How to travel in an eco-friendly manner

Posted on July 13, 2012 by Guest Writer
Train in Sri Lanka

A decade ago, when planning a holiday eco-concerns would have been the last thing on your mind, but with the advent of green travel, it’s likely that you’re looking for ways to lower your carbon footprint. There are plenty of little steps holidaymakers can take to travel more responsibly, as well as bigger gestures that could even end up improving your holiday experience.

Swap gas-guzzling planes for scenic train routes

If you are booking a holiday, it is likely that you will head straight to the flight booking page, without even considering any alternative transport. However, swapping traditional planes for buses and trains will lower your carbon footprint substantially, so you can travel guilt-free.

Travelling by train is not only more environmentally friendly, it is often cheaper, and is also a more relaxed way to travel, meaning travellers can bypass the stress of airports. Around 130 cities in Britain are now linked via the Eurostar network, meaning that if it’s the continent you’re heading to, there’s really no excuse not to simply hop on a train.

What’s more, it could even enhance your travelling experience. If you are going on a long-haul trip, it may be that getting there and back over sea and land may simply take too long. However, stay away from internal flights and instead hop on a train or a bus to see more of your destination country. This will give you a more local feel of your host nation and ensure that you go home with plenty of stories to tell, as well as allowing you to watch picturesque towns, villages and nature whizz by as you journey from A to B. In this way, the train journey can become part of the holiday experience, rather than the inconvenience that a flight can be.

Pack light

If you do have to take a plane, you can still do your bit for the environment by packing light. Taking just a bag in the hold, or staying well under the maximum weight could win you some green points as in the air, every kilo counts.

Make yourself at home

One great rule of thumb when staying in hotels is to live in your accommodation how you would at home. So re-use towels, take short showers, don’t get the room cleaned every day and stay away from those tempting mini cosmetics. It seems obvious, but make sure you turn off the TV, lights and air conditioning when you leave the room – this is so much easier to forget in a hotel room than in your own house.

Go native

When you’re in a foreign country, you’ll want to immerse yourself in the culture, eating at authentic rustic restaurants and buying local produce. This is not only good for the soul, but is also a big part of ethical travel. Not only will you get the most unique dining experiences and gifts by going native, you will be contributing to the local economy. Believe it or not, this is also an eco-friendly measure as mass-produced souvenirs are shipped internationally from industrial nations.

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