Travelling is great, but between the transportation, the accommodation, the food on the road, all the energy spent on organised tours and on luxury we don't give ourselves at home... our dreams can be potentially damaging the environment. Here are some tips on reducing waste and saving energy on your next trip to become a green traveller.
Your mode of transport
Some things you can influence, others are not as realistic. To get across the world you will most likely board a plane, but on shorter journeys around Europe, why not stay on the ground and choose low-carbon emission transport? Take public transport and see the landscape or look at car sharing options! You can hitch a ride cross-country or offer the free car seats in your vehicle to other green travellers.
If you are going to the mountains or into the countryside, look out for eco-lodges and yurts or bring your tent and camp in designated camping areas. Even during city travel you can find hotels or hostels with environmental friendly certification or browse websites that let you stay with locals or live in their houses.
Getting your home holiday-ready
With the excitement of trip, don't just leave without preparing your home for the holiday. Turn all the lights off, pull out all plugs or switch them off and check any other rooms that won't be inhabited while you are gone. While the fridge and freezer will need to stay on, you can turn heating and other electrical appliances that won't be needed.
If you have a subscription to a daily paper or magazine, suspend it for the length of your trip, let a neighbour know who can profit from it or donate it.
Most companies will let you have electronic tickets, but if you do need to print one, check which page contains the ticket before hitting print, avoiding five pages of T&Cs and reducing paper waste.
On your holiday
When you pick your activities, consider the environment: Can you use public transport to get around the city? Are there bikes for to explore the region?
If you do need to hire a car, check if local companies have Green Cars or a Green Collection, which has a lower carbon emission and higher fuel efficiency.
Even with activities, you can choose to the green option. Consider doing some low-impact activities such as horseback riding, cycling, hiking or canoeing. Again, many tour companies now have environmental accreditations.
Be aware of your environment
Remember every country has challenges to deal with. For some it is plastic bags, for others the amount of energy going into air conditioning or heating; make sure you are aware of them and act responsibly. Use water sparingly for example when you are in a country in drought. Being water wise is one of the easiest ways to help in dry countries.
Be as green as you are at home
Don't forget your good habits just because you are on holiday. Clean up after yourself and don't litter. Choose accommodation with a kitchen so you can cook your own food and go to the market and make yourself a meal with local produce. Remember to pack a couple of food containers to pack a lunch and avoid any unnecessary packaging. Especially if you are staying in a hotel, avoid wasting water by simply keeping the clean and dirty towels separate and make it clear for the staff that you will re-use them.
Being a green traveller is easier than you think - simply apply all your good habits to the trip. Think of carbon emission when you move around, think local for your food, don't leave plugs on, and look for ethical tours during your stay.
Frontier runs plenty of ethical projects, why not take a look at some of our Trekking and Eco Trails here.
By Claire Herbaux - Online Journalism Intern
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