It is easy to ignore the fact that the travel industry has a considerable impact on climate change. In fact, air travel amounts to 2.4% of global emissions of CO2 from fossil fuels! That number continues to grow, as travelling becomes more and more popular and accessible.
Along with air travel, tourism in general leads to pollution and overexploitation of natural resources. In a perfectly enviro-friendly world, we would avoid these emissions and all other negative impacts of excessive travel completely. However, it would be unrealistic to expect avid travellers to stop pursuing their favourite hobby entirely.
So, we’ve got 7 easy things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint (and not your actual footprints) while travelling:
1. Carry a Sustainable Travel Kit
Your individual actions may seem meaningless in the (very) grand scheme of things, but it is true that every little bit counts! Here are a few things you may want to consider bringing with you throughout your travels:
Photo by Unsplash - Bindle Bottle
Reusable water bottle
If you don’t have one already.... Where have you been? With thousands of water bottles on the market, you’re bound to find the right bottle for you. And hey, bringing your own water with you is always a good idea, you never know when you’ll need it.
Snacks are essential for long-haul flights or road trips, and can also help save you money during your trip if you don’t want to eat at restaurants all the time. Bring some collapsible containers with you to carry your nibbles, or take them along on your food adventures to bring any unfinished food home after eating out (less plastic, and less food waste!)
A compact set of utensils is both convenient in a pinch, and great for the environment. Avoid single-use plastics with this small and simple solution.
Reusable bags should be a given at home, but consider bringing them with you for your travels, too. Use them for food runs, beach days, picnics and more.
If you’re a coffee lover, be sure to carry a reusable coffee cup with you when you visit all those cafés! Check out this cool collapsible one that fits nicely in your carry bag.
2. Skip the Souvenirs
No one really wants that snow globe, right? Or that keychain, fridge magnet, t-shirt or tote bag. These little knick knacks are often cheaply made, and are likely to end up in the bin pretty quickly.
Consumerism is a massive issue, but you can do your part by buying less and focusing on the experiences and the beauty around you, instead of the objects that will only weigh your suitcase down.
3. Slow it Down
You may feel like you need to do as much as possible during your vacation, but that will only lead to exhaustion and a lot of photos of things you can’t even remember. Get more out of your travels by slowing down the pace of your trip.
Photos by Unsplash - Engin Akyurt and Bluewater Sweden
Rather than touring all of Europe, try visiting one or two places and really settle into the lifestyle there. It is a very different experience, and will likely leave you feeling more relaxed and knowledgeable about that particular place in the world. And, long-term rentals often come with discounts!
Check out this list of the best places to go for long-term stays.
4. Take a Hike, Ride a Bike
The best part of travelling is that you get to offset all that delicious food you eat with tons and tons of walking. Walking is truly the best way to see a city, and is good for both you and the planet.
Photo by Unsplash - Chris Arthur Collins
However, if you’ve got a long distance to travel (or just want to move faster), a bike is another excellent choice. Most places in the world have bike rental services, and some cities have a bike sharing system for you to make use of. The bottom line is, avoid creating emissions as much as possible.
5. Offset Your Carbon Footprint
If you’re flying long distances, you’re contributing even more to the large carbon footprint of the travel industry. Ease your mind and do your part by participating in a carbon offset program!
A carbon offset program is a way for you to balance out your carbon footprint by providing monetary support to projects that aim to reduce carbon emissions worldwide (AKA renewable energy projects). So, fly to that exotic destination, but mind your footprint by supporting those working to save the planet. Here’s a comprehensive list of the best programs out there.
6. Choose the Right Airline
Some airlines are better than others when it comes to sustainability. Surprisingly, there are some that use renewable biofuels, which are fuels produced using things like wood chips and agricultural waste. These fuels can reduce carbon emissions by 80%!
Here are some airlines that are committed to supporting sustainable aviation fuel:
These renewable sources of fuel are becoming more widespread for air travel, so keep a lookout to see if your favourite airline is joining the party.
7. Explore Your Own Country
Don’t sleep on the wonders of your own country! Chances are, there’s a lot that you have yet to discover close to home. Save the planet (and your wallet) by taking advantage of the sights and activities available to you in your city.
Check out your local museums, try a new restaurant, take a long bike ride, or simply walk until you can’t anymore. You’re sure to find something special.
BONUS TIP: Opt for sustainable travel essentials!
They say that true sustainability is to buy once, reuse forever. I mean, technically each time you use something more than once, you are reusing it. Our sustainable, ethical travel essentials fit the bill for long-lasting use. Durable, high-quality, and made in Canada, look no further for your travel needs!