It can be tricky trying to maintain your green values when you travel, especially if you need to fly somewhere, as the levels of greenhouse gas emissions which come from an aeroplane are enormous. However, with a little forward thinking it is possible to travel with a slightly clearer conscience. There are a few tips to help you go green on your next vacation.
Unplug at home
Remember to unplug all of your electrical appliances before you leave the house. If you forget to do this, you are wasting money and energy which is not a good start to your environmentally friendly trip.
Every KM counts
Wherever possible try to book a vacation which is a little nearer to home so that you can travel by bus, train or car. If this is not an option then make an attempt to only take a direct flight with no connections as this will save on emissions. Make sure that you have researched online so that your accommodation is within walking distance to all of the main sight seeing attractions or the beach. This will alleviate the need to hire a car or take taxis.
Choose the bus
When you get off the plane, go to the information desk and ask about a bus service which will transport you to your final destination. If all passengers did this, then there would be no need for thousands of taxi cabs on the road. As more people can fit into a bus, there would be fewer vehicles on the road and therefore far less harmful gases in the atmosphere.
Economy every time
You should always choose to travel economy class when you fly, rather than business or first class. It may be much more comfortable in the higher class compartments but they house far fewer passengers. Because economy class has less leg room, the plane can accommodate more passengers. This equates to fewer emissions per passenger.
Off-set your emissions
For a small cost, passengers can offset their carbon usage. For around $15 per ton of carbon dioxide, travellers can reduce their personal emissions. This money is used to invest in carbon reducing projects such as wind farms and solar power buildings as well as growing new trees. This may help you feel a little less guilty when you are flying.
Keep up your good home habits
Once you have reached your resort or hotel, try and go green throughout your stay by switching lights off when not in use and only using the air conditioning if you really must. If you are only staying for two or three nights then you should place a ‘do not disturb’ sign on your door to stop the maid from coming in to your room. This will reduce unnecessary laundering of sheets and towels and so will save on energy and water.
Only fly when necessary
Try and minimise the amount of flights you take by combining necessary trips with a holiday. For example if you were planning to visit family, use that as your vacation. This will save money and reduce your carbon emissions. You could always take a local holiday later on which you could travel to by train or bus. Ideally you should only take one flight every year.
If you are planning a camping trip, ask friends and family if they would be willing to lend you things like tents, sleeping bags and cooking stoves rather than buying brand new equipment. You should in turn always offer to loan your holiday essentials such as travel adaptors, travel hair driers and mosquito repellents as well as luggage. There is no harm whatsoever in using other peoples belongings when you travel.
When you are away on vacation you do tend to eat out quite often as you are there to have a break from cooking. Try and do some research before you go away and note down local restaurants which only cook meals from locally sourced food. At least then you can be safe in the knowledge that you are supporting their local farms.
To ensure that you will reduce your carbon footprint when you travel, try and plan ahead and research all of the relevant details such as bus services from the airport, the proximity of the main attractions to your hotel and whether you will get the option to purchase carbon offsets in order to reduce your emissions.
About the author
Mike Sorensen is a structural engineer and master cabinet maker and the author of www.AcousticFields.com/blog audio blog. He provides tips for soundproofing using environmentally friendly sound production methods and generally tries to do good by mother Earth.