Everything You Need to Know About Sustainable Travel

Our top tips for reducing your impact while traveling

Did you know that besides walking and biking, traveling by train is the most environmentally friendly mode of transportation? Trains produce around 66 to 75 percent less carbon compared to cars and planes. It means that when you go on a trip with the same route, you contribute around 3 times less than traveling by car and around 4 times less than traveling by plane. Whether it is energy consumption, use of space, or noise levels, trains are also more sustainable compared to those two modes of transportation.

Want to see for yourself? If you want to calculate your carbon footprints, you can try to count them using this carbon calculator – www.ecopassenger.org. This website allows you to calculate environmental impacts such as the energy consumption and the CO2 emissions produced from traveling by train, car and plane. 

Flights don’t only produce higher CO2 emissions compared to the train – when you travel by plane the distance you need to travel to the airport also contributes more carbon footprints as airports are often somewhere outside the city while train stations are usually in the city center. Therefore, if you plan to discover Europe, traveling by train with a Eurail/Interrail Pass is your most sustainable option. But if you want to travel more sustainably here are some tips to support sustainable travel even further.

Travel hiker taking photo of Lake Braies in Dolomites Mountains, Italy

Take regional trains

It’s worth knowing that different types of train produce different carbon footprints. High-speed trains need more fuel than the regional trains since they need to keep up with their fast speed. Moreover, when you use a Eurail/Interrail Pass, most of the time you don’t need to reserve a seat in regional trains. While regional trains are slower and have many stops compared to high-speed trains, these give you advantages to discover charming unknown spots and change your plan at the last minute. Traveling by regional train gives you a chance to enjoy flexible travel so if you miss your train you can simply board the next one. More importantly, by traveling by train instead of plane you are already a sustainable traveler, but you can lower your CO2 emissions even further when you travel by regional train.

Regional train in Catalonia

Don’t litter and pack eco-friendly travel essentials

Furthermore, if you are still willing to contribute less damage to the environment and be a responsible traveler, the most important action you can do is to always bring your trash back with you. It is better to never leave anything behind and keep your travel destination clean. One of the ways to reduce your waste is to invest in some eco-friendly travel essentials.

Eco-friendly products such as a reusable water bottle, a grocery bag, or even a set of cutlery, can significantly cut down your plastic waste. Not only can you reuse these things and help to save the planet, but you can also save some money as you don’t need to buy any single-use product. Using your reusable mug, you can try a delicious coffee or local drinks on the go without using single-use cups. Moreover, your reusable water bottle can come in handy in most European countries, as they give you access to free tap water. 

Set of eco-friendly bamboo cutlery, eco bag and reusable coffee mug

Traditional brown houses in Amsterdam

Rent accommodation from the locals

One of the ways to travel sustainably is to rent accommodation from locals. By renting accommodation from locals, the money you paid goes directly to the economy of that place. In this way, you are not only giving your support to their local economy but canalsomeet and interact with the locals. Maybe you will get invited to their dinner! There are plenty of companies which provide a list of local accommodation, such as Airbnb and HouseTrip. 

Shop from local businesses

Not only accommodation, but you can also contribute more to support the locals by buying products from local businesses. What better way to get acquainted with the local culture of your destination than by eating local food and taking home souvenirs made by locals? Most countries in Europe have their ownsignaturedishes and delicacies. To find them, you can just visit the local markets where local street food and homemade food is often available. 

Spanish paella prepared at a street food market