If you love the environment and you love to travel, you’ve probably already wondered how you can justify taking those long, CO2-emitting plane rides with a green conscience. It used to be that was just the way it was — there were no great options for the eco-friendly traveler to get to a place speedily and in an environmentally-responsible way. But it’s the 21st century and things are certainly changing. So if you want to respect the environment and take your dream vacation, read on to see how you can travel green!
Fly With Airlines Committed to Going Green
In October 2016, the International Civil Aviation Organization held their annual conference in Montreal where 191 countries agreed to take tangible steps in considerably lowering CO2 emissions from aircraft — starting with market-based measures implemented on a global level. The first airline to take this important step is Alaska Airlines. In November 2016, the airline flew from the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to the Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C. with a bio-fuel comprised of reusable forest residuals. This was the first commercial airline to do so and we hope to see more after the recent agreement!
Fly the Most Direct Routes Possible
By flying on a nonstop route, you’re cutting out tons of pounds of CO2 emissions by eliminating unnecessary stopovers. We know, we know… It’s sometimes impossible or way more expensive to take a nonstop route — but if you’re really committed to going green when you travel, this is certainly something to keep in mind. It’s worthy to note that a large part of emissions come during takeoff and landing — making those extra stopovers really add up.
Calculate Your Carbon Footprint (and Try to Reduce It)
There are plenty of websites that allow you to calculate your carbon emissions — and then donate the proper amount to offset the impact you’ve made. One of these organizations, Sustainable Travel International, calculates that a round trip flight from New York City to Los Angeles would create 1.7884 tons of CO2 — yikes! The good news is that you can pay a cool $45 to let Mother Nature know that you’re on her team. The money can be put toward reforestation efforts or projects that will offset carbon emissions. Pretty cool, eh?
Skip the First Class Seat (and Other Seat Hacks)
Okay, so this one’s easy and something most of us are doing anyways! By taking a first class seat, you’re taking up space that could have been used to transport more people — thus creating a larger carbon footprint as those people now have to get on another flight and so on… So next time your airline asks if you want a free upgrade, think twice before fervently agreeing. Also be aware of how many passengers your flight can hold compared to other airlines on the same route — if one can carry more passengers, opt for that one, as it spreads the emissions between more people.
Yup, by bringing a reusable water bottle and filling it up in the airport as well as packing your own snacks, you’ll be making another small — but positive — difference aboard the plane! Think of all those plastic cups that are wasted each flight (not the mention the stacks of napkins and crinkly snack packs) that you’ll be saving. Take the little bit of extra effort and throw it back to high school by packing a meal for yourself (the embarrassing love note from your parent is unfortunately not included).
Another easy thing that you can do is start using your mobile phone’s option for e-tickets. Lots of airlines and travel agencies have a feature on their app that gives you an electronic ticket — use it! By not printing off your ticket on paper every time you fly, you really are making a small positive difference.
Do you have any other green travel hacks that we missed? Let us know in the comments!