How to Travel More Sustainably
After the world has been on a big reset, countries are slowly opening their borders for foreign travellers. Many of us can’t wait to travel again, but before we pack our bags and book our next plane ticket, let us try to take some things into consideration.
The travel restrictions from recent years have been a big hit on many businesses. On the more positive side of the story, our precious planet had the opportunity to benefit from a pause in tourism.
Now the number of flights are quickly rising again, those benefits will diminish. However, that doesn’t mean we have to go back to the way we always travelled.
In this post, we will share the best tips to reduce your footprint on your next trip, without having to make any sacrifices on the joy of travel.
Table of contents
Reducing flight emissions
That flying is bad for the environment might be obvious to many of us. But what most travellers are not aware of, is that a flight can emit up to 10 times as many emissions compared to making the journey by train.
In specific, short-haul flights can be extremely polluting as 25% of the emissions are produced with take-off and another 25% with landing. This means that a flight of 2 hours emits about 50% of the emissions of a 6-hour flight!
For long-haul flights, there is no good alternative, but for short-haul flights there often is. Travellers can often save a substantial amount of emissions by choosing a train or bus instead of a flight. Considering the extra time you need at the airport, these alternative options don’t always add much extra travel time to your journey.
Alternative options for short halt flights
Imagine you are on holiday in Mexico and want to travel from Mexico City to Acapulco. The flight only takes about 1 hour, but if you add up the travel time to and from the airport, you will already need at least 2 hours. Add up the time you need to wait for check-in and picking up your baggage, you will likely need 4 hours.
More convenient would be to just take a 5-hour bus ride. It’s not only the environment you save here. In addition, you will save on the cost of your ticket and you will be dropped directly in the center instead of an airport outside of the city. Be sure to check out our Mexico City Itinerary here too.
The airplane model is more than just a number
In cases where there is no good alternative to a flight, we have another tip – check on Skyscanner which flights are operated by more eco-friendly aeroplanes.
Modern aeroplanes can be up to 80% more fuel-efficient than the earliest commercial jet planes. Luckily Skyscanner made it very easy to recognize which flights emit fewer emissions.
- For short journeys: Consider taking a train or bus instead of a flight
- For longer journeys: Check Skyscanner for more eco-friendly flights
The impact of single-use plastic
Now we learned how we can reduce our impact of travelling from A to B, let’s discuss how we can save our planet during our holiday.
Since the invention of plastic in the early 20th century, its popularity has grown out of control. You’ll find it back in almost every product you buy.
The bad side effect is that plastic doesn’t degrade. It splits in microplastic and eventually ends up in our ocean and then being eaten by fish who think it is plankton. This process disturbs the entire marine food chain.
What does that mean for you?
Almost all the fish you consume contains microplastic that will enter your body and disrupt your hormone system.
Besides the health issues, you don’t want to spend your holiday on a white sand beach scattered with plastic bottles or hiking a trail covered with plastic waste.
So how to reduce your usage?
3 tips to minimize your plastic consumption
- Always carry a refillable water bottle, so you don’t need to buy plastic water bottles
- Say no to plastic bags and carry a reusable grocery bag or little daypack for all your purchases
- Avoid single-use hotel amenities like a toothbrush or soap. Bring your own supplies and put the single-use amenities in a dry space so the hotel can save it for other guests
Whenever you venture out in nature, try to make it a mission to collect some plastic you find along the way.
I will make any trip feel more purposeful and in the end, it’s the only way you can get your plastic footprint to zero (or even negative if you work hard)!
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