Preparing for your next trip? Then this might be a good time to start thinking about traveling more responsible. Although it will take a little more effort, you will easily get used to it. It will make your trip more meaningful, broadens your understanding of the world and will give you the ultimately satisfaction of making a difference.
With the following 12 tips, we want to help your raise your awareness and try to keep your impact on the environment while traveling as low as possible.
1.Book a Non-stop flight
Looking for a suitable ticket? Keep in mind that a non-stop flight more environmental friendly than a stop-over flight. Especially the Take off requires much more fuel than the rest of the flight.
Tip!: Want to know how much carbon you will produce during your flight? You can calculate it here.
2. Before you go
Be sure to turn off the light and unplug all the electronics, unnoticed they leak a lot of energy. Turn down the thermostat and be sure it doesn’t switch on at certain degrees especially during winter.
3. Travel Lightweight
When flying every kilo counts, the more an aircraft weighs the more fuel is needed and carbon emission is produced. Traveling just for a few days? Reconsider if you have to fill up your suitcase until it’s jammed or that you might leave some items at home. (Check here our blog on how to travel lightweight.)
4. Ditch the Plastic Bags
Travel memories are good to have, but if they last up more than 600 years it might be a little too long. Instead of packing your items or groceries in a plastic bag, bring a reusable bag from home.
5. Enjoy Local
Drink a locally brewed beer and ask some locals where they bought that delicious snack they are eating. Eating local food will not only be of higher quality and lower costs. It will also let you cut on the carbon emission which is needed to fly in non-local products and stimulates the local economy.
Tip!: Check the menu for biological vegetables and fruits of the season, is this not the case? Then it is probably flown in. To be sure you eat low carbon ask for food made by the local producer.
6. Use Public Transport
Taking public transport is one of the best things you can do for the environment when traveling.
Instead of taking taxis or renting a car, taking public transport is way better if you want to try to travel eco-friendly. Other benefits are that you have more interaction with locals, it will increase your travel independence and it’s way cheaper.
7. Travel by land
If you have the time, instead of taking a flight for each trip. Try to travel as much as possible overland especially when you are traveling domestic. Most countries have excellent public transport like sleeper buses and high-speed trains. By cutting out just a 2-hour flight you will spare Mother Nature about 1000 kg of carbon emission and you will have a great time enjoying the countryside scenery!
8. Just like home
Try to act just like home when staying in a hostel or hotel. Although you pay for your accommodation avoid getting clean towels when not necessary, don’t have long showers, something frequently forgotten is to turn off TV, lights and air conditioner when you leave the room.
Tip!: Hotels which are certified which a LEED Certificate, use renewable energy, recycle, use environmentally friendly cleaning products and offer options for guests to make an impact (such as not having the sheets changed daily).
9. Fill up your Bottle
Plastic bottles account for a lot of waste. Look for water reservoirs in your hotel or hostel. In many countries especially in Asia, these reservoirs are in every corner of the hallway. The best way to fill up your reusable bottles with safe water.
10. Do not always leave the beaten path
Stay on trails and public footpaths, do not remove plants or feed animals, and never litter. Although we recommend get off the beaten path while traveling. Sometimes when making a trip it is better to stay on the path. Especially in Nature or Forest Parks, always stay on marked trails, maintain a safe distance from any animals you encounter, do not remove plants and never litter.
Tip!: Stay on trails and public footpaths. When you go off a trail, there is a great chance that you will trample on protected or endangered plants or that you will scare wildlife.
11. Cycle around
Step on that bike it is the best way to enjoy the scenery and it is totally carbon free!
Nowadays many accommodations stimulate sustainable transport and will provide you (if not free) with bicycles for a cheap price.
12. Going back home
If you have your backpack loaded with souvenirs and some of your brought from home items can’t make the trip back. Don’t leave the items in your hotel room or throw them in a dumpster, instead donate them. In many (developing) countries there is a high demand for items you think you don’t need anymore.
Do you have any tips on how to travel eco? Leave us a comment!