Travel is a major contributor to global carbon emissions, but there are ways you can reduce your impact while traveling.
One of the most significant is selecting a flight with a low carbon footprint. That way, you can enjoy an eco-friendly holiday without compromising comfort.
Why Low-Carbon Travel Matters
Traveling is an incredible way to discover new places, whether it’s trekking the Amazon rainforest, driving dune buggies in the Sahara desert or whale-watching off the Pacific Ocean. Unfortunately, it also puts a tremendous strain on our planet.
Flying accounts for around 3% of global carbon emissions. To reduce this amount, it’s wise to search out airlines with sustainable practices when planning your next journey.
You can check with German non-profit Atmosfair to determine which airlines produce the least emissions on your route. Some have taken extra steps, such as KLM which is using biofuels on some flights.
Your choice of seat can make a significant impact on CO2 emissions. Opting for economy class instead of business class will save you tons of gas!
Another tip is to avoid flights that take you far away from your destination. It’s better to stay close by and utilize train connections, if available.
For instance, if you’re traveling to Amsterdam, take the train from the airport and then continue your journey onward to London or Paris within four hours. Not only will this reduce your carbon emissions but it will be an incredible journey too!
Though these tips may not be enough to stop you from flying, it’s worth making an effort to reduce your overall impact on the environment. If you’re really concerned about this aspect of flying, consider booking through an airline that provides carbon compensation services; this offsets emissions and supports projects which reduce carbon elsewhere in the world, making sure your flight is as sustainable as possible.
Look for Airlines with Sustainable Practices
Eco-friendly travel is becoming more and more popular as people become more conscious of the impact that their trips can have on the environment. Researching a destination, packing lightly and opting for greener transportation are all important steps in reducing your carbon footprint while traveling.
Air travel produces a lot of CO2 emissions, so it’s essential to find an airline that follows sustainable practices and offers low-carbon flights. For instance, airlines using the latest airplane models tend to produce fewer emissions than older models do.
Another option is to look for a non-stop flight that minimizes the number of legs it takes to get you from one place to the next. A non-stop flight from Los Angeles to the Philippines, for instance, only covers 7,292 miles – far more fuel efficient than one that includes an extended layover in Taiwan that adds 300 extra miles and 163 pounds of CO2.
Many airlines provide carbon offsets, a way for travelers to reduce the environmental impact of their flights by investing in credits in projects that reduce CO2 emissions elsewhere. Costs for these programs range from $10 per ton of emissions emitted up to $20.
In addition to carbon offsets, airlines can reduce their environmental impact by using biofuels sourced from plant-based sources or alternative sources. Doing so would help them reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to the decarbonization of aviation as a whole.
Alaska Airlines is an example of great transparency when it comes to their CO2 emissions and other environmental practices. They have taken steps such as going strawless, composting grounds from coffee served on board, and working towards powering all their flights with sustainable biofuels by 2021 – all while remaining profitable for shareholders.
Choose Non-Stop Flights
Non-stop flights can be an attractive option for those needing to reach their destination quickly or with a set schedule. However, they tend to be more costly than connecting flights – particularly long haul ones.
A recent study has demonstrated that choosing the least-emitting itinerary on a popular route can reduce your carbon footprint by up to 63%. This is significant, as commercial air travel accounts for an enormous portion of climate-warming carbon dioxide emissions.
Non-stop flights offer another advantage, as they can get you to your destination faster and more conveniently. This is particularly useful for business travelers with tight schedules who are willing to fork out extra money for extra time.
Eco-friendly airlines are increasingly offering non-stop flights to destinations around the world. Some of these carriers even provide carbon offsets in an effort to help their passengers reduce their environmental footprint and minimize their effect on the planet.
One of the best ways to find non-stop flights is through an online flight search tool that will highlight those that produce fewer carbon emissions than others. Google recently announced that they will label flights with a lower carbon footprint, placing them on par with other green options on its platform.
These features are an effective way to motivate consumers to opt for low-carbon options and put pressure on airlines to enhance their fuel efficiency. Furthermore, they make it simpler for companies and institutions to develop strategies to reduce their own air travel emissions.
Travelers concerned with the environmental consequences of their trip can offset some of their flight emissions by paying an extra fee to a carbon-offsetting scheme. Unfortunately, many of these programs can be complex and confusing to comprehend, so do your due diligence before agreeing to any.
Consider Alternative Transportation Options
When planning a low-carbon travel itinerary, whether for work or pleasure, there are various options to consider. You can take public transport instead of driving; drive less with shared transportation; or try walking or cycling instead of using public transportation.
Depending on where you’re traveling and how far away, alternative transportation may be the most practical choice for your journey. These methods are usually less expensive than flying, require minimal upkeep, and save you money on gas expenses.
Milena Buchs, an expert in sustainability and low carbon transitions at the University of Leeds, suggests taking a train or coach as your most eco-friendly option. “Trains tend to have lower carbon footprints than flying or cars,” she states.
Furthermore, you’ll have more time to get where you need to go than if you had to wait for a bus or take a taxi. And if you’re travelling as part of a group, sharing a ride can be even greener than driving alone.
If you are visiting a coastal region, taking a cruise or even taking a river shuttle could be ideal. These are similar to water buses in that they leave from the shore of one city to reach another destination along the water’s edge – giving you plenty of chances to observe your environment as you travel.
Traveling eco-friendly is essential to avoid adding greenhouse gases to our already overheated planet. By minimizing your impact, you are helping protect the Earth for future generations while enjoying the journey and places visited in a more sustainable manner.
Opt for Eco-Friendly Accommodations
Selecting low-carbon accommodation is an effective way to reduce your travel carbon footprint. Many hotels, resorts and lodges are working towards reducing their impact on the environment and using resources in a sustainable manner.
Hotels and other lodging facilities around the world are recognized for their efforts to conserve energy, reduce waste, and utilize renewable sources of electricity, water, and other resources. Notable organizations include EarthCheck, Green Key and Green Globe.
EarthCheck, a nonprofit organization in the United States, provides an online directory of eco-certified hotels, resorts and other lodging facilities. Additionally, it publishes reports about sustainable practices across the travel industry.
Some ways a hotel or other lodging facility can go green include installing energy efficient fixtures and appliances, using renewable energies, automating temperature control, sourcing products locally and buying carbon offsets. By taking time to research an accommodation that prioritizes environmental sustainability, you’ll contribute towards driving businesses toward more eco-friendly practices while creating a cleaner and healthier environment for guests.
A hotel committed to sustainability strives to have a low carbon footprint while still offering guests an enjoyable stay. Furthermore, they support local communities and promote environmentally responsible practices like recycling waste materials and minimizing single-use plastics.
If you’re searching for a greener way to travel than flying, train or coach is often your best bet. Not only is this form of transport generally the lowest carbon option, but it’s easier to share with other passengers as well.
If your business requires frequent travel, ask your employees to fly economy class instead of first or business class – which produces twice as much carbon emissions per passenger. Furthermore, ask customers to book tickets with airlines that allow them to offset their carbon emissions. By purchasing carbon offsets, you can help fund projects that reduce emissions and enhance quality of life in countries where you will be landing.
Low-carbon travel is possible
As travelers, we have the power to make choices that support a more sustainable future for the planet. By choosing low-carbon airfare and eco-friendly accommodations, we can help to reduce our carbon footprint and minimize the impact of our travel on the environment. From flying with airlines that prioritize sustainability to selecting hotels and resorts with green certifications, there are many ways to make sustainable choices when planning your trip.
By following the tips in this article, you can make conscious decisions about your travel practices and help to promote sustainable tourism. Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, taking steps to reduce your carbon footprint can make a big impact in the fight against climate change. So next time you’re planning a trip, consider these tips for finding low-carbon airfare and eco-friendly accommodations, and do your part to create a more sustainable future for all.