From the Mayor of New York to even Pope Francis himself, more and more people around the world are working towards cutting down carbon emissions. But beyond carpooling and using energy efficient appliances at home, it’s difficult to know how else to reduce your carbon footprint.
Turns out, travelling smarter is one way to contribute. According to Climate Care, while flying is one of the most efficient ways to travel per kilometres basis, it is responsible for 2% of the world’s carbon emissions.
“The travel industry is taking note of these stats with numerous airlines and hotels working towards being more environmentally friendly,” says Jonathon Palmer, Flight Centre’s Charity and Corporate Social Responsibility Co-ordinator. “But travellers can also play their part in reducing their own carbon footprint. Even the littlest things can make a huge difference.”
Carbon Offset your flight
Did you know one person on a typical flight from London to New York will create 1.53 tonnes of Carbon emissions? To counter act this, many companies now offer the ability to Carbon Offset your flight. “When you book an international flight with Flight Centre, Climate Care can calculate what your carbon footprint is and then offer you the ability to purchase carbon credits to offset the carbon you are using.” says Jonathon. “For all internal staff travel we offset flights with a company called Susterra, which invest in carbon emission reduction projects from around the globe such as a Verified Carbon Standard Wind Farm Project in India.”
Fly Economy (and feel good about it)
It might not be your dream cabin of choice, but economy really is the most environmentally friendly way to fly. In the same way that a crowded public bus is better than one person in a car, a packed out economy cabin is more carbon efficient than a bare Business Class cabin.
Take a more direct route
Don’t be tempted by the cheaper routes with more stopovers. Not only will a direct flight save you time and hassle, it’s also much more fuel efficient.
Take the scenic route by train
A domestic flight may be quicker, but when you’re travelling, what’s the rush really? Some of the best ways to see a destination is from the scenic window of a train. The same also applies to travelling green. When comparing a flight from London to Paris verses the train journey with Eurostar, travelling by train produced 91% less in carbon emissions than the flight. Some countries that are best seen by train include Peru (from Cusco to Machu Picchu), New Zealand (the Tranzapine from Christchurch to Greymouth) and Canada (Rocky Mountaineer from Banff to Vancouver).
When you have to hire a car, hire a Prius
Travel destinations like Europe, USA and Japan are great for seeing purely by train. But not all countries have such infrastructure. In these cases when hiring a car is necessary, opt for an electric car such as a Prius. Not only are they incredibly cheap to run, but they are also much cleaner than gas vehicles. If available, opt for a car with rooftop solar panels for maximum efficiency.
Pack a water bottle
Sightseeing is thirsty business, which is why you don’t want to get caught out without a bottle of water. Instead of simply buying one each day when you’re out and about, we recommend packing a reusable bottle that you can take with you every day. According to ValleyWater.org, plastic water bottles take over 1,000 years to bio-degrade and if incinerated, produce toxic fumes. Instead, save the environment and yourself some money by packing a water bottle in advance.