The joy of travelling is in exploring new cities, countries and culture, and experiencing everything these places have to offer. Unfortunately, for those of us who love to explore and seek adventure, our carbon footprints can be very large.
In fact, a single round-trip flight between New York and California produces around 20% of the greenhouse gases your car emits in a year. You can only imagine the emissions when you’re travelling across the world, with global air pollution an ongoing concern.
Obviously, this doesn’t mean you should avoid flying entirely, instead travellers should look to be more socially responsible when going away. Fortunately, there are lots of things you can do to reduce your travel footprint.
1. Book non-stop flights
As pointed out already, flying is a real problem from an environmental standpoint, but planes are pretty much impossible to avoid if you’re travelling overseas. One way to ensure you’re flying in the most eco-friendly way is to ensure you book non-stop flights where you can.
Taking off requires a lot of fuel, so short flights are often worse for the environment than longer ones. Mid-length flights are the most energy-efficient, as planes travelling very long distances have to carry more weight in fuel and passengers.
2. Make good transport choices
Once you reach the other end of your journey, there are numerous transport choices you can make that will help to offset the carbon emissions of the flight. If you need to rent a car, pick an electric or hybrid.
If you’re on a city break, then look into hiring a bike or try exploring the sights and sounds on foot, as opposed to using buses, trains, and other forms of motorised transport. While these choices may seem minor, they do make a difference.
3. Find eco-friendly hotels
Unless you’re going to explore the wilderness of a far-off jungle, the hotels and other accommodation you choose is important. When it comes to choosing a hotel, make sure you check their green credentials first.
There are plenty of eco-hotels popping up in cities across the world, with these places all prioritising environmentally-friendly practice, such as sourcing local products to cut down on air miles, recycling mattresses, and even providing green roof space for local wildlife.
4. Be a conscientious guest
Even if you’re not staying in a super eco-friendly hotel, you can still reduce your environmental impact as a guest.
One way to do this is to either ask the hotel to not clean your room every day, or simply hang the ‘do not disturb’ sign before you head out in the morning. If you don’t need your room cleaning, then this will help cut down on unnecessary chemical and energy use.
Another idea is to make sure your air conditioning or heating is off when you’re not in the room, with these units consuming a lot of energy, which is particularly wasteful when you’re not even there!
Being able to travel around the world and experience new things is an amazing privilege, so the least we can do as travellers is to do so in an eco-friendly and responsible manner!