A big part of sustainable travel is determining the best ways to reach your destinations. Most of us will have chosen air travel at some point in our lives. But eco travel involves seeking out greener and less polluting solutions for getting from A to B. So what are the most sustainable ways to get from A to B? In this article, we’ll take a look at travel by air, road, rail and sea, to help you work out how best to travel without it, quite literally, costing the earth. www.travelrows.com
Can Air Travel Ever Be A Sustainable Choice?
Traveling by plane is currently always going to be a harmful option for our planet. Unfortunately, planes not only release high quantities of CO2 – they also release it high in the atmosphere, where it can have a more profound effect on global warming.
In the future, however, there is some hope that solar flight could herald in and new and sustainable era for aerial travel. Until such technology comes of age, however, eco travel involves trying to avoid air travel whenever possible.
Sustainable Travel By Road
So, you don’t want to fly. So can you travel by road? Driving your own vehicle or hiring one could be another potential way to get from A to B. But choosing a vehicle powered by fossil fuels (by gas or diesel) will, of course, also contribute to climate change and other forms of pollution. As we move to transition to a zero carbon future, green travel involves seeking out other, less damaging ways to travel by road.
An electric vehicle fully powered using renewable electricity is, of course, your best option for longer-distance travel by road. But an electric vehicle is only as good as the power it uses. If renewable energy is not available in the area where you are traveling, you could still be just as reliant on harmful fossil fuels.
Another problem is that the infrastructure for electric vehicles does not yet exist in many parts of the world. Where charging points are few and far between, a plug-in hybrid could be a good compromise until the world catches up. A hybrid vehicle will, of course, still use fossil fuels, but you may be able to use far less than you would in an older vehicle.
Another thing to consider is that the impact of your travel will be lessened if there are multiple people all traveling in the same vehicle. Consider taking a bus to your destination (especially if electric buses are available), or enjoying a road trip with friends or family rather than traveling alone or as a couple in your vehicle.
Sustainable Travel By Rail
Travel by train might be an even more sustainable option for travel on land. While diesel trains are still polluting and damaging to the environment, they are still better than conventional road vehicles. Electric trains can be even better, especially where they are powered by renewable sources of energy. Train travel can be a romantic and sustainable way to get from A to B, and could broaden your range for an eco travel adventure.
Sustainable Travel On Water
Depending on where in the world you live, travel may also involve crossing the water. Crossing an ocean, sea or large lake by boat can be far more sustainable than flying across it. Of course, it will also take a lot longer. But the journey can be part of the adventure.
But when it comes to sustainability, and eco travel credentials, not all ships were created equal. Many major cruise line vessels are also extremely harmful to the environment. Not only do they have a heavy carbon cost and contribute to global warming, they can also cause damage to fragile aquatic ecosystems. So it is important to research your options before you decide to travel by ship.
Solar ships and sailing ships offer more natural and sustainable eco travel solutions. By traveling on water using the power of the sun or the power of the wind, you can enjoy a more natural and less damaging adventure. Where you cannot find options of these kinds, be sure to choose a cruise ship or other boat which runs on more environmentally friendly fuel.
Slow Travel Options For Getting From A to B
When choosing an eco travel option, however, it is always best to consider slow travel. Slow travel involves getting from A to B under your own steam. Such travel will, of course, take far more time, and you will not be able to venture as far as you might be able to using other forms of transportation.
Nonetheless, going further and doing more will not necessarily equate to a more exciting or fulfilling eco travel experience. You can often experience the wonders of nature not far from your own backyard and still have an absolutely amazing time. Slow travel involves trading a wide-ranging adventure for seeing a particular area in much more depth. And sometimes that can be an excellent trade off to make.
Slow travel options might include:
- horse-back riding
- horse and cart travel
- horse and caravan travel
- camel rides
- paddle boarding
- row boat travel
- river rafting
- yacht sailing
As you can see from the above list, slow travel will be slow, but is most definitely does not have to be a boring way to get from A to B! Not only are these options the most sustainable ways to travel, they can also allow you to reach places that you would not otherwise be able to go, if you relied only on motorized forms of transport.
Author of our ‘green’ articles is Elizabeth Waddington – a professional writer and a consultant on topics related to permaculture, sustainability, green living and eco travel.