Traveling enables us to grow and see the world from different perspectives. It encourages everyone to get out of their comfort zones, to explore beautiful places, and to experience different cultures. However, there are certain costs associated with the beauty of traveling, which each traveler should bear in mind. Traveling is not only financially burdening in terms of money, time, and effort, but also environmentally degrading. The financial costs of traveling are very well-known, while the environmental effects are continuously raising alarms especially with conscious travellers. According to Carbon Brief, tourism that includes traveling, contributes 8% of the greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. Therefore, it would be wise if we can travel sustainably in order to reduce the negative consequences of traveling on the environment, and ultimately to preserve the beauty of places for future generations.
Here are 10 top ways to travel sustainably:
1. Use car travel for families or carpooling for travelers.
When going on holidays, the use of single car for families is economical and fuel efficient, and therefore less polluting in the air. The same works for carpooling. Maximize the number of passengers allowed to ride in a car to reduce waste in terms of space, fuel costs, and fuel emission per person.
2. Travel sustainably by using trains and buses.
Land transportation such as trains and buses, are shown to be much more sustainable in terms of CO2emissions, energy consumption, space usage, and noise levels (Alstom, Wanderu). For instance, buses and trains only emit 0.17 and 0.41 pounds (lbs) per passenger per mile of CO2 emissions respectively, while the planes emit 1.83 lbs per passenger per mile. Moreover, most of the trains (especially in the case of European Union) are powered by green energy and bio gasses. Thus, travellers are ensured that using trains and buses contribute less negative impact on the environment. Aside from this sustainable advantage, trains are faster than cars, more comfortable since there is no need for travellers to drive and they can avail of some train services, and less risky than a passenger car.
3. Traveling lightly means traveling sustainably.
If you are using a plane, fuel consumption is linearly correlated with the weight you bring. The heavier the plane, the more is the resistance in the air and therefore the more fuel is needed to fly.
4. Compensate fuel consumption.
There are ways for individual traveler to offset their carbon footprints, such as donating air miles to environmental causes or projects like reforestation and ecological and biodiversity restorations, investing in solar panels, and even reducing meat consumption.
5. Tour the area by foot or by bike.
Walking and cycling is not only good for the environment, but also for your pocket and your health! Moreover, you can take more time enjoying the views and hitting back on the road at your convenience.
6. Making less travel with longer stays is more sustainable than traveling often with short stays.
Rather than making multiple short holidays in a year, take one or two long holidays to not only save money but also to lower your mileage. Although not travelling at all is the most sustainable, travelling is one of the most enriching experience to do in life. So do not miss it!
7. Travel sustainably by taking shorter travel routes.
The shorter the travel distance, the less carbon foot prints are emitted in the air. If traveling by plane, direct flights have less travel distance than flights with many transfers, though this could be an expensive alternative. Moreover, choosing nearby holiday destination, for example exploring your own country, is still a great alternative and will ensure reduce your carbon footprints. For instance, enjoying a beach in the Philippines, which is 10,000 kilometres from the Netherlands (photo left) and enjoying a beach in the South of the Netherlands, which is 100 kilometres from our city (photo right) are both equally enjoyable experience during summer.
8. Save resources in your accommodation.
Reduce waste when staying in the hotel or apartments by avoiding changing towels or bed linens everyday, turning off lights and televisions when necessary, limiting the use of air conditions, and not wasting water through less shower time and not leaving the water sink on while brushing.
9. Eat and/or buy local products.
If you go on a certain place, it is best to buy locally made instead of imported produce or goods that were transported from a far distance. Travellers are not only supporting local incomes, but also have the chance to expand their cultural experience by tasting and patronising local foods and cultures.
10. Observe proper waste disposal and recycling.
Place your waste in proper bins, for example papers, organic, plastic or metal wastes. Avoid buying too much water bottles and if possible bring your own water bottler to reduce plastic garbage.