Eco-Friendly Travel: Can Sustainable Travel Really Be Done?

We've touched on the ways you can make your day to day environment more sustainable, from waste-free work days to children's school lunches and even the waste-free road trip. But when you're thinking of planning your next escape or family holiday, can there ever be such a thing as eco-friendly travel? 

According to the latest travel insights from TripAdvisor's TripBarometer, Australians will be spending more money than ever in 2015 on various holidays and explorations. About half of us have reported that we are laying down more cash because we are planning longer trips (52 per cent) or a voyage to a dream destination (50 per cent). 

But how can you make the most of your holiday without letting down the planet? Here are a few eco-friendly travel ideas to get you thinking sustainability before you book your next holiday. 

Moody morning above Hong Kong watching the clouds roll past ☁️ @theritzcarlton #lifewelltravelled

A photo posted by Jessica Stein (@tuulavintage) on

Jun 5, 2015 at 3:37am PDT

Carbon offsetting your flights 

Paying a small fee to offset the carbon in your flights isn't anything new. But if you've not yet hit 'yes' for this particular check box when buying your flights, carbon offsetting is a simple way to be bit more mindful on your air journey. 

The principle behind it is that by adding an extra donation to the cost of your plane ticket, you help to support an airline's efforts to invest in carbon-neutral projects, such as planting trees or clean energy-based endeavours. Organisations such as the Gold Standard can help you to identify legitimate projects which will make a real difference in the world. 

According to research by Imperial College London, for every one tonne of carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere, approximately AU$850 will be put towards "economic, social and environmental benefits for local communities around the world." 

Overland or over sea 

Pack your bags everyone! While there feels like there is nothing quite so strong as the lure of budget flights, there are plenty of other great ways to get from A to B without the carbon dumping. If you're heading across to Europe or the States, travelling by rail is a great way keep emissions on your trip low – it's also a fantastic was to see more of the countryside. 

In addition, other intrepid travellers are booking passage the old fashioned way, by ship. Hit the high seas on a cargo ship and add to the adventure from the word 'go!'. 

"Due to the sheer size of the ships, the amount of energy taken up by transporting even 100 passengers is essentially negligible," muses the Guardian's Will Coldwell. 

A sustainable stay 

Once you've arrived at your destination and are strolling around in holiday bliss, all the good habits from home don't have to go out the window. If you're doing a lot of sightseeing, make sure you've got a reusable water bottle on hand. 

Recycle where possible, and don't litter, even if you see the locals doing it, advises Yale University. 

"Whether you are going to a highly-developed urban centre or rural setting in a less developed country, as a responsible tourist you should be knowledgeable about your destination, seek awareness of the impact that your presence has on the local population and environment, and attempt to minimise negative impacts," the university recommends. 

We hope these tips will help you to practice eco-friendly travel with our suggestions acting as inspiration on additional practices you can incorporate into your travel plans.