9 Ways To Be An Earth-Conscious Traveller
Reading Time: 6 mins
What comes to your mind when the topic of earth-conscious travelling pops up?
What you will soon find out is that being an earth-conscious traveller is simply about being environmentally conscious, even with the little things. Basically, the concept or idea of being an earth-conscious traveller is to leave nothing but your footprints wherever you go.
The growing trend of stakeholders implementing eco-friendly practices in their businesses, depicts the seriousness of this topic within the travel industry. You may have noticed hotels installed with solar panels and water recycling systems, as well as electric bulbs turning off automatically when you leave the room.
These energy saving measures are welcomed developments in a bid to decrease energy consumption and conserve the earth’s natural resources as well as to protect ecosystems from destruction. So, how can you play your part and be an earth-conscious traveller?
Let’s look at nine ways you can achieve this.
Ways to Be An Earth-Conscious Traveller
1. Unplug your home
It’s counterintuitive to be interested in keeping the earth green while travelling, if you don’t begin at home. Before leaving for any trip, the first thing you should do is unplug all your home appliances and ensure your home isn’t draining energy while you are away.
Not only does this save money on your utility bill, but it also helps conserve electricity. It’s a win-win situation. So, don’t leave your home untill you are sure it’s contributing to a happy and healthier ecosystem.
2. Pack what you need
Whichever way you choose to travel, the amount and weight of the luggage you bring along indirectly contributes to the health of the environment. For instance, if you travel by air; the heavier your luggage – the heavier the aircraft, which means more fuel consumption. Of course, this leads to more carbon dioxide (CO2) emission that in turn contributes to global warming.
3. Travel by train
If possible, opt to travel by train. The benefits far outshine the demerits. According to a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), train travel is by far the lowest carbon-emitting and most efficient mode of transportation. So, if you want to be an earth-conscious traveller, one of the best travel modes to adopt is by rail.
Eurostar, a railway company based in London, commissioned an independent research to evaluate the CO2 emission rate per passenger produced by a London-Paris Eurostar journey versus that emitted by a passenger on a London-Paris flight. The research considered the Eurostar passenger loadings, Eurostar power consumption, the way Eurostar’s electricity is generated, aircraft loadings, aircraft fuel consumption, etc. The conclusion was that taking the train to Paris instead of travelling by airplane cuts CO2 emissions per passenger by an astonishing 90%. Yes, train travel certainly has the upper hand when it comes to environmental benefits.
4. Use a reusable water bottle
Nowadays, it is almost impossible not to see a plastic bottles littered on the ground, or floating in the water at the beach. Sadly, this not only pollutes our shores but it becomes a health hazard for marine life and generally degrades the earth.
To be an earth-conscious traveller, bring a reusable water bottle along, the next time you travel. That way, you can stay hydrated, and also add to your contribution in keeping the earth clean.
According to reports by the Plastic Soup Foundation – an organisation that solely focuses on the effects of plastic consumption globally – it highlights that that up to 1 million plastic bottles are used worldwide every minute of the day. With this alarming number, it’s important that you bring along your refillable water bottle on your next trip.
5. Treat hotels like home or opt for home sharing services
It has become a regular practice for many to use resources excessively when they are away from home. Some use the towels only once when they stay in hotels, others spend more time in the shower just because they can, and then there are those that intentionally leave the faucet on while brushing their teeth. Worst of all, is when the lights and airconditioner are left switched on when they leave the room.
All of this significantly contributes to energy wastage and certainly does not portray the actions of an earth-conscious traveller.
If you stay in a hotel while travelling, use the resources as you would use them at home. Make sure you switch off the room lights if you’re not there, don’t waste water in the shower, and don’t put the towel for wash each time you use it.
Another way to be a good earth-conscious traveller, is to opt for home-sharing services like Airbnb. A 2018 survey by Airbnb using the Cleantech Group model, discovered that guests staying at Airbnb use significantly lesser energy and water, emit fewer greenhouse gases, and use lesser waste. By staying in Airbnb listings than hotels, in 2017, Airbnb guests in Europe achieved energy savings equal to that of 826,000 homes, plus reduced water usage equal to 13,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Airbnb guest stays in North America led to lower greenhouse gas emissions, which is equal to that of over 354,000 cars and waste reduction of 64,000 tons.
Most Airbnb stays support sustainable travelling so it shouldn’t be difficult to find one that will provide a eco-minded traveller like you with the right options.
But, if you prefer traditional hotels or a home-share service is not available, then look for a hotel with labels such as LEED (an internationally recognized green building certification), Green Leaders, TripAdvisor, or Energy Star. That way, you can be sure that the hotel has implemented strategies towards meeting eco-friendly standards.
6. Eat and shop local
Eating and shopping locally when you are away from home, helps cut down on shipment miles, and ultimately reduces the environmental impact of your food. Local food doesn’t create large carbon footprints through overseas plane travel or long truck trips. So, this helps cut down on fuel consumption and air pollution.
As an earth-conscious traveller, this is probably one of the easiest ways to reduce your carbon footprint.
7. Use public transportation or walk whenever possible
Where is the fun in travelling, especially during a holiday, if you don’t take public transportation or a scenic walk around town? It’s understandable that you may not always want to take the bus or train, but choose to use public transport or mass transit whenever possible. It’s a greener, more eco-friendly option, as it reduces the amount of fuel per passenger compared to private cars.
What’s even better? Travel around by foot if the weather permits. One of the best ways to soak in the sights and experience the land is by walking. This is not only good for the earth but great for your health too.
8. Have a sip of the neighbourhood pint
Simply put, drink the beer that is made locally in the town or city you have travelled to. This is actually a good way to be an eco-conscious traveller while also contributing to the profit of the breweries and local economy. So, go ahead and enjoy that chilled pint while doing the planet a favour.
9. Take non-stop flights
Finally, choose flights with no layovers when you’re travelling long distance. The takeoff and landing of an airplane results in more fuel consumption and carbon emission, which creates a significant impact on the environment. So, by opting for a direct flight, you’re already helping reduce the pollution.
Travelling is one of the best ways to seek adventure and everyone should travel every now and then to take a break. However, what is the essence of travelling if it inevitably hurts the planet more? Being an earth-conscious traveller does not require you to do anything extremely complex. Keep to the suggestions we’ve given and start contributing towards a healthy earth.
One other crucial thing to remember is to buy good travel insurance which will help you financially cover multiple travel risks like lost baggage or delayed flights for a care-free, earth-conscious holiday!