Ways to reduce your travel emissions!


Of the world’s total carbon emissions, the tourism industry currently accounts for roughly 8%. While this may seem comparatively small, growth within this sector has increased by 4 times the original expectation between 2009 and 2013. Whilst we saw a clearing of the skies mid-pandemic this is an unrealistic indicator to have, and as the world opens up the Tourism Industry is likely to become a major carbon emitter in years to come.  Whilst there has been development in road transport moving toward EV’s (Electric Vehicles) it is unlikely that there will be renewable energy-powered aeroplanes entering the market anytime soon, this doesn’t mean we can’t play our part in reducing our carbon footprint when it comes to travelling. The following tips can help you reduce your impact on the planet whilst travelling.

Pre-trip planning tips:

  1. Take longer holidays, less often – Longer holidays mean you aren’t travelling as frequently, which means less flying or driving (and less carbon being emitted).
  2. Pack light – quite obvious more fuel is needed to transport heavier baggage, so reducing your load will ultimately not only be more manageable to carry around but will reduce the fuel consumed and emissions produced. Just reducing your luggage weight by 7kgs (or one piece of carry-on)  would equate to a decrease in emissions of approximately 36kgs on a 10-hour flight. If a family of four was able to eliminate one large piece of luggage weighing 25kg it equates to approximately 128kg of CO2 on the same flight.
  3. Offset your carbon footprint – most Airline service providers these days enable an option to offset the emissions you cant directly mitigate.

Trip transportation tips:

  1. Fly economy – first and business class seats take up more space and therefore equate to larger amounts of fuel required and carbon emitted per person. If you’re in need of extra space, choose the emergency exist seats, as they will offer slightly more leg room for a fraction of the cost, and emissions produced, compared to business class seats.
  2. Book flights that are direct – unnecessary stops increase the carbon emitted as you are covering more milage. Planes also release the most amount of carbon during take-off and landing, so minimising stop overs significantly reduces emissions.
  3. Try out alternate forms of transportation – taking the train instead of a car for medium-length trips can cut your emissions by approximately 80%. Catching the train instead of a domestic flight would result in reductions of approximately 84%, and you may be surprised if you are travelling across the land a train may actually be cheaper and quicker to get there when you add up all the waiting time on either end of the flights. Alternatively, catching public buses, ferries, coaches or even carpooling all work for reducing your carbon emissions.

During-trip tips:

  1. Turn off all your electrical appliances and energy systems when you’re out – hotel rooms often leave your aircon or heater running while you’re out, so make sure to turn it off when you’re not there. Also switch off and unplug all electronics when they’re not in use.
  2. Eat local cuisine and reduce food waste – eating locally not only supports local restaurants, producers, and farmers, but it also reduces the carbon emitted in the transportation phase. Minimising food waste by not ordering more than you usually eat will also reduce your carbon footprint as you are not consuming excess amounts of food that then require additional carbon to be emitted in disposing of your waste.
  3.  Don’t buy meaningless souvenirs – buying meaningless souvenirs that will be thrown out in a year is contributing to our societies significant waste issue, so be selective on what you buy. The more you buy also equates to heavier luggage on the return home, which previously mentioned, means more emissions emitted.