7 Ways To Reduce Your Environmental Footprint While Travelling

Air travel is just behind coal as a top source of carbon emissions.

Ryanair has become the only non-coal company to join an EU list of top carbon emitters across Europe, prompting calls for tighter rules on jet fuel. It’s no secret that air travel is bad for the environment, and EasyJet was listed as Europe’s next worst performing airline in 31st place, according to EU emissions data crunched by environment think tank, Sandbag.

But the good news is there are ways you can reduce your own personal impact on the environment, without giving up on your annual summer holiday.

Here are some things to consider before jetting off on your next adventure.

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Look into ‘carbon offsetting’ your air travel

You can calculate the carbon emissions created by your flight and donate to carbon reduction programmes using tools such as Carbon Clear, who work to rebalance the scales with projects such as tree planting.

According to Geoff Bolan, CEO of non-profit Sustainable Travel International, ot’s an easy way to give back to the environment.

Think about the transport you use at your destination

Holly Tuppen, a travel writer and sustainable travel expert, recommends walking, using a bike or taking public transport whenever you can while you’re away. This way, you’re seeing things the way the locals do, and also cutting your carbon footprint.

Shop and eat local

Buying local produce can help reduce your carbon footprint. “When countries are sourcing locally this reduces long-distance shipping and the environmental impact that comes with that,” Michael Gold, editor of The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Sustainable Tourism Index told HuffPost.

“After all, you’re there to engage with the area, not parachute in and leave.”

Try travelling to your destination by train

Brits live right on the doorstep of continental Europe. Why not explore the it without flying? “Holidaying via train is a great way to cut down on carbon emissions and it doesn’t have to limit your adventures,” Ben Rider, a representative of Friends of the Earth, told HuffPost UK. “Some of Europe’s most beautiful cities such as Paris and Amsterdam can be reached within a few hours by train from London.”

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Book sustainable hotels and excursions

Add sustainable accreditation to your criteria when checking out places to stay.

According to Michael Gold, editor of The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Sustainable Tourism Index, the Global Sustainable Tourism Council is one to look out for, as well as regional accreditation schemes such as Green Tourism in Scotland, TourCert and Viabono in Germany, and Green Globe in LA.

Cut your plastic waste while on the go

An important responsibility of any tourist (wherever you go) is to keep all single-use plastic out of the sea. According to Holly Tuppen, travel writer and sustainable travel expert, the easiest ways to do this are to take a reusable shopping bag and water bottle everywhere and to say no to straws.

Look into travelling off-season

Instead of planning your holiday by weather forecast, plan it by according to how popular your destination is. Go when it’s quiet and the planet will thank you. “Shun the crowds and help destinations have less of an impact on the environment, while providing year-round economic opportunities for local people,” Holly Tuppen, travel writer and sustainable travel expert, told HuffPost.