Take a Longer Vacation
This is tough at the moment, I know! Some of us can’t even remember the last holiday we had… I know I am one. So definitely taking this option once travel is back on.
Whilst I am not against a staycation on your gazetted long weekend, when it comes to planning an actual holiday – especially if air travel is involved, plan for a longer holiday. This way you fly less, thus creating less carbon emissions, get a better relaxation experience, and a deeper cultural immersion.
Choose Your Airline Carefully
Transportation is the largest portion of tourism’s carbon emissions. Sure it’s nice to travel around in your local region, but if you want to see the world, you will need to hop on a plane at one stage. So what can help you choose an airline that will help you reduce your carbon footprint?
Look for things like a set goal for cutting carbon, as well as initiative such as reduced number of flights/planes, increased number of direct flights, reduction in on-board weight (you may have heard of the removal of just one olive!), newer planes, slower flight speeds, addition of winglets (wing tip extensions), and reduced tarmac delays (burning fuel while idling is costly) Do they offer carbon offsetting? Do they have a proper maintenance plan that they follow? Do they reduce their waste by foregoing magazines, donating unused meals, recycling or they may even use biofuel for their charters?
And whilst, the airline’s effort to go green matters, so does yours! So what else can you do to reduce your carbon footprint?
Reduce Stop Overs (Unless you will stay for a while).
Take offs and landings are the biggest culprits at creating the carbon emissions of your air travel. So pick the quickest – least amount of stops – to get to your stop over.
This has always been my personal preference, it can be tough when you go from one end of the world to the other. So let’s face it, if you are traveling from Australia, anywhere in the world, you can always expect 2-3 stop overs at least ☹
As much as possible select direct flight options and the least amount of stops. Or… here is an idea, if you must land, why not stay for a while? Since you are on a longer holiday, you could look at picking a route that means you have mini holidays along the way. Why not?
We spoke about the airline reducing weight by removing olives, spoons and in-flight magazines… now it’s your turn! Seriously you do not have to take the kitchen sink with you on your holiday, or the whole shoe rack, or make up stand, the bookshelf or half your wardrobe, just in case…
How long are you going for? Can you do laundry whilst you are there? Will you even have time to read? Can you get by with one shade of lipstick? Choose to impress less and live a little more whilst you are on break!
Choose to travel with Small Groups
Small group tours are awesome! You get to meet new people, (when you travel with us) you have a local tour guide who has the experience and knows the ins and outs of places, you get to where you meant to go and at the same time you reduce your carbon footprint by using one mode of transport for the whole group, rather than traveling alone.
Eat Local, Stay Local, Buy Local
You hear me go on about this one over and over! Because it is important.
When in Cuba, stay in local casas, use the local guides services, eat at the paladars, and buy the local art – all of which are outstanding! It also promotes employment and supports the local communities – from farmers to casa owners, cooks and all their families.
Even drink local – mojitos are great, and as they are made locally less Co2 was used to produce it than that white wine from Chile or Spain.
So skip the hotel and get among it!
Be Mindful of Local Resources
Water is a big one in Cuba as most places have water tanks, not your everyday town water services that you are used to. So be mindful not to be running water unnecessarily. Electricity is the next. No need to run the aircon when you are not there, or leave the lights, TV or any other electrical devices on. Where possible turn things off before you leave your room.
This also means to embrace the challenges, such as reduced water pressure or power outages. It is part of every day life here.
Say No to Plastic
This is one of the reasons we ask you to bring your own water bottle. But also means say no to plastic bags – or don’t bring things packed in plastic.
If you do happen to have things in plastic, make sure that you dispose of it in the correct manner.