It’s Earth Day this week, which is always a reminder to re-commit to being more gentle towards our planet. I am more or less vegan, I don’t drive a car, and avoid single-use plastic as much as possible, but sadly, this all goes out the window as soon as I take one three-hour flight. That’s because air travel is one of the highest carbon-creating forms of travel out there!
This fact prompted me to look up all the ways I could cut my carbon emissions on trips where I had no choice but to fly. Just in time for Earth Day, here’s my round up of tips to help you be a more eco-friendly nomad!
1. Get Real About Your Carbon Footprint
The most sobering part of this research was coming to terms with the fact that even though I’m vegan, never drive, and eat local organic produce, my flights put me in the same category as the worst carbon offenders. The best way to make a change is to get real with your own stats through carbon emission calculators like Offsetters.ca or Sustainable Travel International. Use their tools to see your results and set some goals. Find more carbon offsetting programs here.
2. Reduce Your Waste
This one is a great place to start at home AND while you travel. I wrote a whole blog post about how to live as close to zero-waste as possible while traveling. This includes how you pack snacks, eat at a restaurant, wash your clothes, and choose your hygiene products. Start adopting these practices now so they are second nature (and nature-friendly) when you travel.
3. Choose an Eco-Friendly Hotel
More and more travel-related businesses are changing their practices to meet eco-responsible standards. This includes hotels! You don’t have to stay at an eco-hotel specifically, although this is great. You can also follow the prompts at normal hotels to use less water, like using the same towel during your stay and not asking for them to change your sheets. These small acts are easy and save water. Airbnb is also a great way to be more eco-friendly than at chain hotels with snack-filled minibars. Shop for local foods, cook at your Airbnb, and use real utensils.
4. Fly Less
Overall, the solution is generally to travel less. If you can’t however, trains are way more eco-friendly than planes or cars, so try to take them when possible. Buses and rideshares are also a great way to cut down on your transportation-related footprint.
Remember, a lot of people being imperfectly eco-friendly is better than a few people doing it perfectly, so never think the small actions you’re doing now are in vain. It adds up!
Happy Earth Day!