Tourism, unfortunately, has an impact on the health of the planet, whether you’re jetting off on a plane somewhere, or heading off in the car.
And while there isn’t a great amount we can do about the impact of travel, there are plenty of steps you can take to lessen the impact your holiday has on the planet – and Nicky Kelvin, Director of Content at The Points Guy UK, has a few ideas to get you started on how to travel more consciously.
- Offsetting: To achieve a net neutral carbon impact of zero for your trip, pay the extra to offset your flights. This fee will vary depending on your flight route, but, for example, offsetting a return trip from London to Spain would cost about £4, or London to Sydney about £35. It’s important to research where your money is going when offsetting, as not all offsetting projects are as transparent as they may seem. Go Climate Neutral and Climate Care are good choices.
- Conscious packing: We’re all likely guilty of overpacking, but it’s so important to sit down and think carefully about what you actually need to take on your trip. Think about what you can share with any travel companions, and also about lighter alternatives, particularly for self-care products (for example, a shampoo bar instead of a bottle).
- Hang luggage essentials: Cutting down the weight of your case is not the only way you can travel more consciously. You can plan ways to reduce the use of single-use items that add to the environmental impact of your flight. Utilise that hand luggage space; ask the airline hosts for your drinks to be poured in your cup instead of taking a plastic cup each time and instead of opening up the plastic-packaged cutlery that will come with your meal, take your own. It’s not just plastic that we need to cut down on, but also our use of paper products. Washable tissues are a simple way to do exactly this.
- Local activities: Think about how your activities can impact the local area and people where you are staying. A really easy way of doing this is by supporting local tour operators who help to support wildlife and preserve local cultures. This will ensure that your time there reduces any negative impact on the surrounding culture or habitat, but it will also enhance your own experience, giving you more opportunities to learn about the local culture and see places that are not necessarily in guide books. Alternatively, why not take part in a more physical action, like doing your own beach clean or spending some time volunteering for a local organisaton that helps support local wildlife or people?