When I spent my semester abroad, I discovered my love of travel and especially of travel the most sustainable way I could manage. Green travelling is an art in itself, so I decided to provide you with 5 useful tips to leave the smallest of footprints while discovering amazing places around the globe.
Tip #1: Choose Your Means of Transportation Wisely
It’s tempting and comfortable to book a flight, type in departure and destination airports on the website, and take whatever the airlines offer you. Unfortunately, it’s not very environmentally friendly. But hey, at least you’re not travelling with a cruise ship – that’s poison for Mother Nature with the Millions of tons of heavy oil that gets burned.
The best environmentally friendly alternative is travelling by bus or train. Even if at first you might think that it takes so much longer it often takes the same time to reach your destination by plane. Check-in, security check, boarding, waiting for the luggage, transfer – none of this is necessary when travelling by bus or train. If you really can’t avoid travelling by plane, however, try to book non-stop flights at least. It’s actually the take-offs and landings that create most of an airplane’s carbon emissions. And the up-side of this alternative? You might even sit on a recycled can! 😉
Tip #2: Settle on a Green Accomodation
With regular demonstrations under the slogan ‘Fridays for Future’, sustainability, green living and the climate crisis are on everyone’s lips and many companies use this to their advantage. That’s why green hotels, hostels and Airbnbs are springing up like mushrooms all around the globe. It’s easy for a hotel to simply claim that they are green, but is this hotel green indeed?. There’s a clear definition for what is considered to be a green hotel:
Hotels that strive to be more environmentally friendly through the efficient use of energy, water, and materials while providing quality services.
So, either settle on a green accommodation, or at least try to make a change wherever you’re staying. You can Leave suggestions on the comments card at check-out, or encourage the owners to start recycling programs or other sustainable measures in the future. Even a small change can help make our Earth a better place!
Tip #3: Support the Local Economy
In many cities tourism is one of the main economic driving forces, but supporting the local economy is not the only good thing you do when buying locally. Importing food and other products causes a lot of unnecessary emissions. Also handmade products should be your first choice if possible.
Buy seasonal and local food and if that’s not possible, settle on canned food, as it is the most environment-friendly packaging alternative. It reduces the amount of fresh food going to waste, which when burnt produces dangerous emissions. Cans consist of recycled materials and even when transported, they use much less energy as they don’t have to be cooled.
Tip #4: Be Prepared
In many cities – especially in tourist locations – there are drinking fountains at every corner. Remember to bring your reusable water bottle to refill instead of buying plastic bottles!
Tip #5: Get Active and Clean up Your Trail
But did you ever get angry with all the trash lining the beautiful hiking paths? Next time, just bring along a small bag and pick up any trash that you spot along your hike. You could even have a friendly competition with your travel buddy and see who can clean up the most unsightly waste. This way you’re leaving a beautiful green trail behind you and travel not only for your own good, but also for the environment!
Do you have other useful tips to turn the next holiday trip into a green journey? Tell us in the comments!