7 min read
by Elena Foradori, Business Development
Published August 18, 2022
| SUSTAINABLE | LUGGAGE-STORAGE | TRANSPORTATION | ACCOMMODATION |
Who doesn’t like to travel? Everyone enjoys the occasional vacation to get away from the stress and monotony of everyday life, but what you might not be aware of is that travelling is not always such a harmless activity, especially for our planet. According to estimates, tourism is responsible for a significant amount of pollution, the decline of natural habitats and 8% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. So, how can you be a more responsible tourist? Here are some easy tips and tricks to help you travel more sustainably and with a lower carbon footprint.
Pollution starts even before you lock your front door! In fact, when it comes to travelling, it is extremely important to also think about what you are leaving behind, like the food in your refrigerator or all your electronics. So, remember to unplug your electronics and to give away the food that is about to expire to prevent unnecessary waste.
When it comes to packing remember: do NOT buy the so-called ‘vacation clothes’. Always buy clothes that you are sure you are going to wear on a daily basis. Don’t just think about how good that new hat will look on your Instagram post in front of the Sagrada Familia!
Moreover, you probably already have your go-to reusable items. Don’t leave them home alone! When you travel, you can continue your good habits. You can save money by doing this and avoid having to buy plastic water bottles. So, remember to pack your refillable water bottle, your reusable coffee cups, food storage containers, shopping bag and reusable straws.
Another important must-have is sunscreen! Whether you're going on an adventure in the city or out in nature, always remember to pack sunscreen. However, avoid buying 'normal' sunscreen because it contains UV-blocking chemicals that can cause coral bleaching. Go and purchase a reef-safe one to help protect all ocean life.
Out of the total amount of emissions produced while travelling, it is estimated that almost 50% is due to travel to the destination. So, this is where you should work on lowering your carbon footprint!
First tip: try to avoid taking the plane. Always prefer the train or other less polluting means of transport. If the plane is the only possible option, try to book a direct flight - they might be more expensive but a large part of emissions comes from take-off and landing, so a non-stop flight is a much more sustainable option.
The second tip: have a digital ticket! I know that younger generations have never printed a ticket in their life, so, here we're talking more to our senior audience. Don’t be a boomer, have your ticket on your smartphone! It will make you look cool and you will also avoid unnecessary paper waste.
Last tip: once you arrive at your destination, try to avoid using a car or taking a taxi to move around. Always prefer public transport, bikes or walking so you can experience the city firsthand.
One trick is to try to plan your movement beforehand. You can create an itinerary that is efficient and that optimises the route, so you can save time and reduce your emissions.
If, for example, you still have some hours to wander around the city after your check-out, you can organise to drop your luggage in a storage unit in a strategic place, or you can use LUGGit. We will pick up your luggage anywhere and we will deliver it back to you at the time and place of your choice. In this way, you don’t have to worry about going back to one specific place and avoid using more means of transport than necessary.
When it comes to accommodation, there are some very simple steps that one can follow to make the stay more sustainable.
First of all, you can try and book green hotels. They are hotels that have sustainability as the main mission!
Also, try to avoid an all-inclusive package. We know it’s always nice to go on vacation and have everything ready and paid for, but an all-inclusive package comes with a lot of waste.
If you are staying in a hotel, here is some advice for your stay:
If there is an everyday cleaning policy, you can ask them to not do that by leaving the ‘Do Not Disturb’ hanger on your door. Who needs to have the room cleaned every day?
Also, if they provide the room with reusable mini items, take them home with you, because they are going to be thrown away anyhow. For those who were already doing it, now you have a very good excuse to keep ‘stealing’. Also, when you leave the room, always turn off the AC and the lights!
Once you have reached your final destination, it’s important to respect the country you are visiting. Apply the same care you have for your home and your city also to this new area. Don’t litter and always go for reusable items!
When you have to decide where to eat, it’s best if you go to a local restaurant. Consuming local food is an effective way to reduce shipping and transport emissions and, in this way, you will be supporting local businesses. So, try to avoid big chains! Why would you even want a hamburger that you can find near your house?
For the same reason, when you are deciding which souvenir to bring home, try to buy conscious souvenirs. Go for something vintage or local.
When choosing what to visit, one thing you can do is boycott animal tourism. Don’t visit cruel animal attractions. Instead, visit parks and protected areas. It’s important to preserve nature.
But, most importantly: before going anywhere, do some research on their customs and culture. It’s important to respect everyone’s way of living.
However, even if you implement every tip to make your trip sustainable, you will at some point pollute. So, how can you eliminate those unavoidable emissions? You can balance them out by purchasing verified carbon offsets.
In simple words, carbon offset is an investment in a climate change medicating project.
After your trip, you can use a calculator to measure your emissions and you can purchase carbon offsets to fund any activity that compensates for the emission of greenhouse gases.
In this way, you will neutralise your remaining emission by funding projects to plant trees to implement sources of renewable energy, for example, and so on.
All these tips may seem like a burden, but reducing your carbon footprint doesn’t need to go at the expense of enjoying your travels. These rules will become part of your travel book once you understand how much, even a small change, can reduce your emissions. Also, it can encourage you to try new things: new activities, discover new places and taste different and local food, all while reducing the negative impact on the planet.
And while you are travelling and experiencing the many beauties of our planet…never forget that reducing our carbon emissions is the only way to preserve all those wonderful and unique places you want to visit. By doing so, you will help ensure that future generations can do the same!