How to reduce your CO2 emissions
whilst on vacation

Whilst on vacation we can all act in ways - just as we do at home - that help minimise our CO2 emissions. Here are a few simple steps:

1. Food and drink
  • Buy locally produced food and drink wherever possible to reduce the CO2 impact from transporting your food, by air in particular. Ask before you buy and explain the reason for your question.
  • Choose less meat where possible too (the meat industry requires a great deal of energy for production and can also result in deforestation – trees are key for capturing CO2 from our air).
  • Buy other items such as clothes or keepsakes from local suppliers rather than overseas brands.

Fruit sellers, Belize
Photo by Lesly Derksen

2. Your transport
  • Avoid domestic flights and travel overland instead.
  • Choose lower carbon transport options for getting around wherever possible. Local buses and trains, cycling or walking are always a more enjoyable and eventful way to see a place.
  • Some destinations may have electric vehicles to rent or taxis.

3. Your energy use
  • Wherever possible chose to stay in places that use renewable energy (ask your operator or hotel directly).
  • Try and avoid using the air conditioner or heating too much (open a window or put on an extra jumper to start with).
  • Turn off lights and appliances when not in use.
  • Be mindful of how much energy-intensive hot water you use – choose shorter showers over baths.
  • Reuse towels and bedding to save on laundry energy.

4. Reduce waste
  • Say ‘no’ to plastics such as straws, cutlery, drinks stirrers, water bottles, plastic toiletries, plastic bags and plastic souvenirs that are likely to be thrown away. Consider items such as pool inflatables too or poor quality plastic flip-flops.
  • Always pack a reusable water bottle and tote bag.
  • Avoid all you can eat buffets and too much food waste.
  • And be sure to ask your operator or hotel what their waste policies are to demonstrate that travelers want action.

5. Recycle
  • Wherever possible, use local recycling options.
  • If you know this is going to be difficult then try and throw away packaging of new items before you travel rather than in your destination.
  • Again, do ask your accommodation whether they recycle and if they don’t already, urge them to act on this.

6. Local guides
  • Use local guides to show you around rather than people flown in from abroad (check with your operator if you’re traveling as part of a group). It’ll more insightful too!

7. Activities
  • Choose low carbon activities on your vacation such as kayaking, cycling, horse riding, walking and swimming.

8. At home before you go
  • Be sure to turn off appliances, as well as boilers to save energy. Turn lights off (use timers if you’re leaving lights on for security reasons).
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