A recent report by The Guardian newspaper found that “Taking a long-haul flight generates more carbon emissions than the average person in dozens of countries around the world produces in a whole year.” Air passengers are expected to fly a total of five trillion miles this year, an increase of five percent from last year and more than 300 percent since 1990. On average, 10,000 flights take off from airports across the globe. Interestingly, a study by The World Bank found that travelling in first class can increase a trip’s carbon footprint five times as much than flying in economy class.
As air travel becomes easier, the impact of travelling via airplane cannot be denied. Until eco-friendly, hybrid airplanes exist, there are ways that you can reduce your environmental footprint when you are travelling.
Pack a reusable water bottle.
This is an essential thing to bring with you to reduce your plastic consumption. If you are travelling to areas that do not have safe drinking water, you may wish to purchase a water bottle that comes with a filter or water purification tablets.
Recycle when possible
Many countries that you visit will have recycling facilities but they may have slightly different rules to the US. If you are staying in an Airbnb, make sure to ask the host about how best to recycle and reduce the impact of your stay.
Eat local food
Travelling abroad is all about trying new experiences, food is pivotal to that. If you eat local food, you are supporting small businesses and – most likely – the ingredients are from that area. This reduces the carbon footprint of your meal, as it hasn’t travelled too far from the restaurant you are eating.
Offset your carbon footprint
When booking air travel, you can donate money to charities that will offset your carbon emission for that trip (often this is just a few dollars). Alternatively, to offset your personal carbon footprint, why not plant a few trees in your backyard when you get back?
Bring your own products
Hotels often still provide guests with miniature shampoos and conditioners, which have to be thrown away. If you pack your own products, it significantly cuts down on waste. You can buy refillable, travel-sized bottles at most grocery stores or pharmacies, which will last you for many trips.