More than ever before, travellers are booking ‘green’ eco-friendly accommodations. They are increasingly more willing to pay for sustainable and eco-friendly travel. According to booking.com, 87% of the people they interviewed indicate that they want to travel sustainably.
If you’re wondering where to start your green journey, we’ve got you covered. Here are 8 easy ways to travel without feeling guilty about your (carbon) footprint.
Why would you want to travel eco-friendly
First, let’s discuss a couple of reasons for eco-friendly traveling. One obvious reason is that it’s better for our planet. CO2-emissions from aviation, cars and other modes of transport contribute significantly to global warming. The consequences of global warming are pretty disastrous. From biodiversity loss to the flooding of major cities, there are plenty of reasons to want to prevent this.
From the same booking.com research, however, people also offered other reasons why they would like to travel greener. Six out of ten travellers (60%) said that their own experiences being out in nature inspired them to take better care of the planet. These experiences include;
- Having seen the beauty of coral reefs and rainforests (60%)
- Having seen the impact of tourism on the location they visited (54%)
- Having seen the positive effects that sustainable tourism can have on the local population (47%)
- Having seen what effect unsustainable tourism has on the country (42%)
Besides booking an eco-friendly accommodation, there are countless other ways to reduce the impact your travels have on the environment. Here are 8 easy ways to travel eco-friendly.
1. Don’t fly
The best way to reduce CO2-emissions is to simply not fly. But if you do need to fly, it’s best to avoid flying too many short distances in a row. Out of all the different ways of transport, short distance aviation causes the most pollution per kilometre. Of course, one short flight is better than one long flight, but it’s even better to take the train instead.
So, avoid stopovers. Stopovers will only make the journey longer, which means more kilometres, more fuel, and more CO2-emissions. Instead of choosing that cheap flight, just spend a couple of euros more on a direct flight and you will thank yourself later.
2. If you do fly: offset your CO2-emissions
When you book a flight, use a flight search engine that offsets your flight’s CO2-emissions for free, such as FlyGRN. FlyGRN earns a commission from every ticket we sell, which we use to offset your emissions by planting trees or investing in solar panel projects in India. Read more about how we exactly offset your flight’s emissions.
3. Get economy class and pack light
You’ve probably never thought about his, but flying economy class is actually better than flying business class. Business class fliers create far larger carbon footprints than economy fliers. First of all, business class takes up loads of physical space, while economy class carries more people and is thus way more efficient.
Secondly, think about what is required to run all the business-class airport lounges, spas and fancy facilities. The amount of water being used and the amount of waste that they produce is significantly higher than that of economy class.
Also, try to pack light. A heavy suitcase will make the airplane use more fuel than a light backpack. And, you will be doing your back a favour, too.
Hitchhiking is a great way to share petrol costs, reduce CO2-emissions and get to know new people. And you don’t need to be standing alongside the road with a piece of cardboard in your hands in the rain, hoping someone will pick you up. Nowadays you can hitchhike the easy way, using an app such as BlaBlaCar, iThumb or Rideshare4less.
5. Travel with sustainable, eco-friendly or fairtrade travel agencies
Choosing travel agencies and eco-friendly accommodations is another way to make sure your travels are as environmentally friendly as possible. While it’s more eco-friendly to stay close to home, sometimes you do want to go a bit further away. In that case, stay at an eco-accomodation, such as Loola Adventure Group. This is the number one eco-accomodation in Indonesia.
To design your tailor made trip, use a sustainable travel agency such as Better Places Travel. They offer high-end sustainable travel experiences and only work with local travel experts. Also note that although travel contributes to carbon emissions, it can also have a positive influence on the welfare of local communities.
6. Don’t eat (as much) meat
The meat industry, especially the beef industry, is by far the world’s biggest polluter. According to some experts, giving up the consumption of animal products (beef), might reduce the carbon footprint more than cars.
So when you are travelling, eat as few animal products as possible. Of course, you don't have to limit this to your holiday alone. It makes a huge difference if you eat less or no animal products at home, too.
7. Never, ever, do something touristy with wild animals
Have you ever seen those pictures of travellers posing with tigers? The tigers are semi-sedated and often live in poor maintained cages. Whatever they tell you about the orphanage, that the animals are treated really well, that they will release the animals into the wild or that they contribute to the conservation of the species, try to do more research so you know what’s really going on. Also, skip the elephant rides. Elephant rides are one of the worst tourist attractions in the industry.
Wild animals are wild for a reason and are not suitable to serve as a tourist attraction. The only way the serve as an attraction is when you see them in the wild.
8. Bring your own bags, bottles and eco-friendly products
Take your own shower products with you in reusable bottles, so you don't have to use your hotel's mini shampoos and body lotions. This way you don't add to the pile of waste at your holiday destination. Bring your own water bottles that you can refill and bring your own bags so you can say no to plastic!
Are you already travelling green? And do you have any more tips to add to this list? Let us know in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you!