The pandemic has hampered mobility for many people. From weekly parties at bars to occasional out-of-town trips, traveling during the pandemic has mostly been prohibited. Besides, the environment isn’t healing itself. Every year, climate change continues to worsen, with global temperatures now rising at a rate of 0.18 C per year.
But these problems shouldn’t stop our wanderlust. So, if you’re having a hard time being creative about how then you’ve come to the right place.
Today, you’ll learn about what you can do to make traveling safe not only to help with the pandemic but also with climate change in general. So, take note of these tips on how to make your vacation more eco-friendly.
1. Travel Lightly
The first tip to making your vacation eco-friendly is to travel lightly. Packing only what you need allows you to carry less weight. The less weight and volume of your carry-ons, the less power you’ll need to transport them.
Think of it this way. If you have a well-packed backpack, you can simply walk, cycle, or even commute. But if you’re lugging a huge suitcase, then you’re more likely to hail a cab and thus contribute to more harmful gas emissions.
And should you ride vehicles, at least the lesser weight can result in less fuel consumption and thus fewer carbon emissions. EPA says that a mere 100-pound increase in weight can increase your fuel consumption by 1%.
For those taking short vacations, say a camping trip, it’s also best to pack light but healthy and filling snacks. Instead of going for junk food, consider beef jerky, protein bars, and granola. These types of food are big energy sources but can occupy as little space as possible—leaving enough for your other belongings.
2. Travel by Land
The next travel tip we have for you is to travel by land.
From a recent BBC report with data from BEIS/Defra Greenhouse Gas Conversion Factors, domestic and long-haul flights have the highest carbon emissions per passenger. Domestic flights give off around 133g per passenger carried while long-haul flights contribute 102g per passenger. For reference, riding a coach or a car with several other passengers are at 27g and 43g, respectively.
But if you’re going to fly, then you have to commit to it. Don’t justify your carbon footprint by taking short flights multiple times. This tactic will only do the opposite and increase the carbon emissions you’re responsible for.
For those who long to travel long-distance, consider pacing yourself. Schedule only one long-distance vacation among numerous land-based vacations per year.
And if your weekend vacation getaway is a mere miles away, you can even ride e-bikes to fully bring down your carbon emissions to zero.
3. Choose Economy
Now, for those who will inevitably fly to reach their vacation destinations, then this tip may be useful. If you really need to fly, then at least choose economy. Economy planes can accommodate more people. So, more people can benefit from the same amount of harmful gases emitted.
And by flying economy, you can avoid lounges, spas, and other luxury amenities that not only require the use of energy, but also water and other natural resources. So, it’s time you ditch your private planes and helicopters and fly coach for the environment.
Additionally, you should also make sure you’re traveling with a sustainable travel agent.
4. Follow Local Guidelines
Another easy way to take care of the environment even as you go on vacation is by following local guidelines. Know where to throw your trash. Check where you can get on or off public transportation.
When visiting beautiful natural landscapes, you should avoid taking souvenirs that aren’t sold in stores. That means no taking sand from beaches or picking flowers/plants from gardens.
Sometimes, simply following signages in public spaces can already do enough.
Following guidelines may also concern treatment toward animals. As much as possible, don’t disturb flora and fauna. If you’d want to feed that animal or take pictures of their rarity—don’t. If you really want to have meaningful interactions with animals during your vacation, ask the authorities about alternatives.
More importantly, you should respect the local traditions and cultural practices in the place you’re visiting. If you can, read up on the culture of your destination even before visiting.
5. Bring Your Own Reusable Bags and Water Container
Last but not the least, bring your reusable bags and water container. This tip may seem only helpful if you’re going hiking or camping. However, anyone who’s on vacation needs regular sustenance.
For example, city-wide tours may be fun, but they’re also very exhausting. The long hours can leave you hungry and thirsty, two things that can be solved by being prepared.
But instead of buying an expensive plastic bottle of water, why not bring yourself a refillable water bottle? You can fill it up at the start of the day and refill it in restaurants or water drinking fountains as you go on with your trip.
Besides, did you know that the mere act of flying can already dehydrate you? Cleveland Clinic cites that dehydration is one of the six health detriments to air travel. So, a water bottle will come in handy to help you combat dehydration in the air. Of course, you’ll need to bring the bottle empty upon boarding. However, you can ask for refills once you’re on the plane.
Traveling has become a costly hobby. Not only in an individual financial sense but also in a greater and more global sense. Luckily, there are always ways to still care for the environment while carrying out your favorite hobby.
You can travel lightly, bring your own mess kit, and follow local guidelines. Traveling by land also helps reduce your carbon footprint. However, should flying be inevitable, make sure you’re flying economy with less baggage.
Remember, these tips are simply suggestions. You can also go beyond these tips and find other ways to make your vacation more eco-friendly. Maybe you can share your ideas with us and your fellow travelers, too!