When it comes to sustainable travel, there is no right or wrong way to do it. Travel for pleasure, by definition, is unsustainable. But does that mean we should stop doing it? Of course, not.
Travel makes us more compassionate towards others, helps us better understand and appreciate other cultures and pushes us out of our comfort zone, resulting in us becoming better humans and building a more empathetic society. So, of course, we won’t — and shouldn’t — stop travelling.
With that said, though, there are some things we can do to lessen our carbon footprint when we fly. Because when it comes to travel, of all the components of it, flying has the most negative impact on the planet — by far. So, what are some ways to reduce your emissions when you fly?
Ahead are a few ideas. From considering travelling by train instead of plane, to packing light and taking direct flights, if you’re looking to be more sustainable when you travel this year, these are some good places to start.
Consider Taking a Train
There are plenty of perks to travelling by train, as opposed to plane, aside from the fact it uses far less fuel and therefore adds less harmful carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Train travel can often be cheaper than flying. It takes you right into the heart of the city, saving you time and money getting to and from the airport. And it lets you see the scenery at eye level along the way.
Plan Travel Carefully
Next up is to plan your travel carefully and to be strategic about it, minimising the amount of flying time and choosing direct flights when possible. If you can, also try to avoid flying to nearby destinations and check if there are buses and trains you might be able to take there instead.
The heavier your luggage, the more fuel it takes to transport it. So, where you can, try to pack light. The added bonus of this is that you won’t have to lug around a bulky, heavy suitcase.
Offset Your Emissions
Many airlines these days give you the chance to offset your emissions. This means compensating for what you are emitting, thereby decreasing net emissions. In the case of airlines, this means paying a few extra dollars to carbon offset projects.
It’s worth noting that paying to offset your emissions doesn’t actually stop carbon dioxide being produced from your flight. Carbon offsetting does help, but the actions, like planting trees, don’t entirely cancel out how much carbon dioxide is being added to the atmosphere from your flight.
Choose Efficient Transportation When Exploring
Once you’ve arrived at your destination, continue to consider your impact on the environment by choosing an efficient mode of transportation. Think about using public transportation or a hop-on-hop-off bus tour, rather than renting a car or getting taxis or Uber. You can often get a much better feel of an area by using the same mode of transport locals use.