Sustainability and travel don’t always go hand in hand. You’re on holiday, away from the daily worries so it’s easy to forget about helping the environment too. That doesn’t mean, however, that there aren’t ways to travel in a sustainable way!
We should all be aware of the fact that flying just isn’t that great for the environment. It’s straight up terrible! But will that keep us from traveling to the other side of the world? Not really. There are some things we can do to reduce the CO2 emission as much as possible while getting to your destination.
To reduce your carbon footprint and still get to go to your dream destination, you should always check if you’re also able to go by train/car. Train’s might not be as fast as planes, but they produce considerably less CO2.
If your destination is too far for a train or car ride, try to look non-stop flights instead of connecting flights. Takeoff and landing burn the most fuel, so it’s better to only have to take off and land once.
When arrived at your destination, try to use public transport instead of renting a car or getting a taxi when possible. If you do want to rent a car, always try to go with an electric rental car compared to a petrol car.
Inside Hotels / Accommodation
Just like at home, there’s a lot of simple things you can do to help the environment a little. Easy things like making sure the lights are off when you leave the room. Same goes for the heating and air-conditioning. Try to save energy where possible.
Another way to save resources is to use a towel more than one day. Most hotels have a policy nowadays that when you put the towel on the floor or in the bath, they’ll give you a fresh one. Either leave it on the hanger or leave a note for the housekeeping if you want to reuse your towel. (Even better, if you don’t really need cleaning in your room, leave the “do not disturb” sign on your door. This way they won’t use any electricity or resources to tidy your room.)
Supporting local economies
I’ve said it before and I will keep saying it: Your money is powerful! Spending it means funding an idea, an economy or an ideology. The more need for something, the more they will produce it. This also goes for products or activities that are bad for the planet. If you’re abroad, please try to support the local economies as much as possible. Buy local products in local shops rather than big chains! Not only does this help the locals directly, but you also save a ton of CO2 emission cause your items weren’t flying in from other countries to the bigger chain stores.
When buying souvenirs, always try to find items that are locally made too. But be aware you don’t buy anything that harms nature like wildlife products, endangered plants/animals or unsustainable hardwoods.
Also, avoid funding exploitation of wildlife animals or nature. Try not to spend money on animal unfriendly tourist attractions like riding the back of an elephant or going to see wildlife perform tricks. Unless you’ve done your research and are sure the company treats the animals well and/or helps protect wildlife, stay away from it.
Plastic and waste
Just because you’re on holiday doesn’t mean you can forget about reducing plastic and not wasting food! Even the country is different, even when it comes to packaging and recycling. Try to avoid buying things with lots of packaging. If you can’t avoid it, make sure to throw it away properly (plastic with plastic, paper with paper, you get the idea…)!
We don’t have to change our entire lives in order to help the planet a little, as long as we keep the environment in mind and make small changes where possible we can do a whole lot!
Do you keep the environment in mind whilst traveling?
What do you think about sustainable travel?