some cafes and restaurants 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.
29. 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 environment than those that had to travel far (and emit a lot of carbon) to get here. Plus, you’ll hardly regret trying some of the local delicacies! Check out some local eats in the 20 Foods to Try in Samoa and 10 Exotic Fruits in Samoa You HAVE to Try!
30. Try 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. See some fantastic options in our guide, Samoa for Vegans & Vegetarians + 10 Best Restaurants.
31. Use Your Resort’s (or Your Own) Reusable Water Bottle
Water is a bit of a tricky one when it comes to sustainability when travelling in Samoa. Using a normal reusable water bottle and refilling it at any old tap in Samoa could well lead to some health issues, so buying bottled water might seem like the only safe solution. However, our team travel the islands without having to buy bottled water thanks to water purification bottles like Lifestraw. Some resorts and hotels even supply their own water bottles to refill at their drinking water stations, so there are options to stock up on water before heading out for a day of sightseeing! See Is the Water Safe to Drink in Samoa? for a much deeper dive into the subject.
More About Travelling Sustainably in Samoa
That’s it for our epic list of ways to travel more sustainably in Samoa. For more eco-tips, check out the following guides:
Finally, get even more tips for your trip using the 30 Tips for Travelling in Samoa.