The travelling industry and associated transportation of travellers produces a large part of the greenhouse gas emissions. You may already be doing quite well and live more sustainably by being more conscious about your life at home. But then you decide to go on holiday to a country far away and destroy all your good work in just one trip. I wanted to share a few ideas in this blog post on how to travel more sustainably and responsibly.
How To Travel More Sustainably
I love travelling and I am fortunate enough to live in Europe which made it possible to travel by bus or train. This way I could explore many different countries in a more affordable and sustainable way. I also love how much more you see of a country if you rent a bike rather than a car.
Yes, of course, you can not go as far as with a car but you can slow down and really explore a city. But what are your options if you want to travel further away? How and what should you pack to travel more sustainably? Read on for my top tips. I will also provide more information in separate articles which you will find linked in each paragraph over time.
1. Sustainable Forms of Transport
If you have the option chose a more sustainable form of transport to your holiday destination. The train and bus are good options. My partner once travelled from London to Sevilla by bus with a stopover in the north of Spain. He loved it. Yes, it took him about 48 hours but he was not on a schedule as he planned to spend three weeks in Spain. The stopover in St. Sebastian gave him a break and he got to meet new people. He just loves chatting and discover fascinating life stories.
If this is not possible because your destination is too far, consider offsetting the carbon emissions that have been produced by flying. Either use schemes from the travel operator if they have some of find local schemes. There is a discussion going on around the topic but it is still worth seeing what your options are to offset the carbon emissions from travel.
Your best option, of course, is to avoid travel when possible. Travel less but for a longer time to ensure you make the most of the trip. If you have the option arrange for remote work with your employer. This may not work for everyone of course but maybe a good option if your work allows it.
2. Travel Off-Peak And Explore Off-Beat Destinations
If you want to travel more sustainably avoid the “influencer hyped” travel destinations and travel outside of the main season if you can. Of course, this is hard if you have a family and are forced to travel during school holidays. However, you can still choose a less touristy travel destination and really give your family a break from a busy life.
My favourite holidays allow me to switch off and live a slower-paced lifestyle on holiday. The lifestyle I aspire to in my normal day-to-day but still have not achieved yet due to a busy work schedule. Whenever I can I travel off-season and enjoy the summer and holiday season at home. This means I also save money on travel fares and it is generally cheaper at your destination as well.
3. Buy Locally
Most of us are used to do a weekly big shop in a supermarket or go out to restaurants. When on holiday try to shop in local smaller shops around where you are staying and support smaller independent traders. Yes, it may be a little bit more expensive but who is counting the pennies when on holiday? Buy produce that is local and break out of your normal routine. It’s all about learning new things and discovering a different culture when on holiday so make the most of it!
This may even be a change you will find will help you in your normal day to day life. If you support local businesses you ensure you pay someone living rather than the big cooperations. So this is not only a lesson on how to travel more sustainably but also how to live more sustainably and slow-paced in your usual life.
If you tend to bring home a little souvenir from your travels avoid the cheap tourist traps. Look for small artisanal shops who produce handcrafted items. My favourite souvenirs are items I can actually use in my normal everyday life. The best purchases were handcrafted soap dishes that I use in my bathroom and given to the family.
4. Pack Light And Only What You Need
I find it fascinating that usually, I have no problem reusing the same few items of clothing. However, as soon as I am packing for a week of travel I need so many more clothes. More than I can realistically wear but, you know, you want to be prepared for everything. So one big life lesson on how to travel more sustainably is to learn how to use fewer things and be smarter about packing.
These days, I ensure that I can layer my clothes and only take the right amount with me. I started travelling with a backpack instead of a suitcase so have to make smarter choices in what I will take with me. Besides clothes, I now try and bring useful items with me that will make travelling easier. A reusable water bottle for example so I don’t have to buy bottled water if the tap water in my holiday destination is good enough to dring. A reusable bag so I don’t have to take plastic bags when I go shopping.
5. Be A Responsible Traveller
When growing up my parents would always insist on taking all our rubbish with us if we could not find a bin. Nowadays, a lot of people seem to trust that the rubbish collection works as well in their holiday destination as it does at home. As a responsible traveller, you ensure that you take all your rubbish with you and it is being disposed of as it should. Of course, if you can avoid creating rubbish in the first place that is even better but not always realistic.
Adhere to any local restictions and guidelines. Inform yourself before travelling on any local guidelines that may be different from your home.
When researching where to stay consider greener options in accommodation. Try to avoid big tourist hotels and go with a more environmentally friendly option if you have the choice. Why not rent a romantic tree house or a local house if the option exists?
These tips will hopefully help you on your journey to learn how to travel more sustainably. You may not be able to implement all immediately. That’s ok. Take one step at a time and see which of these tips you can implement and next time add another one.
If you have any additional ideas on how to travel more sustainably comment below. It is always nice to hear of others and learn how to become even more sustainable and responsible while travelling.