If you get the privilege to travel, it is truly one of the best ways to experience the diverse beauty of the world and it is also a great reminder of all that we must take care of. With summer coming in full swing we wanted to share some ways that you can travel while incorporating sustainability values. Have a read below and let us know what you think we are missing!
Here are some useful tips to employ when travelling:
1. Carbon Offset
Did you know that carbon emission per person by air travel is much worse than any other type of transportation even over long distance?[i] If there is a place where you can get to by train, car, or bus with still relative ease, do that instead! But of course, most of the places in the world are almost impossible without an airplane. Many airlines now, however, offer the option to offset your carbon emission when you’re making a purchase. Carbon offset is a credit you pay for greenhouse gas reductions that is used to compensate the emissions made elsewhere.
2. Direct Flights
Air travel already emits a tremendous amount of carbon, but the landings and take-offs do even more damage to the environment, as those instances require the most fuel. Although we’re always looking for the cheapest way of arriving at our destination, that couple hundred dollars you might save just to take three different flights to get somewhere could probably be avoided if you strategize on the best times to buy airplane tickets.
This might sound less exciting, but how much of your country have you really seen? Not to mention travelling can actually be extremely stressful. Having a staycation or even travelling to somewhere closer to home can alleviate that anxiety and stress burdened by cost, expectations, and over-planning. If your destination is a mere several hours away, you can end up saving a lot on both money and carbon emissions.
4. Day and Summer Flights
It’s true. Night flights contribute twice as much to the warming effect compared to day flights. This is due to the effects of condensation trails that airplanes leave. As clouds do, contrails trap heat, but their effects are less prominent during the day as they reflect sunlight back away from Earth, helping the planet stay cool[ii]. Winter flights are also observed to contribute more to the warming effect than summer flights. So, a staycation during winter and a vacation by daytime and direct flight during summer? Deal?
5. Try Agritourism!
Agritourism is defined as “any agriculturally based operation or activity that brings visitors to a farm or ranch” [iii]. Some examples of agritourism include rural bed & breakfasts, wine tastings, and corn mazes. Participating in these types of activities allow your travelling spend to directly support local and usually small-scale farmers. In addition, agritourism allows you to be better rooted in the area you are exploring by tasting and drinking a local diet and meeting the people in the community. What’s not to love?
The list goes on…
These are some of the important factors to consider. Obviously there is a lot more that we can do when we’re travelling. Immerse yourself in the local culture by eating locally produced food and buying locally made souvenirs. Ask your accommodation if they have any sustainable practices like recycling. Turn off the hotel lights. And I know that you know that throwing the hotel towel on the bathroom floor means you want a new one every single night. Stop it. Reuse your towel. Seriously, how dirty can you be after you shower?
What will you do to help with sustainable tourism? Share with us any sustainable and green travel tips that you have!