Traveling sustainable is not only an upcoming trend, but has also become a necessity. Over the past 100 years, humans started to travel more and longer distances. This has increased the number of airplanes that take off on a daily basis. It has ensured that more CO2 is released into the air. Aircrafts are the biggest polluters of the environment. But what if you need to make a long journey? Then you will definitely have to take the plane, but there are plenty of things you can do during your vacation to reduce CO2 emissions. With these seven tips, you can contribute to sustainable travel and protect our beautiful planet.
Try to compensate for the CO2 emissions of your flights
Besides that aircraft are the biggest polluters of the environment, it also taxes the environment 5 up to 15 times more than other ways of transporting. However, if you are for instance planning on traveling to Australia, there’s not really another option than to take the plane. Nevertheless, there are a couple of things that you can do while booking your trip that can compensate the amount of CO2 emissions.
Book a direct flight
If it’s possible, try to book a direct flight without stopovers. During takeoff and landing, aircraft releases the most CO2 emissions. Therefore, if you have one stop; it already releases twice as much CO2 as when you have a direct flight.
Many airlines offer a payment for CO2 emissions compensation when you book your ticket. Airlines such as KLM work on different projects such as One Tree Planed. Other projects that many airline companies work on are building windmills or creating projects for sustainable agriculture in developing countries. Usually, you pay 1 to 5 dollars extra for your trip, but it will be well invested in these kinds of projects. There’s even a Flight Search engines that Compares Flights and uses part of its own revenue to offset your flight partially or completely.
Travel as light less luggage as possible
The more luggage you (and other passengers) take, the heavier the aircraft. A more heavy aircraft equals more fuel to be consumed by the aircraft and that causes more pollution. If possible, try to carry hand luggage only. This ensures that not only the aircraft will release less CO2 emissions, but is also cheaper for yourself as a traveler. Hand luggage is usually included in the ticket price, while you have to pay extra for a suitcase or backpack.
Move around with public transportation
When it is possible to get from your own country to the destination country by public transport, do so! Think of the train, bus or metro. Especially if you’re traveling in Europe, it is easy to travel by public transport. Many countries are connected by the Interrail. Often the interrail uses night trains where you can lie in a bed. This saves you not only time but also money on an overnight stay. Also, make as much use as possible of public transport once at the destination.
Anyhow, traveling by foot or bike is the best option if you want to make sure that you have zero CO2 emissions.
Choose for sustainable accommodations
It’s hard to see from the outside if a hotel or hostel is an environmentally friendly accommodation. Therefore, when booking one, try to search for a GSTC or Green Key quality mark. These two are international en independent organizations that check accommodations according to different sustainable pillars. Think of waste recycling, measures against water waste and food waste.
Choose Vega(n) food
Many people have become vegetarian or vegan over the past few years. Where it first started as a trend, it has now become more of a lifestyle for many people. In fact, many CO2 and methane substances are released when producing meat and fish. This also applies to the production of dairy. Therefore, when you travel, choose a vegetarian or vegan dish more often. Thanks to the increasing popularity of vegetarian or vegan food, there are plenty of restaurants around the world to offer this. Especially in hip cities such as New York or Sydney, this should not be a problem.
Do you feel like you need some inspiration for vega(n) food? Gurucast offers many podcasts about traveling and food. In one of the podcasts, she’s talking with Evanna Lynch. She played the role of Luna Lovegood in Harry Potter and is a vegan that’s traveling a lot.
Try to choose one place to dive or go snorkeling during your travel
Diving in the Great Barrier Reef is absolutely stunning but also shakes up the natural habitat of many animals that are living there. The Great Barrier Reef and many others are in great danger and threaten to disappear altogether. Of course, you can still dive here but make conscious choices.
Make sure you do not dive every week in a month but choose one place that you really want to see. Keep in mind the times that you go diving so you do not disturb any mating or hunting times of animals. Also, make sure you do not apply sunblock before diving. Many sunblocks contain oxybenzone and octinoxate and that affects the ocean. Of course, you can choose to apply sunblock where these two substances are not processed.
The pre-fun of holidays starts naturally when buying a backpack or suitcase. So probably every person has at least 1 suitcase or backpack. Ask your friends or acquaintances if you can borrow one instead of buying one yourself. In addition to that, you could take a look in the second-hand shop or eBay to see if you can buy one. A sustainable and inexpensive alternative to a brand-new suitcase.
Reduce your plastic waste
Every year, more than 8 million tons of plastic waste ends up in our oceans. Already, an island as big as Spain and Portugal together is created from plastic in our oceans. Therefore, it’s important to do whatever possible to not use plastic. For instance, buy a reusable water bottle (even better if it has a filter so you can drink tap water). This not only reduces plastic waste but it also cheaper since you don’t have to buy a new bottle of water all the time. Also, try to order a drink without a straw (unless it’s a recycled paper straw) and bring your own bag if you’re doing groceries.