In this blog I want to give you some tips on how to reduce your carbon footprint for travelling. While travelling is great fun, it can have a big impact on global warming and the environment. Therefore, it can be important to think about how you want to travel. In that way you can have an even better trip, while reducing your environmental impact.
1. Avoid flying as much as possible. So, the first thing you do when planning a trip is usually book some sort of transportation to get to your destination. As you might know, flying has an enormous impact on climate change and is therefore the least sustainable way of travelling. Therefore, when planning your transport, try to check if there’s a train connection, bus connection, ferry connection, or for the more adventurous travellers try to go by bike, foot, or hitchhiking! If not, try to select for the most sustainable airlines and compensate for your emissions (see my blog on flight compensation). However, keep in mind that compensating for a flight is still much worse than nog flying at all! To check carbon emissions for travelling between certain locations, the WWF travel helper can be extremely useful http://travel.panda.org/en/.
To further lower your travel emissions, reduce your trips to other destinations or try to do them by foot, bike or public transport for example. Becoming a ‘slow traveller’ is better for the environment, and you will also get to know the culture of a place much better!
2. Choose sustainable accommodation. Accommodation also plays a big role. While you might not know about it, many hotels don’t use green energy, throw away tons and tons of food, put new plastic bags in the garbage bin every day and wash your towels every day. Also, some poorer hotels are badly isolated, for example, while they still attempt to heat entire spaces. To work around this, you can look for sustainable hotels/hostels. Some hostels/hotels have labels or descriptions of how they try to be more sustainable. Three useful websites to find such accommodation are:
- https://www.bookdifferent.com/en/ (works with externally audited ecolabels and shows the footprints of the hotels they offer on their website)
- https://www.i-likelocal.com/ (offers local accommodation/tourism such as homestays)
- https://ecobnb.com/ (works with 10 criteria that accommodations have to meet)
Furthermore, you can check the Lonely Planet hotels with unlimited buffets can create huge foodwaste, while some other hotels/hostels might promote that they only buy locally and only what is needed. Be sure to check whether they work with local ingredients and follow sustainable food guidelines such as for seafood. If this information can’t be found on the website, it won’t hurt to give them a phone call and ask them about it. Next to this, other things you can do are ask the hotel not to clean your towels and garbage bins every day. Maybe this may feel a bit awkward, but it is so good to give a hotel a signal that you are very aware of sustainability and that it is important and not a problem for you, so that they might even change their practices in the future. Furthermore, you can check whether the hotel is car-free-traveller friendly, for example through offering bicycles, shuttle services or public transportation offers. Last but not least, check whether the hotel is engaged with the local community. This means whether they provide the local community with jobs, but also whether they source their food from there and whether they promote local tourism.
3. Think of the things you can bring yourself. Things you can take with you to travel more sustainably are a cotton bag for every time you go grocery or souvenir shopping, a box to keep your left-over food in (especially if you stay for a while in one place), eco-friendly/home-made washing detergent (such as Dr. Bronners), a water bottle and for women a menstruation cup so that you don’t have to buy hygiene products. Of course there are more things, but these are really quite easy and important.
4. Choose restaurants that serve local produce and move towards a plant based diet. The best is to choose places that offer their own-grown fruits and vegetables, and animals. However, if not, the more local they buy their food, the better due to less transport emissions. Also, try to check whether restaurants use sustainably sourced food with ecolabels for example. Furthermore, you might know about the enormous impact the meat industry has on climate change.Therefore it is best to go easy on the meat while you travel.
Do you have some tips for reducing your carbon footprint while travelling? Let me know in the comments!