4 Tips for Taking a Sustainable Trip to Europe
Go green as you travel Europe this summer by following these simple, environmentally-friendly and sustainable travel tips—from taking public transport to bringing your own to-go containers.
Planning to spend the summer traveling around Europe, but worried about your environmental footprint? That’s understandable in this day and age. Travelers today need to stay woke about their impact on the planet!
And while it’s true that traveling across the pond isn’t the most sustainable move—from the flights, to the trains, to hotels and eating out, don’t feel that you have to stay home or cancel your trip.
Your European getaway doesn’t have to be a total loss for Planet Earth. Just taking time as a traveler to be aware of your impact can go a long way. Sustainable travel means making the right choices at every level of the trip, from your gear, to choosing an eco-friendly destination, to how you approach travel.
Follow the stainable travel tips below for going green as you explore Europe this summer.
1. Take a Direct Flight
It might cost a bit more to take a direct flight to your destination. If you are looking to
reduce your travel carbon footprint this year, though, it’s the way to go. A non-stop flight
will use the least amount of fuel. (Take off and landing is when the majority of carbon
emissions take place.) If you are going deeper into Europe and a direct flight isn’t possible, consider flying into a hub city like Frankfurt or Amsterdam and then traveling by bus or train to your destination.
2. Pack a Water Bottle, Silverware, Tupperware & More
As a tourist, it can feel frustrating to see the number of plastic bottles and paper plates that pile up in the trash next to your favorite creperie stand. Stand your ground against waste as a sustainable traveler by avoiding single-use plastic and packaging. Pack your own tableware—including a water bottle, silverware kit, and metal straw. You can also pack snacks in Tupperware or other to-go glassware for the flight. Once you arrive, hand them directly to vendors daily to pack with a sandwich or even gelato to save the plastic wrappers and boxes.
You can also buy a reusable market or grocery bag from a local store to carry picnic supplies and consider it a souvenir when you get home!
3. Take Public Transport
You’re heading to Europe, and its fantastic public transportation options are world-renewed. Avoid Uber and taxis and instead navigate the buses, trolleys, and trains.
In cities like Amsterdam and Copenhagen, do as the locals do and bike instead of driving. Walking on your own two feet is also arguably the best way to explore a new place.
Even though most tourist destinations are considered safe, always try to be aware of your belongings when you are on public transportation. Lock away your larger bags at your hotel or hostel and just travel with a cross body that safely holds the essentials you’ll need for a day out exploring.
4. Pack responsibly
How you choose to travel once you get to Europe matters. But keep in mind, your sustainable travel journey can start even before you leave home! Making a smart choice in luggage for your trip across the Atlantic can go a long way, too. Pick out a carry-on duffel that’s made with eco-friendly fabrics that are safe for the environment and the workers who made it. Then consider what to pack and how: Organize and save space with a compression sac set. (You can always rinse out your dirty laundry in the hotel’s sink and hang it to dry if you are going to multiple countries and don’t want to waste water on running a laundry machine.)
Sustainable travel is possible within Europe, and it’s actually pretty easy once you have the right tips and sustainable gear for your journey.
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By Jane Chertoff on March 17, 2020
Jane Chertoff is a freelance lifestyle writer who enjoys traveling and exploring with her Chihuahua, Cesar. Follow her adventures on Instagram.