Travelling the world is an incredible experience, but did you ever think about the impact your trip might be having on the environment? With #earthhour coming up this week, let’s consider what you can do to shrink your carbon footprint when you travel!
Image Lukla airport, Himalayas Nepal
1. When you fly, take the most direct route possible.
Why? Because stop-overs mean more fuel dumping on both landing and take-off. When it comes to shorter trips, you can take a train or bus instead of a flight to help reduce emissions even further.
2. Choose a green hotel.
Specialised eco-lodges can be great, but they might not always available in every destination. If you can’t find a certified green spot to stay, look for hotels that have adopted environmental and social responsibility practices, like recycling programs and energy and water-saving policies.
Image Grand Canyon National Park: ‘Grand Canyon Lodge North Rim 0159′
3. Reduce your individual impact at the hotel.
Find out what recycling programs the hotel offers and take advantage of this when disposing of your rubbish. Turn off lights, heaters/air conditioners and other appliances when you’re out exploring. Taking shorter showers and opting not to have your sheets and towels washed daily can help, too.
4. Use public transport if it’s safe and available.
This can help lessen your carbon footprint and it’s also a great way to experience life and culture like the locals do. Better yet, give biking or walking a go – these are two of the most eco-friendly ways to travel, and you’ll get to explore the streets, shops and other sights at your own pace!
5. BYO water bottle.
Plastic waste can be a huge problem, especially in tourist areas. Avoid buying those throwaway plastic bottles (which also require a huge amount of water and energy to manufacture) and instead bring your own to refill when out and about. If the water at your destination isn’t safe to drink, grab yourself a small water-purifying device (like the SteriPEN).
6. If you need to rent a car, choose the smallest, most economical vehicle possible.
Or ask for a hybrid if they’re available. This can go a long way to decreasing your carbon footprint and it’ll help you save on petrol, too.
7. Be responsible when sightseeing.
Avoid touching wildlife or other environmental elements (like plants, corals) and if you end up with rubbish, take it with you when you leave. If you want to take a tour, go with a locally-run ‘green’ tour company that aims to lessen their tourism and environmental impact as much as possible.
8. Eat local and buy locally-made souvenirs.
This not only supports the local community and economy that you’re visiting, but it also lowers carbon emissions, since what you’re buying isn’t being manufactured commercially and shipped from elsewhere. Bringing a reusable shopping bag can help minimise the need for those horrible plastic bags as well!
Want to be an even better green traveller? Check out these useful websites!