It’s not easy being green, one famous frog once said. Well, maybe that was true in his day, but in this age, being a green traveller is more accessible than ever.
The main problem with green travelling is the transport to and from the destination. The further you go, the more emissions you will be sending out into the atmosphere. So how can you have your annual holiday and still protect the planet?
Walking might not get you very far, but you could be surprised how many miles you can cover each day on a bike. Cycling, apart for walking, is the greenest of transportation methods – and a great way to keep fit. If you’re planning on volunteering abroad, it’s a cheap way of getting around and retaining your independence – and doesn’t require a license! Happily, more and more people are seeing the appeal of long cycle rides instead of car-borne road trips. Join the craze and you’ll be hooked.
Get the train
Train companies in Europe are legally required to offset their carbon emissions. The Eurostar has particularly green credentials in this respect: in 2007, they pledged to reduce carbon emissions per passenger by 25% and achieved this in 2009 – now, they’ve vowed to reduce them by 35%. Travel with Eurostar and you’ll be safely doing your bit for the planet. Hoorah!
Get involved in car sharing
This is a really cheap method of transport, although it does require a certain amount of prior organisation. You can join an online community where car owners post upcoming trips, cost per traveller and number of seats available. You then give the driver a call to work out the details. Check out Bla Bla Car for UK trips which also has continental sister sites at the bottom of each page.
Renting a car?
If you’re travelling somewhere remote, car renting may be unavoidable. But fear not, there are some things you can do to keep your carbon footprint to a minimum. Be aware that car rental companies will always offer you an upgrade – refuse any car that’s bigger than what you need. Older cars also tend to consume more fuel, so try and pick something up to date.
Choose direct flights
Getting trains, walking, cycling… It’s all great if you’ve got plenty of time to enjoy the ride. Many people don’t, so air travel becomes inevitable. Picking direct flights means less distance is travelled and less fuel is used.
Research your carrier
As with every type of company, some airlines are more green than others. Top eco-friendly airlines include Virgin, Continental Airlines, Lufthansa and, perhaps surprisingly, Easy Jet. All these airlines have made huge efforts to modernise their fleets resulting in fewer emissions. Air France has taken things a step further and has implemented a green airplane cleaning programme.
There’s a reason that airlines charge huge fees for excess baggage: the heavier their cargo, the more fuel they have to use to transport it. The same principle works for any method of travel, be it train, bus, boat and even on foot! There are lots of tips online for travelling light, so have a browse and work out some fuel-efficient tricks that work for you.
Offset your carbon emissions
After any trip, it’s a great idea to offset your carbon emissions through green initiatives. Lots of companies can help you with this. Carbon Footprint Ltd. have a useful feature on their website to help you calculate your emissions when travelling. For a scare, you can find out what your yearly emissions are too… Once you’ve worked how much CO2 you’ve spewed into the atmosphere, you can purchase a package to reverse them, such as tree planting or wind field development. The choice is yours!
Lalage has been scouring the web for ways to go on a responsible adventure holiday