Being ecologically aware whilst travelling
Whether or not you are ecologically aware whilst you travel probably isn’t a question you have asked yourself often, if at all, but it can be done - and it is a lot easier than you think.
Let’s start with packing. This is often the hard part, trying to decide what you want to take and what you need to take. Do you really need to take ten t-shirts and ten shorts for a week’s holiday? Will you wear that dress? and is that the kitchen sink being thrown in as well?
Take a moment to step back from jumping on the suitcase, trying to get it zipped up, and reevaluate what you actually need - and take out the things you don’t need. It’s a hard task but one that needs to be done, so be as ruthless as you can. By packing a lighter suitcase this means the plane will weigh less and produce less carbon emissions. Now if everyone on the flight did that, think how much fuel would be saved, and how much lower the carbon emissions a plane produces could be.
Where possible on holiday, and when travelling to and from the airport, or if your destination is five hundred miles or less, then use public transport - such as trains and buses. It will add to your experience, and won’t create an additional carbon footprint through private travel. If you do need a hire car then pick the smallest one you can, as a smaller car and engine will create less emissions.
If your holiday destination is over five hundred miles, try and pick a direct flight, rather than taking several connecting flights. Take off and landing of a plane is when the most fuel is consumed, so reducing the number of flights you take is better.
When staying in a hotel, treat it as if it were your home. Turn off lights when you’re not using them or when you are out of the room, and do the same with the air conditioning and heat. You don’t need a clean towel or bedding everyday, and you really don’t need a long shower everyday. You also don’t need to leave the tap running while you brush your teeth. All this helps to reduce wastage of electricity and water, all the time helping you and the hotel to be more eco-friendly.
One of the many great experiences of travelling is trying different cuisines and food you wouldn’t normally have at home. By eating at local and family-run restaurants you are more likely to eat local produce, and drink local beer and wine. This helps to boost the local economy and keep your carbon footprint low, because your food hasn’t had to travel far.
An obvious tactic, but again one we all probably forget while we are in ‘holiday mode’ - let alone when we are at home doing everyday tasks. Try not to use plastic bags, and try not to drink from plastic bottles either. Taking reusable ones with you will result in you not having to worry about finding a suitable recycling point to put your plastic carrier bags and bottles into.
With these few small tips and tricks you will be helping to make a small contribution to lowering your carbon footprint, and looking after the environment as a whole.