We all know about the carbon footprint associated with traveling. Air travel is the leading cause of air pollution, contributing 4.9% of human-caused climate change. We can’t give up the thrilling, enlightening and eye-opening experience that travel can bring, but there are ways we can do our part to travel mindfully and consciously of the environment.
First things first; one-bagging and packing lightly makes a big difference because every kilo counts when flying. The more a plane weighs, the more carbon emissions it produces.
Having said that, here are 7 more ways you can practice eco-traveling:
1. Fly non-stop
Try to book non-stop flights whenever you can. It’s the take-offs and landings that make up most of an airplane’s carbon emissions.
2. Slow down your travels
If that’s unavailable, find an alternative off-air mode to get to your destination. If you cut out just one 5-hour flight, your carbon footprint will be a tonne lighter! See more of the countryside and experience a slower, local form of transport on the ground, whether it’s via bus, train or ship. Where possible, walking, trekking and cycling are also highly recommended! Not only does it have a less negative impact than a planet, it can also add an extra layer of adventure to your trip (and with only one-bag, it’s so doable).
3. Say no to airline earphones
This is a tiny action that could have a huge impact. Airlines supply poor quality single-use earphones, and these little pieces of plastic get thrown out after every flight. Keep the little adaptor that comes with the airline earphones for all future flights, and use your own earphones with this adaptor. The sound quality will be so much better!
4. Feel ‘home away from home’
Treat your accommodation like you would at home – don’t ask for clean towels when it’s not necessary, don’t have excessively long showers and don’t forget to turn off the TV, lights, heater or air conditioner when you leave the room. You can even try to request no disposable toiletries as you’ll be bringing your own.
5. Make use of the ‘do not disturb’ sign
A simple way of being eco-minded is by hanging up the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on your door. You’re saving the electricity needed to vacuum, the water needed to wash the linens and clean the bathrooms, not to mention the harsh chemicals used for cleaning.
6. Stick to the path
If you’re going hiking, always stay on the marked trails and maintain a safe distance from any wildlife you encounter. Going off the beaten path might sound like a fun adventure, but it could mean you accidentally trample on protected or endangered plants.
7. Reduce CO2 emissions from flying by choosing a budget airline
Air travel is the greatest climate impactor per passenger trip. Flying with a budget airline is actually a better option for eco-conscious travel. Due to high yields per plane, most budget airlines have a reasonable per passenger CO2 emission rate. This isn’t great, but it’s still better than flying in a half-full plane.