Top ten tips for eco-friendly travel
Sometimes it’s hard to maintain an environmentally-friendly behaviour when on the road. Here are top 10 tips to help you reduce the carbon footprint of your trip and enjoy an eco-friendly lifestyle no matter where you find yourself.
1. Avoid plastic bags
Travelling, we often settle for the easiest solutions – and shopping or transporting goods in plastic bags is one of them. Plastic bags take lots of time to biodegrade and have a significant impact on animal life in many areas of the world – including oceans. Make sure to take a re-useable shopping bag with you when visiting local markets.
2. Go for smaller groups
When choosing your tour operator, try to pick tours based on smaller groups of tourists. They simply tend to have less environmental impact – it’s best to ensure that the tour operator is environmentally responsible too. Before you book a holiday, you should ask what size the group will be – smaller groups also bring greater comfort during the travel itself.
3. Limit your luggage
When flying or travelling by car, every additional kilo counts. Take plane travel, for instance – the more a plane weighs, the more carbon emissions it will produce during the journey. Limit the size of your luggage by packing only what you need – you’ll be making a difference to the environment.
4. Enjoy local treats
Instead of striving to buy products you’re familiar with, try local treats and drinks which haven’t been brought from far away. This is how you can cut the carbon footprint of your meals and snacks. Drinking a locally brewed beer is a great experience on its own – even better when you consider that doing this you’re also cutting down on ‘beer mileage’. Eating local food makes a holiday far more adventurous!
5. Choose public transport
Taking public transport is the single best eco-friendly choice you can make while travelling. Private transport usually entails creating additional carbon emissions – unless it’s a bike of course. Using public transport, you’ll add to your travel experience, benefit from opportunities to interact with locals and cut down on carbon emissions generated by travelling privately.
6. Avoid bottled water
Plastic bottles make up for a lot of waste on our planet. That’s why it’s environmentally-friendly to resort to alternative means for carrying water. Asian hotels and hostels are usually equipped with cutting-edge water filters which travellers can use to fill re-useable bottles with safe water. Seems like a minor detail, but buying less bottles of water, you’ll have a great impact on the environment.
7. Travel overland
Sometimes it’s way better to travel overland than choose a flight. By cutting out just one five-hour flight, your carbon footprint will be a tonne lighter. Not bad, huh? And travelling by bus or train you’ll also get to see more of the countryside
8. Stick to the path
When hiking or trekking, make sure to always stay on marked trails and keep a safe distance from any animals you encounter. Choosing a different path, you might pose danger to protected or endangered plants and animals.
9. Go for a carbon offset adventure
Some tour providers offer tours with precisely calculate carbon emissions, reducing wherever possible and offset all that remain. All carbon emissions from transport, accommodation, activities and waste are accounted for and the full cost of offsetting is usually already included in the cost of the travel.
10. Treat hotel like your home
When at a hotel, act as if you were at home. Avoid getting clean towels every other day, reduce your shower time and turn off the lights, TV and air conditioning when you leave the room. Just because you’re not paying for it doesn’t mean you should waste.
Follow these 10 tips and you’ll be on your way to developing a truly eco-friendly travelling practice.
Will Norquay is a frequent business traveller who shares his experiences and thoughts writing for Stayz. Stayz is Australia’s #1 holiday rental website.