Countless studies and data prove that travel and going green doesn’t always come together. As we know, a big downside of traveling — no matter if you take the bus or hop into a plane — are carbon emissions. Good news are that, if you’re concerned about the environment and the future of the planet, it’s possible to adjust how you travel to explore the world in a more sustainable way. Figuring out your impact involves examining your own travel habits! A great way to start is asking these questions to help determine where, how, and why you need to make these changes.
Do You Use a Carbon Calculator to Decide How to Travel to Your Destination?
First of all, you have to figure out how much carbon emissions you’re actually producing before you can hone in on the areas you need to change. You can check that information online, making it easy to figure out what your footprint is for a specific trip. If the calculator tells you that it’d be better to drive for that short business trip instead of flying, you can change your travel plans accordingly. These calculators generally just need to know where you’re traveling. By knowing an estimate, you can better assess which mode of transportation will have a reduced footprint!
How Much Do You Pack?
You might not have considered that if you carry a lot of weight with you when traveling can also harm the environment. While for many travelers not flying might not be a option, you can try to pack less to offset your footprint. Lighter packers help cutting on airplanes’ carbon emissions: the lighter the plane is, the less fuel it burns! The same can be said for road trips. Cut back on that extra suitcase and you’ll surely be proud to have done something to lower the environmental impact during your trip!
Do You Fly Non-Stop or Make a Lot of Connections?
Especially if you’re looking for cheap flights, it’s common to find choices filled with with loads of connections. However, connecting flights mean more landings and takeoffs, which in turn means more airplane emissions. According to a 2010 report from NASA, around 25% of airplane emissions come from takeoff and landing. With each connecting flight, you are using more fuel than you would if you just took the non-stop!
How Green Are Your Hotel Stays?
When we search for hotels, most of us just want somewhere clean, safe, and with the amenities we need. However, many travelers neglect to look out for hotels that take steps towards being greener. As you look for eco-friendly property, you’ll want to watch out for perks like key card-activated lights and air conditioning, along with hotels that have water-saving programs in place. In addition to booking hotels with environmental measures in place, you can also monitor how you use hotel resources by not leaving on the lights when you don’t need them or forgoing to have your linens washed daily.
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Have You Ever Used a Carbon Emissions Offset Program?
Sometimes it’s just inevitable: you have to fly or rent that car. When you do, know that many companies have carbon emissions offset programs you can donate to in order to offset your trip. Besides, some airlines allow you to use miles or money to contribute to projects that help reducing greenhouse gases when you buy a ticket. Car rental companies and even Amtrak have similar programs in place so that when you have to travel, you can make that footprint a little bit smaller.
Do You Rent a Car More Than You Use Public Transportation?
You might always rent a car when you travel. It can certainly be the most convenient option when you arrive at a destination to just pick up a vehicle and be on your way. However, if you’re traveling in a city with reliable public transport, using those public transportation options is often your greenest option. Subways, buses, and trams can help reduce your footprint. You can even try rideshares instead of renting your own vehicle to cut back on the emissions you are emitting your destination.
Traveling, especially when scoring cheap flights, is far from green. However, by asking yourself these key questions and making changes accordingly, you can shrink your carbon footprint significantly!