Between October 31 and November 12, COP26, or the 26th annual Conference of Parties, was held in Glasgow and is believed to have been a major breakthrough in tackling climate change. Sustainable travel is one of the vital pillars we can achieve carbon neutrality with.
But it’s not only our leaders who are accountable for reducing our carbon footprint, but usual travelers like us, too. Whenever you embark on a new journey, you can actually do something to reduce your negative impact on the environment. In this article, we will give actionable tips on reducing your carbon footprint, which you can apply without difficulties and enjoy your trips just like before!
It’s not a secret that air travel makes a significant contribution to climate change and is among the dirtiest means of travel (along with cruises). And even though we cannot possibly exclude all air travel, we can minimize it as much as possible.
So, the first step to a more eco-friendly travel is reducing the number of flights you take every year. Yes, you might not be able to exclude traveling to another country (especially if it’s in the other continent) by plane, but you may choose not to hop on cheap low-cost flights in that destination country.
Instead, look at the way of exploring your destination country in other ways. Train is a good alternative. The example of Norway shows that you can discover a vast chunk of this country by train. Instead of driving a car throughout the entire country, you may rather opt for short- and long-haul bus rides, which are more carbon-efficient. Use this opportunity to connect with the locals and meet up with fellow travelers!
Such a phenomenon like a weekend travel has significantly raised the negative impact the travel industry has on the environment. Indeed, hoping on a 3-hour flight from Birmingham to Malaga and, in a few days, back might seem like a good idea, but the environment clearly loses out.
In fact, even the idea itself might not be such a good one. Think about the time you will spend getting to the airport, checking in a hotel, and all other small things you have to take care about.
Wouldn’t it be a good idea to travel to a certain destination for a period of 2 weeks, or even a month or longer (if it works for you)? Such a way of traveling provides you with a great chance to explore your destination better, while also decreasing the number of flights you take in a year. Doesn’t it sound like a win-win and a great idea for a more sustainable travel?
Who of us doesn’t like buying souvenirs while being on the trip? These small purchases are the things that remind us of our adventures and all the memories we’ve got during our trips. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when buying souvenirs in a foreign country.
Of course, it is important to support the local economy. Instead of buying typical “Made in China” souvenirs, watch out for local treasures – something that is very reminiscent of that country. For example, you may opt to buy sweaters in Norway, drinking horns in Georgia, or Hanbok Dolls in Korea.
However, don’t purchase souvenirs the creation of which has caused harm to the environment, such as high fashion scarfs from Tibet (which are usually made of the Tibetan Antelope). As a rule of thumb, use this WWF guide to know which things you shouldn’t buy on your travels.
In the first place, this is going to be about bottle waters. Traveling is an activity that, one way or another, involves a lot of moving and getting around, and, thus, staying hydrated is as vital as it can be. Instead of purchasing one-time use plastic bottles all the time and then disposing of them, you should rather get a reusable bottle and re-fill it whenever you have such an opportunity.
But this rule shouldn’t be limited only to plastic bottles. Swap plastic cups for paper ones and don’t use plastic straws. And, whenever you visit any place, leave it as it was before you visited it. Even if you have some litter to dispose of, bring it with you and throw it out in the trash cans.
Apart from plane flights and cruise voyages, travelling by car is the biggest contributor to climate change in the travel industry. And if you travel to a country in Europe in particular, you might have a little-to-none need for driving at all. With the impeccable transport systems in most European cities, it’s easy to get from one location to another on a public transport.
However, what can replace the pleasure of discover a city on your feet? From huge metropolises to small towns and villages, there are plenty of places you can explore by walking. And that’s something that – as the authors of this website can attest to – adds plenty of fun to your trips and allows you to get a deeper cultural connection with that city or town.
Carrying 50kg of baggage isn’t something you want to do when going on your next trip – even if it’s a month long one. Of course, you wouldn’t take only hand luggage on a long-haul journey, but limiting the number of things you wish to bring with you might be a wise idea. It’s not just a way for a more sustainable travel, but will also save you some money on baggage charges at the airport.
Sustainable travel cannot be limited only to the means of traveling. You should think about the places you will stay at, too. If you are traveling for hiking and outdoor adventures, staying at camping may be a great idea!
Alternatively, you may look for eco-friendly hotels – something that is gaining ground across the world. But even if you stay at a regular hotel, there are a few tips we can give you, too:
Traveling to national parks is one of the ways of sustainable travel. Check out the best national parks in Norway and pay a visit to one of them on your next trip in Norway!
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