5 ways to make your holiday more eco-friendly

With warmer weather often comes more travelling, as folks across Australia hit the road to experience new sights, visit family for the holidays and take getaways to ring in the new year. Holidaymaking is fun and healthy for your mental well-being, but if done the wrong way, it can be terrible for the health of the planet.

Not content to give up your holiday plans? No worries! There are a variety of methods for travel in harmony with the planet. If you're interested in greening your travel plans, there are a number of ways to do so.

Choose an efficient transportation method

According to an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report titled 'Aviation and the Global Atmosphere', air transportation creates more than 600 million tonnes of carbon emissions each year. This is a number that will continue to grow as more and more people in the developing world become financially able to travel by air. Not only that, the report found that approximately 3.5 per cent of global warming is the result of human air travel – an astonishing figure.

Flying to your destination is the most carbon-intensive way of getting around. There are some cases, such as overseas travel, in which you don't have much choice but to fly. In other scenarios, however, you'd be much kinder to the environment to take a train

According to a report titled 'Aviation and Global Climate Change' put forth by the organisation Friends of the Earth, air travel creates about 0.17 kg/km of carbon emissions per 500-km trip. By comparison, car travel creates 0.14 kg/km, with rail and boat being the most sustainable options at 0.052 and 0.047 kg/km, respectively.

Pack smartly

When it comes to luggage and bags, consider using varieties made of recycled materials. This not only reduces your carbon footprint, it allows you to purchase strong, high-quality products that will help transport your goods from place to place. Eco-friendly backpacks are great choice for daytime travel.

Consider ecotourism

Ecotourism refers to travel opportunities that spread the word about important topics in science and environmental subjects. Ecotourism is a broad category – it could mean a hiking and camping tour through Tasmania in which you study the native wildlife and threats to the natural habitat. Alternatively, it could mean time spent at a serene coastal resort that incorporates yoga, all-natural food, wellness education and sustainability workshops.

Choose eco-friendly lodging

Hotels consume vast amounts of electricity and resources, but you can do your part to minimise the impact of your travels by selecting lodging that's easy on the planet. One option you may want to consider is pursuing a homestay or shared lodging situation. The popular website Airbnb, which allows users to select rooms in other users' apartments to crash on, released a study saying that their method of travel resulted in a 63 per cent decline in energy use over traditional hotel stays.

If Airbnb isn't your style, you still have options. Green hotels are popping up everywhere – when you make your lodging reservations, seek out a place that markets itself as eco-friendly. These hotels often use energy-saving practices, such as washing sheets and towels less regularly throughout your stay and serving locally raised foods whenever possible.

Minimise packaging use

Finally, instead of purchasing disposable travel sized shampoos, conditioners, body washes and toothpastes, simply buy reusable small containers that you can fill up from the bottles you have at home. This way, you can take the products with you and save space on the road, while also being able to reuse the packages again and again.

With a little foresight and attention to detail, there are plenty of ways to ensure your holidaymaking is easy on the earth.