Eco Friendly travel tips

By January 13, 2018

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Exploring our planet is a wonderful thing to do, actually, I believe that the more people travel the less they are to starting wars and hating other people’s beliefs, but travelling especially long distances isn’t always environmentally friendly.

However, there are ways you can reduce your impact whilst travel. Here are some of our top tips.

Travel

To visit new places you need to get there. This is going to be one of the biggest reasons your trip causes harm to the planets and one where you can have a huge impact. Also once you get to your destination exploring the area there are multiple ways to reduce your footprint.

Passenger checking luggage weight with scale

Pack light:

Just because the airline offers you 23kg or whatever their limit is, it doesn’t mean you have to use the entire limit. It’s not a competition to see how close can you get to the limit.

Every KG of luggage you take requires more fuel for the plane and therefore more environmentally damaging. Just think about the last time you went away, how many clothes did you bring back with you unworn. That’s extra weight you don’t need to take with.

So before you travel, really consider what you need to take and what you don’t need to take. Could you buy it from where you’re going?

This should also apply to any holiday, whether you go camping or staying in a hotel and driving in your own country. The more weight in your car, the more fuel it will need.

Passengers airplane landing to airport runway in beautiful sunset light, silhouette of modern city on background

Non-stop flights:

While more expensive than stopover flights, they  usually are better for the environment, a significant proportion of carbon emissions happen on takeoff and landing

 

Travel overland

Where possible try and avoid planes – they are one of the most polluting ways of travel. If you can use trains or buses.

Travelling across Europe it can be cheaper and far less damaging to the environment to go via train, plus the views from the train can be amazing.

I was in Portland a few months ago and was heading up to Seattle. While I could have got the plane which would have potentially been quicker, I got the train and wow – am I glad I did. It is the most scenic and spectacular train journeys I have ever done.

 

Use a bike/walk

If you are in a new town or city and want to explore it, hire a bike or walk. It’s a great way to truly see the place.

Whenever I visit a new place, I love to walk the streets and explore it, using a car/taxi you will miss so much.

In fact, when I am in London I will often walk to where I need to go then get the tube. I have found some amazing sights, places and bars.

When I was in Vancouver I decided to walk everywhere and found the most amazing barbers. I have never had such a good clean shave, plus I happen to pass a bar with a happy hour so called in and got talking to two locals about Football and educating them over a few drinks about the sport.

electric cars

Rent hybrid cars

If you do need to use a car for travelling further distances try and hire a hybrid of electric cars. This way it’s limiting your impact on the environment

Public transport

Using public transport – this seems obvious but with the rise in companies like Uber, people are opting for convenience over the environment.

There are benefits to using public transport too, you can usually get chatting withlocals if you’re like me and the places to go and visit.

Close up of a door and a key ring where it's written the word eco, the lock is green there is a copy space on the right

Accommodations:

Obviously if the visiting somewhere new, then you need somewhere to stay. There are steps which can be taken to reduce your impact.

Treat hotel like home

At home you don’t use fresh towels after every shower, you don’t leave your TV on all day while you’re out, leave the lights on during the day or even the air con – so don’t do this in your hotel.

Most modern hotels automatically turn the lights out after you take the keycard out, but even if it doesn’t switch them off.

Speak with the hotel manager/receptionist when checking in and check the policy on clean towels, explain you don’t want clean towels every day and ask what you need to do in order for the maid to leave them.

Stay at a green hotel

If you want to go one stage further, research and find green hotels. They have become a lot more common in recent years allowing you to go one step further from just switching off your lights and not having fresh towels every day.

 

Eating / Drinking

You need to eat and drink whilst your at home and this doesn’t change when you travel.

 

Local beer and food

The further you travel from home the more important this becomes, but eat what the locals eat, this cuts down on ‘food miles’. Plus this allows you to try some local delicacies.

 

Avoid bottled water and drinks (reusable bottles)

I know in most western countries travelling abroad it’s recommended not to drink the local water and to buy bottled water. But plastic bottles aren’t great for the environment. Where possible use reusable bottles.

Plastic Straws

Where possible refuse these and don’t use them, they are usually thrown away after use and never get recycled.

Silhouette of happy people and text EXPERIENCE in sunset background

New Experiences:

One of the main reasons people travel is to experience new cultures and try something new. There are some things which you can do to make your adventure a little bit greener

 

Carbon offset adventure

There are some companies which organise and sell travel adventures which carbon offset your trip. Making it carbon neutral does mean you can try something new without worrying. Just because of its carbon neutral for the experience the whole trip is unlikely to be carbon neutral.

One great company for allowing you to book carbon neutral trips is intrepid travel.

 

Stick to the path

This is quite important for several reasons, firstly it’s much harder to get lost if you are on the path, you won’t be causing additional damage to the environment and also causing distress to the local wildlife.

If there are no paths where you’re walking, try and cause as little damage to your surroundings as possible.

 

Smaller groups

Smaller groups tend to have less of an impact as larger groups. So when booking tours and experience ask about the size of the group, if they are carbon neutral, do they put back into the local community.

 

General tips:

Don’t use bags

Use recyclable and reusable bags when going shopping to local markets etc, rather than using the disposable plastic bags which are easily discarded and then take years to disintegrate, take a reusable bag with you.

 

Recycle

Whether you’re camping, explore a new city or even country, check out what you can and cannot recycle easily. We aren’t suggesting you go out of your way to specific recycling centres, but does the hotel offer recycling facilities, if you have unwanted toiletries at the end of your stay is there a way to give them to a local charity etc.

 

Presents

Firstly we don’t want to discourage you from buying souvenirs of your trip after all these help you remember the experience. Just think about it. If you’re in the Far East does it contain endangered animals, is it a locally made item or is it just some mass produced merchandised which has travelled thousands of miles and you won’t really keep/use/display when you get home.

 

These are just some of the ways to reduce your impact when travelling, there are more.

 

What’s your favourite way to reduce you’re the impact on the environment when travelling?

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