How To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint While Traveling The World

Source: The TerraMar Project

Photo: Ashim D Silva/Unsplash


Simply put – if you travel the world you have a large carbon footprint. And this probably comes as an unfortunate reality to many environmentalists out there.

Although we preach about our climate approaching catastrophe, we as conservationists continuously board flights to attend conferences, conduct research, and enjoy what we love most – the ocean.

Ironic isn’t it?

So how can we reduce our carbon emissions when there really is no alternative to flying? As much as I would like to ride my bike or carpool from NYC to the Caribbean, there remains a literal ocean between us.

Global tourism produces about 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions, but we can reduce that. Here’s how…

1. Offset your trip with Carbon Credits

Improvise, adapt, overcome.

Since there’s often no alternative to flying, and flying releases LOTS of greenhouse gases into our atmosphere, what should we do?

The only real solution is to pull that carbon out of the atmosphere.

But one does not simply suck an entire plane’s-worth of carbon out from the atmosphere.

That’s where Carbon Credits come in. When you purchase carbon credits, you fund projects around the world that pull Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) out of the atmosphere, or keep them out altogether. For every metric ton of GHG that a project mitigates (example: restoring mangrove/rainforest habitat), one carbon credit is created. A carbon credit can be purchased by an individual, a business, or a government to balance or eliminate their carbon footprint by one ton. If any of these entities purchase as many carbon credits as they produce emissions, they are considered to be “carbon neutral,”—reducing as much carbon as they emit.

Purchase carbon credits today through our partnership with Carbon Credit Capital! We’ve made it possible for you to reduce emissions from a whole trip, not just your flights!

Photo by Ross Parmly on Unsplash

2. Book Non-Stop Flights

Planes release the most emissions during take off, , because airplane engines need to be fired at full power to lift the plane off the ground. At altitudes higher than 10,000 feet engines are more efficient and use less fuel. Therefore, the more times you have to take off, the more high intensity emissions miles you will produce as a passenger. While jet fuel emissions are more impactful at higher altitudes, the emissions from takeoff for two flights will always outweigh the emissions from just one.

3. Explore a city by bike!

Once you arrive at your travel destination and have both feet firmly on the ground, you can take so many different actions to reduce your carbon footprint.

Our favorite is opting to see a city by bike instead of driving! It’s fun, healthy, and a great way to see a location from a local perspective. More and more, cities around the world are becoming more pedestrian-friendly. Some cities are even beginning to ban cars, making it safer to ride around on two wheels.

Photo by hannah persson on Unsplash

4. Eat lower on the food chain

Our diets—specifically meat (beef and lamb are the worst)—are a significant source of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Cows spend their days roaming around pastures (which can and often do lead to deforestation of virgin forest), belching and farting—which releases methane into the atmosphere. Methane if you didn’t already know, is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Over 100 years, methane is as much as 25 times as potent as CO2. Simply cutting red meat out of your diet can reduce your footprint from eating by as much as 50%.

So try a Meatless Monday while on vacation, and experience a local vegetarian dish!

5. Book environmentally friendly accommodations

We all know by now that it’s more environmentally friendly to reuse your towel during your stay at local hotels. However, while laundry is a significant portion of hotels’ energy and greenhouse gas emissions, the way the hotel is run makes the biggest difference.

The average estimated carbon footprint per night per room in a hotel is upwards of 96 kilograms. That’s over 211 pounds, and it means that we create more greenhouse gas emissions than the average weight of a single human being every night we stay at hotels that aren’t proactive about their impacts.

There’s more to it than just emissions, some hotels avoid the use of conventional industrial cleaners with harsh chemicals, and incorporate living plant life in rooms and common areas to help further purify the indoor climate. Stay on the lookout to see if any hotels in your destination city have eco-criteria listed for your benefits.

Photo: Brian Yurasits

This article was produced in collaboration with our partners at Carbon Credit Capital – learn how you can offset your carbon footprint from a trip to the beach today!