How to enjoy a Christmas getaway and cut your carbon footprint

Globetrotting now doesn’t have to literally cost the earth.

Seeing the sights on foot can help to cut your carbon footprint when travelling (photo: Adobe)
Seeing the sights on foot can help to cut your carbon footprint when travelling (photo: Adobe)

Whether considering a shot of winter sun or planning a staycation, it’s not just the financial cost of travel we have to think about.

The pandemic appears to have fuelled a renewed appreciation of our freedom to roam, as well as a shift towards becoming more environmentally conscious.

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Three in five travellers say that the pandemic has made them want to travel more sustainably, according to Booking.com’s Sustainable Travel Report.

Embracing the culture by buying local is environmentally beneficial (photo: Adobe)

Of course, it’s easier said than done, especially with the one measure that would have the biggest impact being foregoing air travel.

For example, taking the Eurostar train from London to Avignon, France, instead of flying cuts emissions per passenger by 93 per cent, from 281kg of CO2 per person to 18kg.

But if you can’t avoid taking a flight, or if you are already opting for a more sustainable method of travel and want to reduce your impact further, there are plenty of other ways to do so.

“Travel and tourism contribute to around eight per cent of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions and, as a business in the industry, we can’t ignore this,” said Oliver Bell, co-founder of Oliver’s Travels.

"By making responsible decisions and taking urgent action, our goal at Oliver’s Travels is to become net zero and be a force for positive change in the travel industry, as well as our wider communities.”

The company has launched a new slow travel package that can cut guests' CO2 emissions by up to 90 per cent as well as increase their impact on the local community.

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Charlie Cotton is the founder of ecollective, a sustainability consultancy that is committed to helping travel companies make a positive impact.

His tips for reducing your carbon footprint when travelling include being selective with your destination and accommodation.

“More and more travellers are seeking out sustainable travel options and travel companies are wising up to this,” said Charlie.

If you can’t find any information online about your desired accommodation’s eco-initiatives and credentials before booking, it’s worth contacting them directly as they should have this information to hand.

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“An easy way to reduce your carbon footprint when travelling is by choosing a destination that has already started its switch to renewable energy,” said Charlie.

10 tips for tourists to cut their carbon footprint

Sustainability expert Charlie Cotton has shared his tips on how people can travel more sustainably and reduce their carbon footprint whilst on holiday.

1 Be selective with your accommodation

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2 Be selective with your destination too.

3 Don’t assume that you have to forego luxury.

4 Not using it? Then turn it off.

“It might sound obvious but turn off the lights, TV and other gadgets when they are not needed.”

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5 Embrace the culture by buying local.

6 Eat less high-carbon foods.

7 Eat seasonally.

8 Use low-carbon forms of transport.

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9 Or… don’t use transport at all! Have human-powered adventures instead.

“Ditch the quad bike and get your heart racing on a bicycle instead.”

10 Remember to ‘leave no trace’.

When you visit a destination, leave it in such a way that no one would know that you’ve visited.