Sustainable Travel Tips: How to Protect the Planet on Vacation

In celebration of Earth Day we conducted a survey and found that more than 86% of respondents wished they could be more environmentally-friendly when traveling. Just one flight from London to Sydney emits about 5 tons of carbon dioxide. That's about half the average person’s annual carbon footprint.

Traveling can be an amazing adventure, but it can also incur a big environmental cost. At Generali Global Assistance, we’re fans of responsible travel and the motto “take only photos, leave only footprints.” There are plenty of easy ways to plan an eco-friendly trip with sustainable travel options and enjoy your vacation even more.

Also read: Top 5 Reasons to Get Travel Insurance

What is a Carbon Footprint?

Your carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere from your daily activities. The amount depends on factors such as how you travel or heat your home—but small changes can go a long way!

Easy Sustainable Travel Tips

Sustainable Transport Options

  • Travel over land rather by air. For example, why not book a train or bus instead of a plane? Kick-back and enjoy the view, while reducing your carbon footprint.

  • If you can't avoid flying, choose daytime flights, which are better for the environment than night flights. Also, try to book non-stop flights to reduce your carbon footprint. Not only does it make traveling easier, a large amount of a plane’s carbon emissions take place during takeoff and landing.

  • Try to pack lightly—a heavier cargo means that the plane needs to burn more fuel.

Also read: 
• Travel Europe by Train: The Fastest, Most Scenic and Popular Routes
• Japan Railways: Top Sights to See with a Japan Rail Pass

Planet-friendly Accomodations

  • Explore the sustainability credentials of your accommodation. Do they use solar power? Do they compost? Do they have eco light bulbs? E-mail the hotels you're browsing to ask before you book! Green Key Global can help you find the perfect green hotel.

  • No recycle bin in your hotel room or vacation rental? Request one and let the manager know recycling is important to you. Be sure to participate in your hotel's linen program. Consider if you really need to change your sheets or towels every day.

  • Don't forget to turn off the AC, heat, lights and TV in your hotel room when you leave.

  • When done reading your morning newspaper, leave it in the lobby for someone else to read.

Bridge through a canopy of trees in a forest, the perfect place for eco-friendly travel tips

Avoid Renting a Car

Visiting somewhere new is a great opportunity to walk more—this is the best way to take in the views and atmosphere! When walking isn't an option, look for public bikes, public transport and sustainable taxi or ride-sharing companies. These are all great opportunities to live like a local and are more interesting than driving alone in a rented car.

See our Best Travel Apps post for some tips on finding alternative transportation in a city you're visiting.

 If you do rent a car, consider a hybrid or economy car that requires less gas. 

Eat Like a Local

Food has its own carbon footprint, so eat local and seasonal produce which hasn't traveled so far to get to your plate! Ask your concierge, or use concierge services included with your travel protection plan, to find local farmers markets or restaurants with locally sourced food. You can get a real taste for local culture and be environmentally friendly.

Also, it can be tempting to over-order when you eat at restaurants but try to prioritize not wasting food.

Also read:
• 6 Fantastic Food Tours and Travel Destinations Around the World
• Best Restaurants in the Caribbean: Find Island Flavors on Your Next Trip
• Eating in Italy: The Best Food and Where to Find It

Avoiding Plastic

  • Say no to the bubble wrap and consider sustainable options for packing your souvenirs, such as old newspapers or wrapping them up in worn clothes.

  • Pack a reusable water bottle to use while sightseeing instead of buying disposable plastic bottles that are not eco-friendly.

Some travel to change lives. Others travel to change the world. Whatever your choice, pick an interesting destination and be mindful of Mother Nature by reducing your carbon footprint and leaving only footprints on vacation with these sustainable travel tips.

Before leaving home, adjust your thermostat, turn down the water heater and unplug electronics that leach power, even when turned off.

Some travel to change lives. Others travel to change the world. Whatever your choice, pick an interesting destination and be mindful of Mother Nature by reducing your carbon footprint and leaving only footprints while you travel.


Our #1 travel tip: Insure your trip
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