Blog, Sustainability

Sustainable Travel – Part 1

Whether you are someone who likes to spend a couple of weeks vegging out, a party animal who needs a holiday to get over the holiday, or a ‘travel junkie’ looking to fill the pages of his/her passport, we hope you find our tips for sustainable travel useful. 

Check out our tips for sustainable travel and let us know if you have any others to share. Sharing is caring!

Before you go

Do you ever feel like the preparation list before a trip away is never ending? The list is likely to be longer if you’re travelling with children, or if you are anything like me! Spontaneous trips are fantastic once in a while but to travel in a way that is mindful of your impact on the environment and our society a little bit of planning is vital. 

Plan ahead. The main considerations for an eco-friendly trip are where to go, how to get there and where to stay. Obviously the internet has a wealth of information but you should also use the knowledge of friends, colleagues and even strangers on platforms where people share your interests. You should also share your tips with others, as soon as you’re done sharing your photos! 

Travelling sustainably. Sustainable travel tips
Getting around sustainably, keeping your carbon footprint low, takes planning

Where to go. With one return flight potentially equaling your global emissions for the year, you might find the most eco-friendly holiday solution is time at home with the family, doing DIY or life admin. A ‘staycation’ doesn’t have to mean staying indoors though. It could be an opportunity to discover what’s on your doorstep (that’s your state, region or country – not your actual doorstep – life isn’t that bad!) in a way that you never have before. Here are some staycation ideas we like the look of. 

Let’s not forget however that there are countries with populations that really rely on your tourist dollars, using this revenue to contribute to their sustainable development. There are also many important reasons why you may need to travel abroad and nothing but an airplane is a feasible way of getting there. You don’t need to give up air travel altogether and forever. Aim to reduce the number of flights you take a year to make a considerable impact.

Finally don’t support tourist attractions that do not treat animals or their workers with respect.

Travelling sustainably. Sustainable travel
Sustainable travel – Take public transport where you can

How to get there. Air travel emits around 285g grams per passenger per kilometer. Road transportation follows at 158g and rail travel at 14g*. 

Greta Thunberg has opted not to travel anywhere by plane or ship for climate reasons. Many Swedes are following suit, increasingly choosing to explore domestic destinations or destinations that can be reached by train, over destinations that require an air-flight. This phenomenon even has a name, flygskam – “flight shame” in English (pronounced “fleeg-skahm”)  and a review of the Instagram hashtags #stayontheground or #tagskyrt – “train bragging” in English, is testament to a bit of a revival in train travel.  

Train tickets can be a lot more affordable if you plan in advance. Make the journey there a part of the trip and make sure you have a good book, travel journal or good company with you! Try something different. We love the Man in Seat 61 website for travel ideas across North America or Europe. For Europe you could use Trainline or the Interrailing website for inspiration. 

If you do need to take a flight, consider the following:

  • Is the flight really necessary? Are there climate friendly alternatives?
  • Compare airlines and their CO2 emissions. The airline index Atmosfair has done a lot of the work for you. 
  • Take a direct flight, most emissions are generated during take-off and landing, so take-off and land less
  • Pack lightly, the heavier the plane is the more emissions are generated. 
  • Ditch disposables. Pack your own empty water bottle to fill at the airport or on the plane and pack your own snacks.
  • Offset your flights. There are so many ways to do this, some better than others. It’s important to research schemes well as offsetting does not come without its controversies. Check out some certified offset projects at goldstandard.org or americancarbonregistry.org.
Travelling sustainably. Sustainable travel tips
Pack light and be ready for anything!

Where to stay. You could pick an eco hotel or bed and breakfast. Tripadvisors Green Leaders program features a variety of green accommodation choices across budgets. For something a little different agro-tourism an interesting way to discover beautiful rural regions, live traditional rural lifestyles far from the tourist crowds.

Or, you could live like a local in residential accommodation. Local tips can take you off the beaten path and really make your holiday one to remember. You get the chance to learn more about the local culture, food and drink and could even make new friends! 

If opting for a hotel, try as far as possible to book just one as a base for your travelling around, rather than lots of different hotels. Not only is this less hassle for you but means less laundry! 

Travelling sustainably. Sustainable travel tips
Sustainable accommodation is a key part of sustainable travel

Save Energy

Save energy while you are away. Don’t forget about the energy being used at home while you are away for your trip. If you’re leaving your home empty make sure that all your key appliances are unplugged, not just switched off. Did you know that an estimated 8% of your annual electricity bill is due to items not in use that remain plugged in. Not only is it better for the environment but it should save you some money on your energy bill!  

You’ll be using all that energy enjoying trip! 

Read now : Sustainable Travel – Part 2

How do you make your trips sustainable. Share with us in the comments below or on social media #aworldaroundtheworld


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