The New York Times wrote “as a general rule, the shorter the distance from home you travel, the lower your carbon footprint. But if you want to go farther, some destinations are more sustainable than others.” Since summer 2021 is more travel-friendly than this time last year, many of us will be traveling. For those who have a trip booked or are planning one, here are five things to keep in mind while making plans. I’ll be traveling this summer to The Channel Islands and sustainable travel is a major priority for me. While I am still learning how to best implement this practice these are the principles that have helped me better understand “sustainable travel” during the planning process. I’ll write a follow-up blog post when I’m on vacation about how I maintain sustainable living while away from home and in a new environment.

 
How to travel sustainably:
Set aside time to properly plan and research
  • Get to know the area you’re going to. What do you want to do? Create a general itinerary and map put how close/far the activities are to each other. Then, plan your day by visiting the places you’ve grouped together by a closer distance. This especially helps to reduce carbon emissions if you’re traveling by plane or car. Plus, it helps to maximize time at your destination! Who doesn’t want to feel like they’ve unlocked more time on vacation?

 

  • Understand transportation where you’re going. While having your own car can be luxurious, do you really need it? Look into the proximity and safety of public transportation. Can you get around via bus, subway, train, or even bike? If you 100% can’t look into more eco-friendly rental car options like an e-car. Also, choose an appropriately sized car for your needs. If you’re traveling solo, book a 2 door vehicle. You can also rent a car on certain days or for half of the trip. If you use the tip above, you’ll have a clear understanding of the destinations you may absolutely need a car to get to—so, book a vehicle on those days if necessary. If you know anyone in the area you’re traveling to, see if you can carpool!

     

  • Book non-stop flights. You will reduce your carbon footprint while traveling if you opt for a non-stop flight versus a connecting flight or one with multiple flights to your destination.

Research specific eco-friendly, sustainable, and ethical options around your destination

  • Reach out to travel agents specifically saying you want to book sustainable lodging. It’s their job to help you find the best stay and often times are 110% more knowledgable (especially if they’re exclusively a sustainable travel agent) on this style of travel.

 

  • Use relevant and subject-specific keywords when researching. If you’re planning the trip without an agent/agency, utilize the internet. Google is a FABULOUS resource to connect us with blogs, companies, and individuals that can give us the answers we’re (quite literally) searching for. Keywords to use when googling are “green hotels in DESTINATION”, “Sustainable DESTINATION travel plan”, “eco-friendly vacation rentals in DESTINATION”. Words like “ethical”, “sustainable”, “eco-friendly”, “environmentallyconscious”, “environmental priority”, and “sustainability,” will be helpful for any search you do.

     

  • Make sure to include these words when looking up activities, too! Another great set of keywords to use are “sustainable bloggers in DESTINATION”, “Sustainable activities in DESTINATION”, “sustainable travel itinerary for DESTINATION”, and “eco-friendly activities in DESTINATION”.

Planning for a sustainable vacation trip

 

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