Over the past year, we’ve seen what a global crisis can do to the travel industry. From the pandemic to the global environment, this has been a hard time to discover the destinations we love. Lightening your footprint while traveling is critical to help with our global environmental crisis. There is no doubt that tourism plays a major role in the climate crisis. In fact, tourism accounts for 8% of the world’s carbon emissions. So what can we do to help?
Air travel and other forms of transportation comprise the largest portion of tourism’s carbon footprint. Are you aware that taking just one flight can produce more emissions than some people produce in an entire year? We understand that tourism is a key factor of economic growth in many destinations that can only be reached by plane. Eliminating air travel would devastate the people who rely on the tourism economy.
There are ways to lighten your footprint while traveling. If vacationing near home, there are many opportunities to replace air travel with more sustainable types of transportation. Charter buses and trains tend to be the most climate-friendly options. What about driving? If you are driving as a family or in a group road-tripping, that is a great choice.
As the world has picked back up, there is definitely a shortage of workers in the travel industry due to the pandemic. But if at all possible when traveling by plane, try to book non-stop flights. Non-stop flights take the most direct route to the destination, they require less fuel than itineraries with multiple legs.
One lesser-known fact is that planes release the most carbon during take-off and landing. It’s best to book a longer flight rather than multiple shorter flights so that you only have to take off and land one time. If you can’t find a non-stop, choose the itinerary that takes the most direct route and makes the least stops.
I bet you would have never thought that a flying economy could help the carbon footprint. Are you wondering why? This is because an air passenger’s emissions are determined by the amount of space they take up on the plane. On average, business class seats are two times larger than those in the economy. This means that a business class passenger’s carbon footprint is double. First-class seats occupy even more space and have an even larger carbon footprint. Book economy to save money on your ticket while also saving the planet!
If your luggage is heavy it takes more fuel to transport it by plane, bus, car, or train. Pack as light as possible to reduce fuel. A lightweight suitcase is best. Think about bringing clothes that you can wear multiple times and that are easy to wash while on the go. Leave larger items like camping gear at home and rent it locally instead. Remove any unnecessary packaging and use reusable containers to lighten your footprint while traveling.
We are often in a constant state of rushing around and moving at a fast pace. Travel should be the opportunity to get away from the everyday hustle and bustle. Slow things down by spending more time in one destination rather than trying to cram in visits to every “must-see” place. Consider taking one long vacation instead of multiple shorter trips? This will allow you to fully experience the destination and build deeper connections with your travel experience. Consider biking as an option as it will create a slower, enjoyable experience.
Every destination offers unique delicacies. When eating abroad, take the opportunity to try all of the local dishes that you can’t get at home. Learn about the different cuisines, shop at local food markets, and dine at restaurants that source their ingredients from local farmers and fishers. By eating local foods, you’ll reduce the carbon footprint of your meal while also supporting the local economy. Most of all, you’ll get to experience the art of wanderlusting by diving into the immersive local food culture and enjoying some of the freshest cuisines out there!
There’s truly only so much that you can personally do to reduce your carbon footprint. But as a traveler, you have the choice to stay at hotels that are responsible when it comes to climate action and best practices. When booking a hotel, opt for one that is dedicated to reducing its carbon footprint. There are many things that hotels can do to cut their emissions such as installing energy-efficient fixtures and appliances, utilizing renewable energy, automating temperature control, and sourcing products locally. If you are ready to find the best eco-friendly stay for your budget, travel style, and lifestyle, Fora Travel can make sure to accommodate all your needs. As a Fora travel advisor, we make sure that you are staying at a place that practices what they preach.
Read More: Ways To Become A Responsible Traveler