I haven’t travelled a lot since my decision to become more sustainable last year (thank you – pandemic) but I do try to keep sustainability in mind while planning my travel. Is it possible to be 100% sustainable while travelling? Maybe in some parts of the world like Iceland – but definitely not possible if you plan to fly anywhere. Taking a long flight adds so much to your carbon footprint that undoing it will take a while. So here are some easy ways to be ‘MORE’ sustainable while travelling –
- Take the train when possible – Train travel is the least polluting mode of long distance transport. Taking a flight or driving alone are the most carbon-intensive options.
- Avoid disposables in the hotel – Carry your own toiletries, room slippers, reusable water bottle – instead of using the disposable ones provided by the hotel. Even if the hotel provides a bamboo toothbrush and you use it for the duration of your stay and dispose it – you are still wasting a product which could have had a longer life. If you absolutely must use the disposable products, bring them home with you to ensure you get the entire use out of them before disposing.
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- Walk around instead of taking transportation – This is the best way to be sustainable and actually see the place properly. It is also a great way to find undiscovered places and eateries. Try to plan your day in such a way so as to cover 4-5 nearby places together and to walk to the places. If you have to – take the metro/local train instead of a cab to save on your carbon footprint and money.
- Carry a metal bottle and a shopping bag – I know carrying a whole bottle seems like a lot of effort – I prefer to carry a 750ml bottle that I keep getting refilled through the day. Carrying a shopping bag for all your gift and grocery shopping.
- Avoid Food Wastage – we’ve all been there and done that, ordered a lot of food on vacation and ended up wasting it or not enjoying the flavours. The free buffet breakfast is another point of immense food wastage. Reducing food wastage is an easy way to be more sustainable.
- Avoid Electricity Wastage – We all end up leaving extra lights on in our hotel room or the bathroom lights running all night or leave the AC running even when the weather is pleasant. Try to be more conscious of your consumption and wastage.
- Shop Local – Shopping for locally made products reduces the carbon footprint of the product related to transportation of the product.
- Plant a tree after coming back – I know it doesn’t sound like a lot but planting a tree or a few plants after coming back from a trip will help offset some of your travel carbon footprint. It will also be around for long and help future generations as well. If you can’t plant a tree or plant yourself – donate to an organization that will do it for you. Give Me Trees is one such organization in India.
How do you try to be more sustainable while travelling?
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I like the planting a tree idea! It’s simple, doesn’t cost a lot, and it’s planning a head for the future.
Me too! Such a low effort way to offset some carbon footprint. 🙂