How To Travel More Sustainably
With the height of travel season quickly approaching and almost all travel restrictions now non-existent, millions of us will be jetting or driving away for a few days between now and the end of summer.
Whether you're planning a staycation with children or booking a trip abroad with your partner when the weather starts warming up, travelling can be a huge contributor to your carbon footprint.
In fact, tourism is responsible for approximately 8% of the world's carbon emissions with the majority of this caused by the means of transport.
This doesn't mean that you have to say goodbye to the getaways and stay home all year as there are a number of ways to make your travels more sustainable and keep your carbon footprint down.
Consider your method of travel
When going abroad, the only feasible method of transport is via plane which, unfortunately, is one of the least sustainable ways to travel. Air travel accounts for approximately 2.5% of global carbon emissions with no real advancement or progression in making this means of transport any greener.
This doesn't mean you have to wave goodbye to overseas holidays but you should certainly cut down on the number of them that you take each year if you find that you are flying on a regular basis. One flight a year or every other year is ideal and short-haul is always more eco-friendly than long-haul.
You can still make the most of your annual leave by spending the rest of the year taking staycations instead which is a much more sustainable option so long as you avoid taking your car.
Driving for your holidays is only slightly less damaging to the environment than flying which is why using public transport as an alternative is always encouraged.
There are trains and coaches readily available, and usually more affordable than fuel for the car, to take you to any destination in the country.
Pack reusable items
Single-use items are popular for holidays as they are often more convenient and travel-friendly than the reusable alternatives. We often purchase disposable products such as makeup wipes, cotton buds, and now, face masks.
These wasteful investments should be avoided wherever possible as they are extremely harmful to the planet as they contribute to the overflowing landfills and plastic pollution problem.
Instead, opt for the reusable alternatives as these are far more sustainable and you get more for your money as these products can often last weeks, months or even years.
Invest in the local community
When talking about sustainability the focus is often put on the environmental pillar and the social aspect can sometimes be overlooked. But it is just as important.
The best way to action social sustainability when travelling abroad is to support the local community by investing into it.
It's common for holidaymakers to spend the majority of their trip at the resort because it's hassle-free and all inclusive. But this is only putting money into the pockets of foreign organisations.
Even if you only make the effort to spend a day outside of the resort, shopping at a local market, eating from a local restaurant and taking in the culture of the country that you have visited, you will make a massive difference to the lives of those who call it their home.
Check the eco-credentials of your accommodation
Before booking your getaway, one simple thing you can do is check the eco-credentials of the accommodation that you are looking to stay in.
Many hotels, hostels and resorts are now considering ways in which they can uphold sustainability values with some common examples being installing solar panels, implementing recycling schemes and using only organic produce for their food menu.
There are even eco-labels that can be awarded to hotels, such as Green Key, so they can prove their green credentials and make it easier for travellers to find the most sustainable hotels for their stay.
Don't make unnecessary purchases
When you have a holiday coming up, there is a desire to splurge and go on a shopping spree to buy all the things that you think you need for the trip; this could be everything from new clothes and shoes to toiletries and cosmetics. However, more than half of this will probably end up going to waste.
Going on holiday should not be an excuse to buy a whole new wardrobe if you already have appropriate clothing for that climate. You can treat yourself to one or two new items but anything more than that steps into non-sustainable territory.
Instead, utilize what you already own or borrow items from friends and family so that you avoid having to buy products that you are likely only going to use for this trip.
Your luggage contributes to carbon emissions because a plane's fuel consumption is greater if it's carrying a heavier weight. Therefore, the more you pack the bigger the negative impact you have on the planet.
Packing light can be a challenge, especially if you are going away for over a week and have many excursions and activities planned, but one helpful tip is to use a smaller suitcase as it will restrict how much you can pack and force you to downsize.
Also, try writing a checklist and not straying from it, planning your outfits ahead of time for each day and picking pieces that are adaptable and versatile so can be worn multiple times; hence, you will need less options.