Yes, we miss road trips too–But at least there are fewer carbon emissions!
For anyone who had big summer travel plans, the disappointment and longing for normalcy is real. Most likely your days are spent staring at your refrigerator, scrolling through social media, and simply just trying to keep busy.
According to the United Nations Environment Programme, tourism produces 5% of the world’s carbon emissions. Ultimately, the greenest way to travel is not to. But travel and exploration is part of our human nature. Post-pandemic, it does not seem like an industry that’s going away.
The next way to travel responsibly is to look out for certain labels. The Environmental Protection Agency’s program called Energy Star scores hotels on their energy efficiency. Each hotel has to submit a year’s worth of verified energy bills for review. To get their badge of approval, hotels have to meet minimum standards such as and recycling, linen-reuse, and to educate their guests about their practices.
ECOTEL is an independent environmental rating system for hotels worldwide. This certification sets the standard for waste, energy, and water management. The American Hotel & Motel Association stresses water and energy conservation and aims to raise consumer awareness.
But the list doesn’t end there: They also:
– Compost all organic waste and napkins
– Use only biodegradable detergent for laundry
– Get hot water from solar heaters or instant gas heaters
– Avoid buying products packed in Styrofoam or aluminum
– And other amazing initiatives!
We’re all about this kind of dedication to sustainability. There are so many green options out there if you look for them.
Another thing to consider is traveling by rail whenever possible. Train travel is underrated compared to air travel and car trips, but we think it’s pretty great. Aside from it being one of the most sustainable options, it can also be the most enjoyable!
Next, how many times have you gotten frustrated at the airport on all those never-ending lines: check-in, security, boarding…the list goes on. Train travel kisses those lines goodbye! Most railways don’t have check-ins, instead using a self-service ticket kiosk. Basically, you just arrive and walk on.
And we need to point out possibly the most important thing: the freedom of movement! Unlike airplanes where you’re stuck in your seat most of the time, on a train you’re allowed to move about as much as you want. Plus, you can leave your electronics on: No need to quit your game of Words With Friends (Alec Baldwin, I’m talking to you).
Furthermore, trains emit between 66% and 75% less carbon than cars and airplanes, according to Eurorail’s website. You can further reduce your impact by taking public transportation, walking, or biking whenever possible once you get to your destination.
As you can see, there are many options readily available at your fingertips to travel more sustainably. While you daydream your next vacation, I encourage you to look into some of these eco-friendly alternatives. Wishing you safe and sustainable travels!
Edited by Laura Marsh