How To Travel With A Low Carbon Footprint

Ideas and inspiration



Summertime is when we all want to get out, travel and see new places. The pandemic has meant that our world's became much smaller. Whilst frustrating at times, it has meant we appreciated more, what we have on our doorsteps.

And as lockdowns have eased and restrictions have lifted, we've been able to explore further afield. But as scope for travel increases, we've been really conscious about how we can continue to keep our impact on the environment low.

Did you know approximately 8% of the world’s carbon emissions is down to tourism?

How to keep your carbon footprint low on holiday

We all know that the travelling part of any holiday abroad is the bit that has the biggest impact on our climate, according to the 2018 Nature Climate Change report >, 49% of the global tourism carbon footprint is down to transport.

Do you have to fly to your destination?
With so many flights to so many destinations, it’s easy to default to air travel. But if your destination is not too far, it can be fun to explore other modes of transport.

For example, taking the train is a great option if you want to enjoy the journey and socialise with your travel companions. With free movement round the carriages and lots of leg room, seats that face each other for easy conversation, access to buffet cars and on some longer journey’s you can book a sleeper train and get a good night’s rest. From the UK, you can access so many European destinations using the Eurostar.

Don’t be fooled into thinking however that taking a ship or going on a cruise creates less carbon emissions than flying – in many cases it doesn’t and has a greater impact – not least because of the amount of waste generated by travellers, the disturbances they cause to marine life and the fossil fuel emissions they produce.

Keep your luggage as light as possible
This really is a simple and effective thing that we can all do. The heavier the luggage on a flight, the more carbon is emitted. How often do you arrive at your hot destination and end up only using half the items you packed? Think of the planet when you pack, and you can make a difference.

Book direct flights
Non-stop flights use less fuel than stop-start flights. Not just because direct flights tend to be over a shorter distance, but because planes use more fuel when landing and taking off.

Focus on relaxing when you arrive at your destination
If you can reduce the amount of travelling, you do on holiday then you can reduce the impact on the environment too. It’s a bit of a no-brainer but when we’re not at home and out of our usual routine, we somehow feel that our activities don’t count towards our carbon emissions. But of course, they do. So a relaxing holiday, spent mostly in one place will usually be the more environmentally friendly option.

If you do ant to see the sites, then consider using more sustainable forms of transport rather than hiring a car. For example, coach journeys and train journey’s allow you to see the sights without having to concentrate on the road – and they can be very cost effective too.

Choose locally sourced food and drink
Even if you want to stay in a hotel, you can still choose one that offers food and drink from the local area. The carbon emissions involved in growing, picking, packaging, and transporting food and drink is vast. By choosing to the local cuisine over familiar food chains, you are helping to cut a lot of the emissions from that supply chain. Plus, it’s so much more authentic and fun to try new foods!

Don’t buy useless souvenirs
It’s hard to avoid the desire to pick up a new fridge magnet or buy a snow globe – but do you really need it? Will you (or the lucky recipient) really wear the t-shirt or enjoy admiring the mini Eiffel Tower on your mantle piece? Probably not. Instead look for local, hand made items that you will really enjoy using. Ideally things made from locally sourced materials. Don’t choose plastic based souvenirs that can’t even be recycled when you realise it’s going to end up in the bin.

Use a travel company who specialises in sustainable tourism
If the above feels like a lot of hassle and too much effort, then consider using a sustainable travel company to organise everything for you. Just a quick Google will bring up lots of options and they will consider all of the above (plus more!) and help ensure that your trip is relaxing from beginning to end – all the while, being kinder to our precious planet.