If the past year has taught us anything, it’s how much we all miss travel when it’s taken away from us. But we’ve also had a chance to pause and reflect on the positive effects the slowdown in lifestyle has had on the planet. Now more than ever how we travel matters.
Here at El Camino, we’ve been reflecting on the little things we can do to travel in a more sustainable way when the world opens up again. Read on to find out some of our top tips, along with information on how we’re supporting climate change charity, Cool Earth.
One thing we can all do when planning a trip is to review our mode of transport. For example, a direct flight to a destination will minimise the amount of carbon produced: Twenty-five per cent of aeroplane emissions occur during take-off and landing.
When we reach a destination, the temptation is to dash around from place to place exploring. Why not see the journey as part of the experience instead? Whether that’s taking public transport or more time to explore on foot or by bike. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in the destination. And rather than going on lots of day trips, think about spending a night or two in the place you’re wanting to visit.
When booking somewhere to stay, seek out local accommodation providers rather than chains, and where possible support suppliers who protect the environment. This ensures your money goes back into the community and makes a positive contribution.
This applies to your choice of dining establishments and where to shop too: Locally grown food is not only going to have a smaller carbon footprint but will give you a real taste of the place you’re visiting. And shopping locally, especially if visiting off-season, helps to keep small businesses afloat.
It’s easy when we’re at home to take our keep cups and refillable water bottles out and about but being sustainable when we’re on our travels takes a little more thought and preparation.
Packing travel cutlery can be a great option for any takeaways, street food and picnics, as can Tupperware for leftovers. We love wax wraps, which are a great space-saving way to preserve food. Other extras to consider popping in include a water filter, reusable straw and tote bag.
We try to pack environmentally-friendly toiletries too, including reef-safe sunscreen and multi-purpose biodegradable soap.
Leave a place better than when you found it
We believe that it’s not just about leaving ‘no footprint’, it’s about having a positive impact. The best advice we’ve heard is to act like you’re a guest in someone else’s house (after all, you wouldn’t turn up for dinner at a friend’s home without bringing a bottle of wine).
There are various ways that you can have a positive impact. For example, in Cornwall where we live, the 2 Minute Foundation has a #2minutebeachclean campaign that now extends to over 800 stations across the UK, encouraging visitors to do their bit to remove plastic waste from beaches.
Another option is to approach local aid organisations and ask if there is a need for any specific goods that you can bring.
Pass it on
There’s plenty of talk about ways to offset a trip but sometimes one of the easiest and best ways to be a more conscious traveller is simply to spread the word. Share sustainable tips and discoveries with a friend, recommend local guides and activities.
Get behind Cool Earth
Another way you can do some good is to support our partnership with Cool Earth! We’re introducing a Forest Green bracelet and donating 10% of sales to the guys at Cool Earth via Work for Good. Here’s why:
Nature can be our strongest ally in combating climate change.
The world’s rainforests play a huge role in keeping the climate in balance. Storing carbon in their trunks, roots, leaves and soils, they are capable of providing 23% of the cost-effective climate mitigation needed before 2030.
Just one rainforest tree could:
- grow to 200 feet tall
- release 116kg of oxygen a year
- be home to over 40 species of ants
- be soaked by 70 inches of rainfall a year
- grow 4 million flowers
- produce 324 litres of water a year
- sequester 30 tonnes of carbon
Cool Earth is a non-profit organisation that works alongside rainforest communities to halt deforestation. From setting up an in-country team to working directly with communities and local NGOs to develop their capacity, Cool Earth supports local and indigenous knowledge to develop innovative ways to address threats to the forest while making communities stronger and more resilient.
We are proud supporters of Cool Earth because working with local people to protect rainforest is the smartest, most positive climate action there is. You can find out more about their work here.