5 Tips for Eco-Friendly Travelling this Summer
Take a reusable water bottle and shopping bag with you.
I’ll hold my hands up and admit that I am not the best at remembering to bring my own bags to use whilst shopping. It’s a difficult habit to get into and I’m sure many of you now experience the same guilt as I do when a cashier asks ‘do you need a bag?’ and you have to sheepishly answer that yes, you do. As for buying plastic water bottles, it’s not just the environment we’re affecting but also our own bank balance! A bottle of water from a shop can sometimes cost over £1 - just think how much money you could potentially be saving by buying a reusable bottle. Whilst many of us are occasionally forgetful when it comes to the above, remember that awareness is the key to change; the mere fact that we are now thinking about trying to reduce our plastic waste is actually a big step forward. Not only can we protect our planet by reducing how much plastic we use, but also what a perfect excuse to buy ourselves a nice new reusable bag and water bottle?
Minimise the amount of travelling between destinations, enjoy slow travelling and staying in one location.
Planning a new adventure is incredibly exciting, especially when there are a number of different places you’d like to visit. To minimise your impact on the environment, spend time deciding the route that requires the least amount of travelling. Alternatively, why not visit fewer destinations to give you more time to really take in your surroundings? Make your experiences more about quality rather than quantity; you never know what you could be missing. I think it’s safe to say that when travelling to multiple destinations, we usually want to get there as quickly as possible. This means that whilst exploring a new country we can be tempted to book a flight to minimise travel time. As much as it might not seem like it, taking a slower option can actually be an adventure in itself! Rather than jumping on the next available flight, you could look into a more sustainable option such as a night train (for longer journeys) a slow boat or a bus. These different ways of travelling often offer a much richer and more scenic experience than flying and are much more environmentally-friendly. Understandably it may not always be practical or even possible to take a slower travel option, which leads me to my next point: offsetting carbon emissions. This is a great way to give back to the planet if you haven’t been able to avoid that flight. Visit myclimate.org and you can actually donate the equivalent of the emissions on your journey to an environmental charity.
Walk, cycle or take local transport to your destination.
There are so many benefits to all of the above, but particularly walking or cycling between destinations; fresh air, better scenery, no carbon emissions and dare I say it, exercise! If you’re anything like me, the thought of having to spend a summer’s afternoon stuck inside the gym to work on your beach bod doesn’t exactly scream motivation. The solution? Get outside! Rather than driving somewhere, use those legs of yours. Not only will you be saving the environment from all those nasty fumes, but you will also be bettering your own physical and mental health. If you have awarded yourself a well-deserved lazy day, then that’s totally fine too! Hop on the bus or the train - although unlike walking or cycling this won’t completely eliminate your carbon footprint that day, travelling via public transport will make it drastically smaller.
Pack light; the heavier the plane, the more carbon emissions it produces.
A lot of us can sometimes, how can I put it, slightly ‘overdo’ it when it comes to packing. I don’t think I’ve ever been on holiday and worn more than 4 of the 25 outfits I’ve packed in my suitcase. As much as I make a joke of it, this is a really simple way of making your travelling more eco-friendly. Rather than packing an outfit for each day, you could bring outfits that you can mix and match - this will show off your creativity as well as your conscientiousness! Packing only the essentials can also save you money. Everyone who has travelled via aeroplane will have experienced that feeling of suspense when you place your suitcase on the conveyor belt and pray that you haven’t exceeded the weight limit. By packing lightly you can avoid this fear altogether and also take comfort in the fact that the 10 pairs of shoes you considered packing are safely at home and not producing carbon emissions. Likewise, if you are driving to your destination, the lighter you pack the more fuel efficient your car will be.
Eat local produce that hasn’t travelled far to get to your plate.
Fresh is best! Eating local produce will benefit both the environment and your own health, and it will most likely taste a lot nicer. If you are somewhere exotic then this way of eating will also help you immerse yourself in a different culture. The same principle can also be applied at home - perhaps take a visit to a local farm rather than to your nearest superstore. By doing this you can really help prevent global warming; food grown close to home requires less fossil fuels to transport and therefore generates less greenhouse gas. Remember that it is you that should be going on holiday, not your food!