Who doesn’t love travel? For those of us fortunate enough, travelling is something we look forward to all year. When done right, it can be fun, relaxing, and full of amazing memories. Not to mention, travelling can give us an unparallel appreciation for the natural beauties we’re trying to protect and a deep understanding of otherwise foreign cultures.
However, unfortunately, travelling also has an ugly side when it comes to the environment. Right off the bat, tourism accounts for 8% of total global greenhouse gas emissions, with the major culprit here being aviation and the immense fuel usage of planes. Not to mention, tourism is often associated with reckless consumption and single-use plastics.
While, from a sustainability and emissions perspective, it would probably be best to just put an end to leisurely travel, that isn’t going to happen, and to be honest, we don’t want it to. However, there are key steps we can all take to revaluate how we travel. In this blog, we’ll be covering our top 3 tips for making your next big adventure as low-impact as possible!
Sometimes, it’s about both the journey AND destination
If you could choose any place for your next vacation, where would it be? If you’re anything like us, the immediate answer to that might be somewhere far and exotic. However, that doesn’t have to be the case, as travelling local can be just as amazing, while significantly reducing the impact from transportation.
People forget there is an incredible amount to see in their own province or country. For example, just here in Canada, we have some of the most amazing sights from British Columbia to Nova Scotia. Despite all this, most Canadians never take the chance to travel local and often opt for international destinations.
The beauty of travelling local is that transportation options with a smaller environmental footprint become available instead of always relying on flying. When it comes to CO2 emissions, the best is always to take a tour bus or train. Otherwise, carpooling is also a better option than aviation – nothing better than an amazing road trip with friends or family!
However, if you absolutely need to get on a plane, then remember these tips:
- Fly Non-stop: direct flights are often the shortest distance to a location and therefore take up less fuel
- Fly Economy: just in case you’re part of the few that can afford business or first class, please don’t do it. These seats typically hold double the carbon footprint than economy, considering the vast amount of space each passenger takes on the flight
Relax – no need to be in a rush!
Often, we treat travelling like the night before an exam and try to cram in as many destinations as possible. This sucks for both us and the environment. To sum it up with one universal rule: it’s about quality, not quantity.
A key part of the travelling experience is getting emerged in a new, foreign culture. Naturally, this is less about trying to hit every single “must-see” destination on the map or hopping between cities every few days and more about taking all the small details of your surroundings. Next time you travel, give yourself a bit more time at each location and take the opportunity to visit the neighbourhood coffee shop, connect with the locals, and just take a bicycle ride around the city to see where the wind takes you! Other than giving yourself a better experience, this way, you’ll also cut down on an immense amount of transportation emissions!
Take a break from life, not from being a careful consumer
We’ve been focusing on the destination, but it’s also essential to consider what lifestyle we practice on the trip. As mentioned, tourism can often bring out the worst kind of consumer in us, as we let loose. In response, we need to always keep sustainability in the back of the mind, especially when we’re a guest to a new environment. That said, here are a few tips that can help minimize your eco-footprint:
- Get ready to avoid single-use items: as we leave the comfort of our homes, travelling becomes full of wasteful single-use items and packaging. To counter this, you need to pack smart with all the regular essential personal items. If you’re looking to stock up, we have an amazing on-the-go lineup at Zero Waste Hero with water bottles, utensil sets, stainless steel straws, and everything else you'll need for a perfect low-impact vacation
- Choose the Right Accommodations: time to hunt for some accommodation! If you’re going for a hotel, make sure you do some research and choose one that’s eco-friendly certified or provides the option to opt-out of single-use items. Even better yet, try out a hostel or homestay for a more adventurous experience, as they often involve less resource-intensive shared amenities.
- Don’t overconsume: this one is simple – you can have a great time on vacation without going overboard on the food, shopping sprees, or souvenirs you’ll never need again!
Just like everything else, travel is evolving. As the world begins to re-normalize post COVID-19, travel is expected to see a resurgence and begin looking very different when it comes to duration, destinations, and much more. As a part of this, we hope that this future of travel also includes a greater emphasis on conscious consumerism and that all of us can play an active role in creating an eco-friendlier vision for the industry.
About Zero Waste Hero
Hey again! Welcome to Zero Waste Hero. If you’re not familiar with us, we’re a Canadian-owned one-stop shop for sustainable and ethically sourced home and beauty products. Our mission is to make the transition to minimal impact living as easy as possible. Naturally, a big part of this involves educating our consumers, so we’ve begun regularly posting blogs aimed at covering the latest news in the world of sustainability, sharing eco-friendly lifestyle ideas, and so much more.
If you enjoyed this read, sign up for the newsletter and keep an eye out, as we’ll continue to regularly release other informative pieces like this. Also, make sure to follow us on social media and visit zerowastehero.ca for a collection of the best eco-friendly products out there!