How to Limit Your Travel Carbon Footprint

We’re looking at various sacrifices and choices, both big and small, that you can make to help reduce the negative impact that you’re traveling has on the environment. Fly direct. It’s estimated that aviation is responsible for 2% of the world’s carbon emissions, and though that percentage might sound small, what it represents is huge. It breaks down to just about 0.67 tons of CO2 per passenger, which is a staggering amount of pollution. As such, we’ll be discussing a variety of alternatives and ways to reduce flying time.

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But let’s be honest, we can’t reasonably expect people to give up flying altogether, and so when there’s no viable alternative means of transportation to your destination, we encourage you to shoulder as much of the burden as you can by spending a little more to fly direct takeoff and landing are two extremely energy hungry stages of flight, and the more connections you make, the higher your carbon emissions for the trip. Take the bus or train. Carpooling is all well and good, but if you’re really committed to minimizing your environmental impact, we highly recommend going for a more collective transport. Option, like the bus, we know it’s just about the least appealing way to get to where you want to go.

There are often multiple stops. You’re sharing one small bathroom with dozens of people. It’s not particularly fast. The seats are rarely spacious, and worst of all, you are vulnerable to additional slowdowns like traffic, but there is usually free Wi-Fi and in terms of affordability, there’s really no beating. The price of a bus ticket trains with the exception of the newest, most efficient models aren’t quite as carbon friendly as the bus, but they are a close second and still much better than flying. Indulge in more domestic travel, whether it’s by bus, train or car. One of the best things you can do to reduce your personal carbon footprint while traveling is to take a closer look at your own figurative backyard. We’re not trying to sell you merely on a vacation.

how to limit your travel carbon footprint

Though they can be a great budget alternative, maybe there’s a great city that you’ve never visited, or a region known for its striking natural beauty. It’s only a four to six hour drive away. Sure, exotic far off lands might be more appealing in terms of romanticism and culture shock, but you can equally have the trip of a lifetime without. Never leaving the country or continent. Not only will it reduce your carbon footprint substantially, even with the driving, but it will also likely save you money by bike within the city. OK, so you’ve officially made it to your city destination. You wound up flying there because it was overseas and you couldn’t afford to fly directly. Or maybe there were literally no direct flights available, but now that you have arrived you can start trying to make up the difference. Most major cities now have well developed low cost bike sharing programs in place. Travelers often spend a small amount of money. Fortune on taxis and Ubers went in a foreign city, but a bike is much more eco friendly. Plus it’s a great way to get your bearings and discover new areas you may otherwise have never encountered. Make it your personal goal to minimize carbon use between your arriving and departing flights, with bikes and public transportation, it’s easier than you might think. Choose airlines with carbon offset programs. 2019 was something of a landmark year for environmental awareness and eco responsibility. Various generations are coming together to make their voices heard and send a clear message to big businesses.

And governments around the world believe that the environment must become a major priority. Many airlines, knowing that there’s a limit to how fuel efficient they can make their fleet, have responded to this demand by implementing programs to offset the inherent environmental cost of air travel like various water recycling and waste management programs. Airlines like Air New Zealand have set up organizations to plant trees to offset the carbon emissions of their flights. Choose Eco responsible hotels and resorts. Speaking of shifting priorities, travel agents and booking companies are seeing a notable change. Intourist mentalities, eco resorts and hotels are by no means new inventions, but more so than ever before. Travelers are choosing to spend more on accommodations in order to minimize their carbon footprint. If it’s a beach getaway you’re after, pick a resort that’s committed to reducing waste wherever possible. Unfortunately, some eco resorts and eco tourism packages can be prohibitively expensive to the average traveler, but the price difference is at eco. Responsible hotels are usually much easier to swallow, be it in their approach to water management insulation. Electricity or rooftop space.

A hotel can make a big difference, and by choosing to support them you’re doing your own small part. Be energy efficient even in your hotel. Travel is expensive and so whatever you’re paying for be it drinks, a meal, a tour or a hotel room. There’s often this overwhelming drive to get your money’s worth. In the case of a hotel room stay, this often translates into taking the extra mini shampoos, using as many towels and robes as they’ll give you. Keeping the TV on at all times. And never bothering to turn off the lights, but all of the above mentioned perks of hotel life are also incredibly wasteful. And really, how much joy do you get from any of that? Even if you can’t afford to stay at an eco hotel while traveling, make up the difference yourself by reducing your personal carbon footprint. However possible. In the end, every little bit counts. Prioritize the environment over convenience. Traveling is a thirsty endeavor, especially when visiting a hot, sunny climate, and for most travelers, tempting to stay well hydrated. Unfortunately this translates into going through a whole lot of single use plastic water bottles, finding a place to fill up your reusable bottle might be less practical, but it’s a minor inconvenience to avoid being a wasteful traveler. The same thing goes for travel size, versions of toiletries and personal hygiene products. The ratio of packaging is off the charts when small reusable travel containers would usually work just fine.

Also, avoid disposable cutlery whenever possible, and when it comes to souvenirs, leave the cheap plastic doodads on the shelf. They might be inexpensive. But that also means they’re likely to wind up in a landfill sooner rather than later. Respect the destination. Are you in awe of the natural or human made beauty of the destination you find yourself in? Does it live up to the hype? Is it everything you dreamed of, and more? Great so now let’s all do our part to keep it that way. If you really appreciate a city town beach resort or National Park, you should be making every effort to diminish the environmental cost of you being there. Don’t litter. Don’t insist on renting a car unnecessarily and contributing to it. Road congestion and local emissions support local businesses that are equally committed to reducing carbon emissions rather than the cheapest option. If you see litter on the ground, pick it up. If you’re staying for a few weeks, inform yourself about local recycling and compost so that you can do your part in various small ways. In short, just be a courteous and considerate guest.

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