If you want to travel more sustainably, here are 8 tips and ideas for easy ways to start…
1) Offset your Flights
One way to be more eco-friendly when you travel is to avoid flying altogether. Instead, you could take a road trip, travel overland on public transport, or even a staycation somewhere closer to home.
Cutting one four-hour flight out of your itinerary can reduce your carbon footprint by nearly half a tonne (source: myclimate.org).
If you do fly, you can make up for the journey by offsetting your flights. Make a contribution to a carbon offsetting company such as ClimateCare, or donate to a charity that plants trees. It’s a small step towards more sustainable travel.
2) Pack Light
On the same note: be aware that every kilo counts when it comes to a flight. A heavier plane produces more carbon emissions. If every passenger cuts a few things from their luggage, it can add up to a big difference.
3) Avoid Plastic Waste
We’re pretty good at reducing and recycling at home, but in foreign countries that often goes out of the window. Luckily, there are loads of ways to use less plastic when you travel – like bringing your own reusable straws and switching to fabric bags. Take a reusable water bottle with you and fill it up from reliable sources. If you’re not sure about the tap water in your destination, take a filtration bottle like the ones from Water-to-Go.
4) Be Careful with Souvenirs
Be very careful about what gifts you buy on your travels. Some local handicrafts are made using products from endangered species. Avoid animal hides, tortoise-shell, ivory, and coral. Not only might they come from endangered animals – they could be illegal!
5) Read Up on Your Travel Brand’s Ethics
Look for tour operators who support local communities, prioritise animal welfare, and implement responsible travel practices. There are lots of great companies out there with strong ethics, so choose wisely and avoid any that don’t align with your personal values.
6) Choose Environmentally Friendly Accommodation
In the same vein, search for hotels with a focus on sustainability. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go without electricity or water. It simply means choosing a hotel with environmentally friendly values. Look for accommodation options that are energy efficient, have effective waste management and recycling.
7) Avoid Waste in Your Hotel
Live in your hotel the same way that you do at home. Don’t get clean towels and bed linen unless it’s necessary, as this can make a huge difference to water and energy consumption over time.
Don’t forget to turn lights, air conditioning, and other electronics off when you leave the room. It won’t take long for a room to cool down when you return, so there’s no need to leave the air-con blasting all day while you’re out and about.
8) Eat and Drink Locally
The less distance food travels to reach your plate, the less carbon footprint the meal has. Plus, locally sourced ingredients help support local businesses and communities. This doesn’t only apply to food, but also drinks.
Look for locally produced beers, wines, and spirits instead of ones that have been flown in. The environment will thank you for it, and you can get to know the culture a little better, too.