A holiday is a perfect way to unwind and relax your mind and body, something that is so important in a world that is becoming more and more fast-paced. Reading a book on a breathtaking beach in the Caribbean or hiking through the mesmerizing mountains of Nepal are just some of the amazing experiences that can enhance your life.
Unfortunately, though, an article written by Nature Climate Change found that 8% of global carbon emissions are caused by global tourism (which is 4x more than it was previously estimated at), something that is at the forefront of many people’s minds when it comes to planning a holiday. But there is no need to fear as there are many ways you can still enjoy yourself on holiday whilst remaining eco-friendly.
By making conscientious decisions to reduce and offset your carbon footprint, you can travel to your dream destinations without the guilt weighing you down.
What Causes Carbon Emissions?
Carbon emissions are created when harmful carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere, which is mostly caused by burning fossil fuels such as oil, coal and gas. Electricity and heat generation are the biggest contributors to human-caused carbon emissions, with the transportation sector coming in as the second-largest contributor according to the International Energy Agency.
Ways you can offset your carbon emissions
What you do on holiday and how you get there can be substantial sources of carbon emissions, so it is best to be aware of the actions you can take to offset these emissions.
Below we have some tips on how you can offset carbon emissions when planning your next adventure.
A report by pebble magazine found that 10% of global warming is caused by air travel, in fact, one single flight can create more emissions than the average motorist does in a year. So where possible, it’s best to avoid flying altogether. Alternative transport such as ferries, trains and driving give off fewer emissions and allow you to see more of the world. You can visit multiple countries in Asia and Europe via train, meaning you are experiencing more of the world without causing as much harm to it.
This is a big and beautiful world we live in and we all deserve to see as much of it as possible, so sometimes, flying is the only option. There are still ways to offset your carbon emissions even when you do decide to fly.
Packing lightly can reduce the fuel usage of the plane, which means you should avoid the ‘just in case’ mentality when packing and only bring the essentials. Also try to use e-ticketing where possible in order to avoid wasting paper, not to mention that it’s also more convenient! Be sure to choose journeys that are non-stop, they may be longer but avoiding unnecessary takeoffs and landings reduces carbon emissions.
Once you have decided to fly, it is worth getting involved in reforestation projects to offset your carbon emissions. Planting trees will release more oxygen into the atmosphere, combatting the CO2 emissions of air travel. There are many companies that will calculate your carbon footprint and offset your emissions for you, such as AtmosFair.
Choose an Eco-friendly Hotel
When it comes to choosing where you travel, it is easy to make greener choices that have less of a negative effect on the environment. You could even choose to visit a place that is having a positive impact on the local environment.
Eco-travel is a rising movement and as a result, many hotels and lodges have now installed and adhere to green initiatives. When researching places to stay, look for properties that have these initiatives in place, such as using renewable energy, using local produce and being involved in conservation projects. If you’re not sure where to start, our site https://kiwanohotels.com is your best bet.
Not only does choosing an eco-friendly place to stay offset your carbon emissions, but it will also enhance your experience. A green hotel or lodge can offer experiences that other hotels can’t, such as the chance to see endangered wildlife and rare flora. Not to mention that finding a place to stay in a protected site will result in unspoiled views you wouldn’t experience anywhere else.
Use Resources Responsibly
When you find the eco-friendly hotel that is right for you, there’s still more you can do whilst staying there to offset your carbon emissions because although staff at green hotels will prioritise their green initiatives, their main priority will always be to ensure their guests are comfortable. This means that you can make the decisions that have a less negative effect on the environment such as by using resources responsibly.
Small changes that you might not even consider can make a huge difference. For example, requesting that your bed linen and towels not be changed and washed every day can reduce water usage for the hotel. You wouldn’t change your bed and towels at home every day, so take these practices on holiday with you.
Temperature can be a huge factor for your comfort when on holiday, typically you will be visiting a climate that is different to your own and it can be tempting to ramp up the air conditioning or heating, but bear in mind the amount of energy this would use. Limit your usage to only what is absolutely necessary and try to find other alternatives to regulating the temperature where possible, such as clothing choices or closing windows.
Choose Activities That Aren’t Harmful to the Environment
Often it is tempting to partake in fun activities on holiday that is harmful to the environment, without realising the damage such activities are causing. For example, zoos are always popular with tourists, but they can be detrimental to the health of the animals. Wildlife reserves and national parks offer an alternative to zoos that are much more geared towards conserving wildlife and allowing it to flourish in its natural setting.
Hiking and cycling are great to try when on holiday as they allow you to be absorbed by your surroundings and take in the new sights without causing harm to the environment. Very often, the staff at the place you’re staying will be able to suggest routes that are not as popular among tourists, meaning that they are more peaceful and will cause less damaging erosion. And of course, as mentioned in the previous paragraph we’ll always ensure that during such activities resources are used responsibly e.g. going on a hike or bike ride with a single-use plastic bottle of water wouldn’t make ecological sense!
Shopping in the local area can also be a fun way to boost the local community. Through buying from local vendors, you are reducing transport emissions for the products you buy that didn’t have to travel, as well as being helpful to the vendors who probably rely on tourism to keep their business afloat. Naturally, we never buy animal hides, ivory or coral etc. as these are extremely damaging to wildlife (not to mention illegal and barbaric in some cases).
Read our article 5 Eco-friendly Activities To Do on Holiday This Spring to learn more.
Switch off at home
The point of going on holiday is to escape the realities of your home life for a while, so making sure everything is in order before you go is a must, to ensure there is nothing to worry about whilst you’re away. Not only will this give you peace of mind, but it is a great way to offset your carbon emissions.
We advise checking that everything is off (not just on standby) before you leave, including heating and hot water. If possible, you could even empty your refrigerator and turn it off for the duration of your travels. Switching off will prevent energy wastage and consequently cut down your bills. If you feel that you need your lights on for security reasons, you can always install a timer so that they are only on for the required time.
Go Green to Live Out Your Dream
As you can see, there are plenty of small things you can do to enhance your holiday that also help to offset your carbon emissions. Exploring this beautiful earth should be a fulfilling experience and knowing that you are making eco-friendly choices can add to that fulfilment.
Kiwano can help you towards the first step of becoming a green traveller by providing a list of approved green accommodations for you to stay at and giving you further tips on how to stay green as a traveller.