Reduce your carbon footprint when you travel

If you are concerned about the environment and you try to control the consumption of energy, water and products, you are interested in knowing how your trips affect the planet. What is the carbon footprint, how to reduce it and how to compensate it.

  1. Save energy and water
  2. The 3R: reuse, recycle and reduce
  3. Reduce your carbon footprint

When you travel your activities differ greatly from your daily habits.  This affects your carbon footprint that will most likely increase and especially if you travel great distances. 

Brisbane, Australia

Photo by ZACHARY STAINES @zaccastravels

What is the carbon footprint

The carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by an individual by an event or a product. This means carbon dioxide and methane but also to nitrous oxide, ozone and CFC. Absolutely everything we do generates gases that negatively affect the atmosphere.

We have to understand that everything has a harmful effect on the atmosphere. What sustainable tourism pursues, among other things, is that you opt, as much as possible, for travel generating the lowest possible carbon footprint. Making conscious decisions about our actions so that they are less harmful to the environment.


How to calculate the carbon footprint of our actions

When you travel you generate greenhouse gases, but when you stay at home too. You simply generate them in different ways. There are many tools that you can use to calculate the carbon footprint of different activities is so easy to search in Google "carbon footprint calculator" and choose the option that you like the most.

For example, at carbonfootprint.com you can calculate your spending on various types of activities such as housing, car, flights, train, etc.

You can calculate your daily carbon emissions and compare them with those you will make on your next trip and thus be aware of the impact of your vacation on the environment. In addition, it can help you make decisions that are less polluting.


How to reduce your carbon footprint

The most sustainable will almost always be to not travel but this is a bit excessive because we can't deny the benefits of traveling.  So, what can we do to travel in the most enviroment friendly way?

The means of transport that we choose for our travels is what will provide the most greenhouse gas emissions of our trips.  Therefore, it is important to choose the most efficient means of transport not only to reach our holiday destination but also to move around during our vacation.

By order these would be, in most cases, the most efficient ways to travel:

  1. Bus
  2. Train
  3. Car
  4. Airplane

However, it is not so simple since it will depend on various factors such as the occupation of the vehicles, their maintenance, the fuel they use, etc. and therefore should be calculated case by case.

Once in your destination, the recommended thing would be to walk, use a bicycle or the public transportation available before resorting to cars.

As for your accommodation, the ideal is to maintain the savings and efficiency measures that you have already implemented in your home. The fact that something is included in the price you are  is not justifying to make an irresponsible use of it. Broadly recommend that you turn off the lights when you do not use them, turn off the air conditioning when you do not need it and do not ask to wash your towels daily.

For advanced ecologists there is also the possibility of offsetting the carbon footprint.

How to balance your carbon footprint

You might think that only large companies or Goverment institutions can compensate the carbon footprint but it can also be done by anyone personally.


To begin with, some airlines and companies collaborate with projects to compensate our carbon footprint by allowing an extra cost to be added to the purchase of the ticket. They will dedicate this extra income to these projects that serve the purpose of balancing the carbon footprint of the use of their services.


These projects are dedicated to reducing the emission of greenhouse gases and thus balance the excesses committed by others. There are many options to choose from among your projects aimed at reducing the carbon footprint that also provide additional benefits such as biodiversity, education, jobs, food security, clean water and health and well-being in developing countries.


Compensation markets can be visited and it is advisable to ensure their reliability and efficiency both from the markets themselves and from their projects. Some projects have independent certification seals that provide some peace of mind.


In short, the ideal would be for all travelers to follow the following guidelines to create the least impact on the environment:

  1. Reduce events or activities that produce more emissions.
  2. Measure their carbon footprint
  3. Collaborate with projects dedicated to carbon reduction to compensate for the emission itself.

What do you think?

Do you worry about the environment when you travel? Do you have  advice or recommendations that you want to share  with us?

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