Travelling responsibly and being eco-friendly on holiday can be a challenge, here’s how I did it for my trip to Paris.
My love of the planet means two things:
- That I want to save it and
- That I want to travel around it.
Unfortunately, those two facts are often in competition with each other.
On the one hand, I’m all about reducing my impact on the world, cutting back on my waste and walking literally everywhere. On the other, I bloody love laying on the beach in super hot weather and exploring new cities. And, well, it’s just not possible to walk to distant cities or sunny beaches from my little home in the South-East of England!
It’s definitely one of those things that I’ve had to compromise on.
The truth is that it’s nearly impossible to make travelling 100% eco-friendly. So, for me, it’s just been a case of trying to make it as ethically and environmentally-conscious as I can, without missing out on the life experiences that I so badly want.
One city that’s been on my bucket list for years is Paris and, unless you don’t follow me on Insta for some godforsaken reason, you’ll probably know that I finally visited two weeks ago. Yes, I ate all of pastries and bread. Yes, I took a hell of a lot of cliched pictures in front of the Eiffel Tower. Yes, it was bloody glorious.
But on top of all of that, I really tried to maintain my eco-lifestyle whilst abroad instead of saying “F it! I’m on holiday!”
Responsible Travel Tip 1: Using the Eurostar
We all know that air travel is God awful for the environment by now, but I’m not sure that even I realised just how bad it was until I did the research.
Travelling from London to Paris and back again produces 244 Kg/CO2 per person when you go by plane. Comparatively, travelling by train produces just 22 Kg/CO2. That’s 91% fewer emissions if you opt for the Eurostar over air travel. Plus you get wifi the whole way, it was cheaper for us and you can just walk to their onboard cafe and get a cuppa. What’s not to love?
If you live in the UK, the Eurostar travels to Amsterdam, Avignon, Brussels, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Paris, and Rotterdam. Definitely bare it in mind the next time you want to take a city break!
Responsible Travel Tip 2: Shared transport to reduce emissions
Similarly, when we’d actually arrived in Paris we didn’t use taxis or Ubers. Instead, we opted for the more eco-conscious shared transportation available such as the Metro.
Thank you, City Mapper for being an absolute lifesaver when it came to planning our journeys and not getting lost!
Most of the time though, we just walked. Not only did it save us a tonne of money and reduce our emissions, but we found so many little gems whilst between tourist attractions that we definitely wouldn’t have come across if we’d got in a taxi.
Responsible Travel Tip 3: Not getting our room cleaned
I mean, seriously, who washes their bedding and towels daily at home? I know I certainly don’t.
So, I didn’t feel the need to get my sheets changed every bloody day whilst I was away either. In fact, I actively told the staff at our hotel not to clean our room by hanging one of those “do not disturb” signs on the door handle every time we left on our adventures.
Yay for saving water and energy!
Responsible Travel Tip 4: Same habits, different city
A lot of my waste saving whilst in France came from just continuing with the simple habits that I’ve created at home: Carrying a water bottle (Parisian tap water is safe to drink!), always having a tote bag on hand should I need it, and making sure that we ate and drank inside of cafes instead of getting things to take away.
Sure, it was a lot more difficult to ask someone with my very broken French to fill up my bottle, but I got there in the end. And it was worth it!
Responsible Travel Tip 5: Not falling into the “new wardrobe” trap
For me, holidays used to be synonymous with new clothes. As soon as I’d booked my flights, I’d get my butt down to Primark and buy as many completely new outfits as possible.
However, as I’ve spoken about many times before, fast fashion is awful for the planet. It generates absurd amounts of non-biodegradable waste, pollutes our water systems and most items of clothing have a huge carbon footprint.
Related Post: The Fundamentals of Fast Fashion: Why it’s fucked up