Have you ever questioned what kind of influence your business air travel is leaving on the natural environment? If you have, then you've presumably heard about your carbon footprint and how each time you fly, you increase the carbon emission that's released into the atmosphere. It's discouraging to know that the most efficient way to travel, is damaging to the environment.
Even if you don't travel by airplane, there is other stuff you can do to lessen the impact. Luckily, there are ways to reduce your carbon footprint you leave on the world.
As the high-travel summer season begins, we’d like to refocus on the environment, particularly ways we can make our travels a little more sustainable.
A little extra consideration in planning and a little extra effort during your travels can mean reducing your carbon footprint and traveling more sustainably while not missing out on adventures. Technology can also help. Below, some of the best and easiest ways to stay green while traveling, no matter your destination. You will find a few useful sustainable travel tips to take into consideration the next time you travel for business or pleasure.
Travelers who are serious about seeing the world while remaining environmentally conscious can explore ecotourism, defined by the Nature Conservancy as “environmentally responsible travel to natural areas.” Ecotourism highlights conservation, education, traveler responsibility, and active community participation, and is a way to explore our world without stressing its resources.
2. Traveling Long Distances: Know Your Impact
In many cases, airplane travel is necessary, especially if your travels take you abroad or across long distances. But with local travel, choosing a train, bus or car over an airplane can go a long way toward conservation.
The stats: 2 people flying in an airplane from New York City to Washington, D.C. create a carbon footprint of 472 pounds, while those same two people driving the same distance reduces the carbon footprint by half, to 229 pounds. The Fly or Drive Calculator on the BeFrugal website can tell you whether plane travel or car travel is better for the environment, based on your trip particulars.
3. Take direct routes.
Taking alternative forms of transportation to reach your destination isn't always feasible. To lessen your impact on the natural environment while still being heedful of your traveling, take the most direct routes to your final destination.
Planes issue the most carbon during takeoff and landing. Instead of taking the cheaper flight with one or two stops, opt for a nonstop. If you're flying internationally, search for the flight with the fewest amount of stops.
4. Contemplate travel by Train or Bus as an alternative of Flying
Traveling by bus — especially one that uses renewable energy — can mean 55% to 75% fewer emissions than flying, according to a study on green travel by the Union of Concerned Scientists. Trains are another environmentally friendly option.
4. Donate to Offset Your Carbon Footprint
If plane travel is a must, you can keep it environmentally friendly by calculating the carbon footprint of your travels. Delta and United both have carbon offset programs.
5. Pack light.
If you were going camping and your backpack weighed twice as much as you, you'll have to exert more force to get to your camping site. On the other hand, if you were carrying a lightweight backpack, you'll hardly use any energy to get there.
The same concerns to a plane. When it has to carry large luggage, it uses more fuel. Depending on how long your journey is, you might only require a carry-on. If you do need a checked bag, then pack only your essentials.
6. Consider having a virtual meeting.
I love flying as much as the next frequent-flyer, but even I know when it's a more practical use of my time to stay home. Hold your business meeting over a video conference if you can. As nice as it is to have a meeting face to face, sometimes an alternative will have to suffice.
7. Let Technology Assist You to be more Eco Friendly
Technology (apps, websites, electronics and more) can help the conscientious person travel their greenest:
- You can produce an actual impact on the community to which you’re traveling by researching about its particular needs and bringing items that can help.
- Locate sustainable flights and eco-friendly hotels.
- Eating locally can mean a reduction in emissions that would be used to transport your produce and other perishables. But while you might know all the ins and outs of eating locally where you live, it can be more difficult while traveling. Use apps for finding local seasonal food and nearby farmer’s markets. Too Good To Go is a good App that reduces waste and is a good example of how to reduce your Carbon Footprint.
- If you have to take a car in a city, rideshare carpooling alternatives are a more earth-friendly choice.
- Make intelligent choices when booking your trips: “Many environmentally-determined groups offer eco-tours and excursions that aim not to harm natural resources, wildlife or people.
8. Establish Good Habits
For regional or international travel, get familiar with recycling methods and different types of waste containers. Some areas separate recycling for paper products, plastic and cans, and many also have public compost bins.
9. Fly economy.
First and business class takes up more space per seat which means it's more fuel per passenger. Although you might not want to, it's more fuel-efficient to fly in economy class. You can always use the perks like lounge access or TSA PreCheck from your travel credit card to upgrade other aspects of your travel.
10. Reduce Water Waste
Carry your personal reusable Travel Collapsible water bottlealong for the flight, the road trip, the hiking and even all the sightseeing you’ll do. Using a Travel Collapsible water bottle will keep the several plastic bottles you might have used during your trip out of the landfill and you will save a couple of bucks in the Duty-Free airport. You can also bring a travel mug for coffee and tea on the go.
11. Take it Easy on Hotel Resources
By now those little cards hotels leave in bathrooms sharing how many gallons of water it takes to wash the sheets and towels each day are so familiar they can be easy to ignore. But in the interest of the environment, don’t. Laundry accounts for 16% of an average hotel’s water usage, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Cut down on the laundry load, save water and other resources. Simple.
Another way to be greener away from home: Treat your vacation lodging like you would if you were paying the electric bill — Switch off lights you’re not using, take quicker showers and maintain the thermostat at a moderate temperature.
12. Public Transportation
If you’re traveling to a city with regular public transportation, the most environment friendly choice is a no-brainer. One subway train in New York City transports many people into the city, meaning many fewer individual cars on the road. Check out the public transport options in your destination city before departing — you might be surprised what you find.
13. Explore a City by Bike or electric scooters
Bicycles and electric bikes are good options for travelers who want the freedom of individualized travel with the advantages of diminishing their environmental impact.
14. Sign up for a Tour
Walking tours, bus tours, bike tours or even Segway tours – are great distances to see the sights while remaining conscious of your environmental impact.
There are lots of ways to see and feel what the world has to offer while not ruining the planet.
To Wrap up this post, there are endless possibilities on how to reduce your Carbon Footprint when traveling. Creativity, Awareness and a sustainable mindset are key to reduce waste in 2020. Put a bit more extra through next time you decide to go traveling somewhere. Remember, Choices makes changes!