12 Tips to Reduce your Carbon Footprint when Traveling

Last Updated on September 14, 2022 by Dawn Head

Reduce your Carbon Footprint – Many people are increasingly concerned with their personal contribution to carbon emissions and try to live a green lifestyle, but what if you want to travel?

Tips to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint When Traveling

The following 12 tips will help you keep your carbon footprint as low as possible without disrupting your trip. 

1) Fly Smart

Don’t fly, or fly smart. It may be quick and convenient, but flying is one of the worst carbon polluters. So, if you can get to your destination without flying then you should certainly choose this option (especially, domestically).

Car, train, buses, etc., are all less detrimental to the environment in most cases. If there are several of you going by car, try to stick to the least amount of vehicles. If you have to fly because you’re going overseas, consider purchasing a carbon offset if available or donate the equivalent to green programs. 

There are now also eco-friendly flights and at the least, you should fly economy – which has the lowest environmental impact. Furthermore, while it’s more expensive, direct flights have less of an impact than journeys that require stopping at multiple destinations.

2) Use Public Transport

As well as traveling to your destination, you should also consider your modes of transport once you arrive. Subways, trains, trams, buses, and other mass public transport is more efficient than using taxis or single hire cars.

Many cities now also offer rented bicycles and if possible, it doesn’t hurt to walk. If you want to see the sights, joining a tour with group travel is another good way to reduce your individual footprint. This can range from a traditional bus to a group of Segways.

If you do your research before traveling, you might be surprised at the variety of transport options available.

3) Be an Ecotourist

Ecotourism isn’t just being green when traveling, but planning your whole trip around conservation and giving back to the community. Tourist spots of natural beauty can be easily destroyed by excess tourism, so the idea is to have a low impact, a sensitivity to local communities, and to help the conservation effort.

You want to leave the place the same or better off than before you visited. Essentially, ecotourism is tourism with the aim to help, not simply for your own pleasure. If this sounds intriguing to you, there are several websites that have formal ecotourism destinations and programs.

4) Pack for a Purpose

Following on from point two, Pack for a Purpose is a charity that encourages you to bring products and supplies with you that will benefit your travel destination. What’s more, these are tax deductible.

For example, if you want to go to Kenya, their website lists a series of affiliated ‘camps’ and their individual needs. You might be asked to bring chalk, rucksacks, and other school supplies to help local children. While not necessarily directly linked to your carbon footprint, you are helping the local community.

5) Go Off-Season

It’s common to choose your holiday destination based on the weather or how popular it is, but going when it’s quieter (off-season) is better for the planet and the local community. It’s also more peaceful, which is what many people want from a vacation.

By avoiding the crowds you are reducing the impact that large amounts of people can have on the environment while propping up the local economy when there aren’t many tourists. Like a lot of green habits, you’re setting the example for others.

6) Use Eco-Friendly Hotels

One way to lower your carbon footprint and encourage green behaviors is to only use eco-friendly hotels and resorts. Glooby.com is a good hotel comparison site that includes eco options based on criteria from several reputable green groups and charities. Choose from one of the greenest hotels or an LEED hotel

7) Use Common Sense

You can bring most of your green habits with you. Just because you’re abroad doesn’t mean you should stop recycling or using a single water-bottle. You should also seek out local restaurants and eateries that source local produce, instead of big international chains that might ship their produce over vast distances.

The Locavore app points you to local markets and seasonal produce, so you can do your own carbon-reduced cooking as well. There are many eco apps to consider.

8) Don’t Abuse Hotel Resources and Services

Just because you’re at a hotel doesn’t mean you should be lazy with your resource consumption. Turn the lights off, have quick showers, don’t abuse the laundry service, keep the thermostat low, and if you don’t need to, don’t get fresh towels or your room cleaned every day.

Treat it like your own home and you won’t go wrong. Another tip is to leave the soaps and other so-called ‘complimentary’ items behind, so they can be used by another guest.

9) Consider Camping

While camping isn’t always practical, if you can spend even just a few nights of your trip in a tent it will reduce your carbon footprint. You can also opt for minimalist accommodation. Think a self-catered hut by the beach instead of a 5-star hotel on the strip.

10) Limit Your Device Usage

You don’t always need to use your smartphone and other devices, especially when you’re on holiday. Why not read a book on the beach instead of snapping for Instagram or scrolling Facebook?

This will conserve your battery and reduce the energy needed to charge it. One benefit of using your devices is for digital documents and tickets. i.e., having tickets made and delivered to you has more of an impact than having everything on your phone.

11) Say No to Plastic

As well as using a reusable water bottle, also try to reuse your plastic bags. Also, say no to plastic straws with your drinks and cocktails. If you’re concerned about water quality and want to buy bottled water, instead bring a water filter with you or use a ‘Life Straw.’

12) Don’t Consume Energy in your Absence

You can also reduce your carbon footprint while traveling by leaving your home in an efficient state. Unplug all electronic devices, turn off the thermostat, and lower the temperature or turn off the hot water tank. There’s no need to waste energy when you aren’t even there.

Your bank balance will also thank you in the long run.

There are many eco-friendly things you can do when you are traveling. By following the above tips you can still travel the planet, but without significantly contributing to its downfall. Do you travel green? Let us know your own tips for reducing your carbon footprint in the comments below!

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