One of the reasons why Covid-19 led to reduced carbon emissions around the world is because international borders were closed for a long time and traveling was not the priority for most people. Although we are always told how travel can impact our planet and conscious travel habits can be the game-changer in the long run, the human population never witnessed this direct correlation before the pandemic.
Some countries are more aware of the connection between traveling habits and the environment. Sweden for example, one of the leading examples around the world when it comes to sustainability, came up with the concept of flying shame and train pride.
Flygskam literally translates as “flight shame”. It's the name of an anti-flying movement that originated in Sweden last year, which encourages people to stop taking flights to lower carbon emissions. Tågskryt translates as "train brag". The idea is that people encourage each other to travel by train instead of a plane by posting pictures from their rail trips online, using the hashtag #tågskryt on social media.
Although choosing an alternative transport is a big step towards sustainable travel, there are some other things that we can do individually for the sake of our planet.
- Pack light
The more the plane weights, the more emissions. But guess what, it's not only good for the environment. Traveling light will save you time and energy. Not one likes dragging multiple suitcases while they're on vacation or a business trip. If you don't know how to pack lightly, it's a good idea to check some YouTube tutorials about efficient packing tips.
2. Hang your towels in the hotel you are staying
You don't wash your towels daily when you're home, right? So, why do it when you're staying in a hotel? You don't need to leave your towels to wash every day. Just hang them after using them, this way you can reuse them the next day avoiding using lots of water to wash them and energy.
- Shop locally
Avoid big chains and shop locally from villages, street markets, and farmers' markets to better support the local economy. Instead of spending your money on expensive products big brands offer, buy hand-made souvenirs, clothes, and jewelry instead.
- Avoid using travel-size plastic containers
When you're packing for a trip, fill in your own reusable containers with products you have at home instead of buying new travel-size products every time. This way you won't contribute to plastic waste and also save your money since travel-size products are generally more expensive.
- Choose your transport wisely.
What's the better way to explore a new place than walking around? Walking or biking whenever you can while traveling will help reduce carbon emissions from vehicles. Sometimes you can rent a bike from your hotel or bike-rental places in the city. If walking is out of the question, then use public transport. It will help reduce the number of vehicles on the road and will also help you save money.
So, like everything when it comes to sustainable living, you shouldn't try to be perfect and stop enjoying travelling. Everything starts with being aware of our habits and their effects. Conscious decisions lead to healthy habits both for ourselves and our planet.