Taking an eco-friendly trip to Europe is a great way to explore the continent while minimising your environmental impact, and there are many ways to make your European adventure more sustainable. Beginning with the selection of your destination and deciding how you and your luggage will get there to what to eat on arrival there are lots of areas to make eco-friendly choices. They don’t have to be major decisions; every little helps, so here are 7 ways to take an eco-friendly trip to Europe…

No. 1 – Sustainable Transport

Choosing sustainable transportation while travelling is an excellent way to reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to environmental conservation. Public buses, subways, metros and trains are often more energy-efficient than individual cars since they can carry a larger number of passengers. If renting a car is necessary, consider opting for an electric or hybrid vehicle. These vehicles produce fewer emissions compared to traditional petrol powered cars. Mobile phone apps can offer lots of eco-friendly transportation options in the area you are visiting from ride sharing, to alternative transport such as electric scooters or bikes. They can also help you optimise routes and plan your itinerary to minimise travel distances and choose the most efficient options. Remember, the most sustainable option will depend on the specific circumstances of your trip and the available infrastructure at your destination. By making conscious choices, you can contribute to the reduction of your environmental impact while travelling.

No. 2 – Explore on Foot or by Bike

Opting for centrally located accommodations is a great idea. Staying in the heart of the city provides easy access to major attractions, restaurants, and entertainment options. This can save you time and money on transportation. While centrally located accommodations may seem more expensive at first, you can potentially save money on transportation costs. If you’re close to most of the places you want to visit, you won’t need to spend as much on taxis, buses, or other forms of transportation. By staying in the city centre, you immerse yourself in the local culture. You’ll likely be surrounded by locals, and you can easily explore nearby neighbourhoods, markets, and hidden gems that might be overlooked if you stayed in a more touristy area. Choosing accommodations that allow you to explore on foot or by bike reduces your reliance on carbon-emitting transportation methods, contributing to a more sustainable travel experience. Plus Walking or biking is a healthier option. Remember to check reviews and amenities when selecting accommodations to ensure they meet your preferences and needs. Whether it’s a boutique hotel, a local bed and breakfast, or a vacation rental, there are often centrally located options that cater to various budgets and travel styles.

No. 3 – Stay in Eco-Friendly Accommodations

Look for hotels, hostels, or guesthouses that have eco-friendly certifications or practices. When searching for accommodations, use specific keywords like “eco-friendly,” “sustainable,” or “green” in your search queries to help narrow down the options. Always verify the information through multiple sources to ensure the accuracy of the eco-friendly claims. Many accommodations now focus on reducing their energy consumption, waste, and water usage. Websites like “BookDifferent” and “Ecobnb” specifically focus on eco-friendly accommodations. They provide information on the environmental practices of hotels, hostels, and guesthouses. Once you’ve identified potential places, don’t hesitate to contact them directly. Ask about their specific eco-friendly practices, certifications, and any recent initiatives. Check reviews on various platforms to see what other travellers have said about the eco-friendliness of a particular accommodation. This can provide insights into the actual practices and experiences of guests.

No. 4 – Reduce Single-Use Plastics

That’s a great suggestion! Bringing a reusable water bottle and shopping bag is an excellent way to reduce your environmental impact by minimising single-use plastics. Many European cities indeed have water fountains or designated refill stations where you can easily fill up your water bottle. This not only helps you stay hydrated but also contributes to the reduction of plastic waste. Also using a reusable shopping bag is another simple yet effective step in reducing plastic waste. Many countries and cities around the world are implementing measures to discourage the use of single-use plastic bags, so having your own reusable bag can be both environmentally friendly and convenient. By incorporating these habits into your daily routine, you contribute to a more sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle. It’s a small change that can make a big difference in the long run.

No. 5 – Eat Local and Seasonal

Enjoy the local cuisine made from seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. This not only supports the local economy but also reduces the carbon footprint associated with transporting food long distances.

No. 6 – Offset Your Carbon Footprint

Consider purchasing carbon offsets for your travel to compensate for the emissions generated during your trip. Many organisations offer carbon offset programs that invest in renewable energy or reforestation projects. The idea behind purchasing carbon offsets is to compensate for the greenhouse gas emissions produced during activities such as travel. When you engage in activities that generate carbon emissions, like flying or driving, you can buy carbon offsets to fund projects that reduce or capture an equivalent amount of greenhouse gases elsewhere. Determine the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases emitted during your activities, such as a flight or road trip. You can then buy carbon offsets from organisations that specialise in carbon offset programs. These programs often invest in projects like renewable energy (wind, solar, etc.) or reforestation, which help offset or capture the equivalent amount of carbon emissions. It’s important to choose reputable carbon offset programs that adhere to recognized standards. Certifications like the Gold Standard, Verified Carbon Standard, and the Clean Development Mechanism can ensure that the offset projects are scientifically sound and have a genuine impact. Carbon offsets can be a valuable tool in the larger strategy to combat climate change, but they should not replace efforts to reduce emissions at the source. It’s crucial to combine offsetting with personal lifestyle changes and support for policies that promote sustainability. Additionally, staying informed about the effectiveness of the offset projects you support ensures that your contributions genuinely make a positive impact on the environment.

No. 7 – Educate Yourself on Local Environmental Issues

Understanding local environmental challenges and initiatives is crucial for making informed decisions and contributing to sustainability efforts. Look into local environmental challenges specific to the region. This could include issues like air and water quality, deforestation, habitat destruction, waste management, and more. Utilise online resources, local government reports, and environmental organisations to gather information. These organisations are usually at the forefront of sustainability initiatives and can provide information on ongoing projects and campaigns. By taking these steps, you can become more aware of the environmental challenges in your local community and actively contribute to sustainable initiatives. Remember that every small effort counts, and collective action can make a significant difference in addressing environmental issues.

Remember, the key to an eco-friendly trip is to be mindful of your impact and make choices that contribute to the well-being of both the environment and local communities.