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Traveling responsibly has many aspects - cultural sensitivity as well as environmental impacts.
Daily local travel choices affect not only the environment, but your health, peace of mind, and finances:
- Minimize car use, or car pool if you do need to go by car.
- Walk and cycle - to think people pay to keep fit, when this way you actually save money!
On long journeys, consider taking a long time in a place, rather than just flying there for a few days.
And if you fly to a far away country and spend 2-4 weeks (instead of 1 week) on holiday vacation in the same place, you can next year take a vacation trip on a much shorter distance where you can choose train or bus it also helps a lot on lowering your long-term average impact.
A new trend in northern europe during the last financial crisis was : "Stay-cation", vacation form of staying at home and doing many short daily trips where you and your family travel short distances, so you can conveniently be sleeping in your own house every two nights. It is much easier to plan travel methods by bus and train because you already know routes, structure and certain details of how your local bus and train companies work.
Travel mode - fly, train, bus, ship, bike...
Flying has a big impact, but alternatives such as travel by ship, bus and train are often considered inconvenient and actually often more expensive. So what to do?
- Does carbon offset actually work? Which are the best offset schemes, do they actually make a difference at all?
- Considering how much can be saved by buying plane tickets wisely and well in advance (sometimes 80% or even more) some of those savings could be used to buy a large amount of offsets - to more than offset your carbon impact.
- Do you need to travel? If it's for recreation, is there an option closer to home, even accessible by train or other lower-impact transport mode, that avoids the damaging impact of flying?
- Especially buying 2 or 3 months or more in advance, doing plenty of comparison shopping and being flexible about dates. Regarding being flexible about dates, one interesting option is SkyScanner, where the date input includes a "whole month" option (which sometimes works but not always). If you find a great price through a site such as this, just be sure to use the savings responsibly - rather than traveling more, consider using some of your savings on carbon offsets, or supporting renewable energy research or another great environmental cause.