Transportation is responsible for 22% of the world’s carbon emissions. There’s no denying, getting on a jet plane and exploring the world isn’t great for the planet. So what do you do if you have the travel bug, but you want to ensure you’re a responsible roamer? Here are five top tips for eco-friendly travel:
1. Spend Your Money Locally
If you stay with one of the big hotel brands, eat at restaurant chains you can find anywhere, or use car hire from one of the big companies instead of using local transport, the only places your money is going are the bank accounts of those big multinationals. So, next time you are heading off on vacation, try to spend your money with locally-owned businesses.
2. Travel Economy Class
Not many people have the option of traveling business or first class, especially on long-haul flights, but if you’re one of those people, consider traveling economy. The carbon footprint of a business class traveler can be as much as three times higher than an economy class traveler. And if you’re a frequent flyer, think about doing something constructive with your air miles and donating them to a worthy cause.
3. Forget the Airplane Altogether
If you’re travelling short distances, you may want to consider taking a coach or a train. While you might assume there is a lot more hassle involved, you may be pleasantly surprised. It depends on where you are traveling to and from, of course, but in many parts of the world, it’s often far more straightforward, cheap, and punctual than reputation would have you believe. Additionally, when you consider all the annoyances of air travel, having to arrive very early, security checks, cramped seating, and delays, traveling by train is a much more relaxing experience.
4. Take All Your Good Habits with You
If you are green at home, there is no reason you can’t be the same when you’re on holiday. Take a reusable shopping bag or backpack with you when you’re doing your holiday shopping and a metal or bamboo straw when you’re dropping by the beach bar, so you don’t need to use the type of plastic ones that pollute the oceans. If you want more advice on what you can take in your suitcase to keep your trip eco-friendly, check out this packing list for an eco-traveller with all the essentials for sustainable travel.
5. Drink the Local Tipple!
And finally, (a real hardship, this one!) sample the local drinks. Any bottles or kegs of big-named brands have to get where you are somehow, and the chances are they’ve made a long journey using incredible amounts of fossil fuels to reach your far-flung destination. Drinking local tipples means lessening your carbon footprint.
Wrapping It All Up
Being an eco-friendly traveler doesn’t necessarily mean traveling with nothing more than one change of clothes, and it doesn’t necessarily mean giving up travel altogether. But, by taking away the same principles you live by at home, you can lessen your carbon footprint, still enjoy guilt-free travel, and ensure you make your next holiday more positive for you, and the planet.
Brooke has been a connoisseur of back roads and obscure places since she was a girl. Growing up in a small working farm, she knew at a young age that there was so much to see and understand about the world. Since she left home at 17, she’s been gallivanting around the world. She’s a go-to resource for fearless Euro travel and extreme budget adventures. Her colorful experiences moving from one country to another with only time to spare will surely inspire you to leave the rat race and chase your backpacking dreams.