Travelling “green” is an often overlooked part of global tourism due to the idea that it’s relatively impossible at this point in time, but we’re here to assure you that’s not the case. It’s important to note before we jump into this that it really is almost impossible to travel without having some kind of negative effect on the climate, but there are definitely ways in which you can turn your trip into a carbon-neutral one and ensure your impact is as limited as it can be. Some people out there may want to completely tailor their trips and travels to accommodate the planet (and that’s an amazing thing to do), but you don’t have to. This article is going to focus on what you can do to ensure you’re travelling green all the time without hindering your plans or your experiences in any way.
Flying green, is it possible?
In short, yes.
While the common idea of flying is very impactful and damaging to our environment due to carbon emissions, fuel dumping and noise pollution, each and every day we are pushing closer to an industry that is very conscious and accommodating of the climate. Whether it be through using sustainable fuels, reducing emissions, ensuring efficient flying through design or even reducing the noise the jets make, airlines and manufacturers are making efforts to sort these issues out.
In our opinion, one of the largest issues that faces the air travel industry is that planes tend to last quite a long time. While this is great for recycling purposes and cost, there are some airlines out there that are running planes well over 40 years old which, naturally, aren’t going to be anywhere near efficient or accommodating as they need be. A simple fix to this for travellers is to choose airlines and routes that use more modern planes, and this isn’t just for the environment either. Modern planes are designed in a much greater way for comfort, a reduction of turbulence and efficiency, so you may even find your experience is much greater.
Many airlines in the modern day are also taking other efforts on-board to cater to the ever-growing damage to our environment. Some of the things sound really small, like reducing the weight of dining and beverage carts, reducing in-flight magazine production and using recyclable materials for drinks and meals; but they genuinely do make a huge difference to the environmental impact.
One of our favourite sites to check before we travel is Alternative Airlines, a site dedicated to finding eco-friendly airlines and it explains why. You should definitely check them out before you fly.
Hiring a car for road trips
It’s no hidden fact that the car has been one of, if not the, most impactful parts of climate change around the world – but we can’t shy away from the fact that a road-trip is arguably one of the best ways to see large countries. It’s definitely one of the more difficult issues to cover because even in 2021, driving clean and eco-friendly is a difficult and exclusive form of travel… but it’s not impossible.
Electric Car Hire
As the days, weeks and months go by, more and more vehicle hire companies are including green vehicles as parts of their fleet. From hybrids to electric options, it’s definitely becoming easier and easier to hire a green vehicle from some of your favourite brands, although they are often specific to certain areas and aren’t as widely available as traditional vehicles. The good news? If you do get lucky enough to find an electric or hybrid vehicle as an option for hire, you’ll often find the ride and experience a lot more luxurious and comfortable than a traditional vehicle.
The best way to find these vehicles is to search for the brand you want using Google followed by the words “green vehicles” or “electric vehicles” (for example Hertz Electric Vehicles).
Don’t fancy an electric vehicle? Not to worry. Almost all car hire companies are now offering something called “carbon off-setting” that allows you to pay extra on top of your hire charge for the impact you’re going to have on your travels. This money DOES NOT go to the hire company, it is donated or used to fight back climate change through charities or the organisations own initiatives. This is not a solution to the issue, but it’s a great way to combat it at the moment while electric and hybrid vehicles are not widely available to all.
The down side to this is that the hire companies often don’t advertise the extra online or with ease, so you’ll have to ring them up to add it on. And give yourself a pat on the back for doing so.
Also, importantly, if you do not need to drive or want to drive, just don’t. There are many other options to get around like rail, water or air that are much more efficient than driving a petrol / diesel car.
Once you’re at your destination, all you have to do is ensure you’re following the same environmental measures you take at home. Don’t litter, recycle where possible and ensure you’re leaving no damage to the natural habitats and wildlife out there. When we’re at home, we rarely use single-use plastics on a day-to-day basis, but when we’re travelling, sometimes it’s safer and more convenient to do so – but you can always recycle these and take care.
If you’re an avid coffee or tea drinker, why not start a collection of reusable mugs or cups from places like Starbucks around the world. With collections and novelty products always on offer in most destinations, it’s easy to collect a memento of your trip and reduce your throw-away rubbish at the same time.
An easy thing to do while you’re on your travels is to limit your consumption of electricity, especially in poorer or less developed countries that don’t have a sustainable grid. While you’re on holiday, it’s great to take a pic or video at certain intervals, but step away and bask in the glory of your trip, you can sit on your phone when you’re back home! This same idea applies to hotel stays too, where we encourage you to try and reduce electricity and water consumption. Just because you don’t pay the bill doesn’t mean it’s not going to waste.
Overall there are many steps you can take to reduce your carbon footprint and environmental impact when travelling around the world, without impacting your trip. The common issue for travellers is the lack of knowledge around how easy it is to travel green, so we hope we’ve shed some light on that for you with this article. Travel safe and travel green.