Have you ever wondered about the impact you leave on the environment as you go about your day to day life? If yes, then you have heard about carbon footprints and the impact they have on the environment. I’ve also come across countless individuals on online forums wondering if they can reduce their carbon footprint as they travel around the world. So, is it possible? My short answer is “Yes! It is very possible” and here are a few tips to help you take the first step in travel sustainably.
1. Reuse and Recycle
Reusing and recycling are important to reducing your carbon footprint and although it’s a concept mostly used at home doesn’t mean you can’t take it with you as you travel. Pack your reusable water bottle and carry paper bags instead of asking for plastic bags at local stores and by doing so you dramatically reduce your carbon footprint thus saving the environment.
2. Don’t Fly for Short Distances
This is easier said than done because you will usually feel inclined to fly. After all, it will take less time to get there as compared to taking a train or car. But taking a train reduces carbon emissions at a rate of 50% to 80% compared to flights and not only do you get to relax and enjoy the view before you get to your destination but also reduce your carbon footprint significantly.
3. Carbon Offset Your Flight
Many companies are now offering their passengers a way to offset their flights. You’re given a chance to donate to programs that take carbon out of the air such as tree planting or renewable energy. However, it might be a controversial topic since some people argue that it allows you to ‘buy’ your way out of your carbon footprint. But the important thing is we are all trying to reduce our carbon footprints.
4. Take Direct Flights
Sometimes you can’t avoid flying as much as you’d like to, so you can reduce your carbon footprint by ensuring you take a direct flight to your destination because planes produce the most carbon during take-off and landing. So, the more layovers the more the carbon footprint you leave behind.
5. Fly Economy
It might not be your dream class cabin while traveling but it is the most environmentally friendly because it has less carbon footprint than a half-full first or business class cabin. Therefore, you can think of it as taking a crowded public bus which is better than one person in a private car furthermore, you should feel good about it because you are doing it for a better and safe environment.
6. Pack Light
Depending on how long your trip will take, you might only need a carry-on bag or if you will have a checked bag you can park only your necessities because if a plane has to carry heavy luggage, it uses more fuel. Also if you are going camping, you do not need a bag that is twice as much as your weight because you will have to exert more force to get to your camping site. So if it is possible park light because you will hardly use energy thus reducing your carbon footprint.
7. Stay in Eco-Friendly Hotels
You may be surprised to find out that fancy hotels are now becoming more sustainable and if you don’t find an eco-friendly hotel near your destination don’t fret you can opt for an Airbnb. However, none is available you can do what you can to reduce your carbon footprint while at a regular hotel probably by limiting the number of towels you will use and deciding on how often you will need your sheets washed to reduce water wastage and also don’t leave lights on.
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8. Eat Local
If you want to eat imported food it means a plane is in play so, it will have a higher carbon footprint compared to locally produced food. And as a traveler, you know how amazing local delicacies can be and it’s always a highlight of the trip whenever you go back home.
Another interesting way to reduce your carbon footprint is minimizing meat intake thus if you have a meat-free meal will make a difference. Additionally, research at the University of Oxford shows that cutting down on meat and dairy products reduces a person’s carbon footprint by 73% from food. Traveling is the best way to take a moment and reflect on your life decisions or rather the best therapy as many will say and you feel even better if you travel as you conserve the environment from more carbon footprints in the atmosphere.