How to travel more sustainably

When we travel, we learn more about each other and the world. Here are some tip to help you make your travel more sustainable.

Travel changes you as a person, says journalist Vibeke Montero. She is the travel reporter for Norwegian daily VG and has written about both travel destinations and the travel industry. 
“We need to get out in the world and put things in perspective. To understand that you can by happy without having to spend a fortune. Traveling has taught me that design and having loads of wonderful possessions don't mean that much. Traveling makes us more humble and that’s something worth being as a person. It helps us grow,” she says.

Travel reporter Vibeke Montero says that traveling gives us new perspectives. Climate concern

Montero is not alone. We love to travel. UNWTO counted 1.4 billion tourist arrivals in 2016. Over the course of the first six months of 2019, the number of international tourist arrivals has increased by four percent compared with the same period in 2018. The World Tourism Organization expects this number to increase to 1.8 billion by 2030. It’s argued that travel is important for us as people. 

Around 60 percent of the respondents to a CICERO Center for Climate Research in Oslo survey stated that they’re not prepared to stop flying. At the same time, however, we Scandinavians are concerned about the environment and climate change. 

According to a survey by CICERO, over 30 percent of people in Norway say they have a responsibility to support policies that reduce climate changing emissions. 

People in Denmark also feel a responsibility to the environment. The Danish Climate Barometer shows that 75 percent of respondents say that their municipality ought to invest in sustainable solutions within transport, energy usage and waste management.

In Sweden, 70 percent of respondents in a survey commissioned by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, say that they can imagine paying more for a product or service if the company behind the product seeks to limit climate changing emissions. 

Sterke naturopplevelser bidrar til at folk blir mer opptatt av å bevare natur og miljlø. Her fra Senja i Nord-Norge.Foto: Alexander Benjaminsen/Visit Norway

Enjoy nature

According to data from the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA), nature experiences boost commitment to nature.

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“We have performed research where we have surveyed people before and after they have been in direct contact with nature on guided tours and how their attitude changes. You can see how their understanding of nature changes and influences how they feel after such tours. People who have extensive encounters with nature become good environment ambassadors,” says senior researcher in Ecology, Nina Eide at NINA. “It affects you emotionally and gives you a better understanding that you take with you. In a different situation, you would perhaps not have acquired such knowledge. This adds up to greater concern for the environment and the load we put on it.”

But travel doesn’t simply do something for you as a person. Tourism contributes to economic growth in the countries you visit. The global tourism industry had an annual turnover of an incredible $ 1.7 trillion in 2018.

“Growth in the tourist industry confirms that the sector is one of the strongest drivers of the economy and development,” says Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili in a press release.

14 tips to travel more sustainably

Oslo is the Green Capital 2019. Photo: Shutterstock

1. Choose destinations that are tackling climate change and environment problems

Why not travel to a place that is working to reduce emissions and create a healthy environment for humans and other forms of life? Copenhagen has set the goal of becoming the world's first climate neutral capital city. Lisbon has been named European Green Capital 2020 for its efforts to expand public transport and reduce climate change emissions. They have been passed the baton from Oslo that is the European Green Capital this year. Events have been arranged throughout the year to provide more information about the environment and climate - that are both educational and fun.

SAS has one of the world's most environmentally friendly aircraft fleets.

2. Choose airlines with a modern aircraft fleet

New aircraft are more fuel efficient than older aircraft. SAS has therefore introduced the A320neo, a new type of aircraft that is 15 to 18 percent more fuel efficient than previous generations of aircraft. SAS has ordered 80 of this new type and already has several already in service. SAS upgrades its fleet on an ongoing basis with the world’s most fuel efficient aircraft on the market. By choosing SAS, you can be sure you fly with an airline that has one of the most ambitious environment programs in the sector and one that will deliver a substantial reduction in harmful emissions in the years to come. Another bonus is that this type of aircraft is also more pleasant to fly with. The noise level on the A320neo is 50 percent lower than other aircraft. It also has more comfortable seats, more legroom and mood lighting. With high speed WiFi onboard, you can also stream movies and music as well ad surf the internet.

3. Be hotel wise

Keep on making environmentally-smart choices when you arrive. For example, you can use less water by taking a shorter shower. Make sure you choose a hotel that is energy smart, pollutes less and that takes its social responsibility. If you stay at a Nordic Choice Hotel, you can reduce cleaning and laundry services and the savings in cost are donated to Unicef. Reuse, recycle and reduce consumption. In Oslo you can check in at the energy smart PS:Hotel. There, they provide work experience for people looking to boost their CVs. In Paris meanwhile, stay at Hotel Gavarni which is carbon-neutral certified. Sleep tight!

4. Avoid single-use items

Take your own drinks bottle instead of buying water in a plastic bottle. Drinking straws are usually totally unnecessary.

More cities are trying to make it easier to get around town on a bike.

5. Think about your local travel

In many cities, you can rent a bike or scooter to get around, which is not only environment friendly, but also good for your body and soul.

By shopping locally, you contribute to the community.

Shop local

Global tourism has a daily turnover of $5 billion, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council. This means tourism is an important revenue source. By shopping locally, you not only give local people and the country revenue that helps put food on the table, but also goes towards measures to protect vulnerable nature. There are plenty of good examples all round the world. And maybe you should restrict your spending a bit so your baggage home is not as heavy?

7. Choose sustainable activities

It can be wise to choose activities where the money you spend goes to protect nature, wildlife or culture. Many countries offer visitors amazing experiences that generate revenues that go towards both wildlife and cultural treasures.

8. Fly direct

Flying with an airline that takes you to your favorite destination non-stop, means fewer take offs and landings, which are the parts of a flight that are most fuel heavy and cause the highest emissions.

Do not bring more than you need on your trip. Photo: Shutterstock

9. Travel light

The lighter the aircraft, the less fuel is needed. Pack light and smart, in other words. You can now find cases that are much lighter. And it's more enjoyable to travel with less baggage.

On board SAS flights, you can look forward to a seasonal menu that is both tasty and sustainable.

10. Preorder meals in advance

When you order food onboard in advance, this not only reduces food waste, but also the weight of food loaded onto the flight. SAS strives to use the least possible packaging. Maybe you've already seen the new smart cubes from SAS? They contain both your meal and everything else you need, and you can also get side dishes. The cubes contain healthy, delicious and sustainable food based on seasonal produce. The new concept literally gives you more elbow room. When you’ve finished, you simply pack everything into the cube and free up your tray table.

11. Check in online

Check in to your flight via the SAS app. You will then save both trees and paper as your boarding card will be safely saved in the app. Simply download the SAS app from the App Store or Google Play. And 24 hours before departure, you can download newspapers, magazines and even Scandinavian Traveler to your mobile device. To give you plenty of good reading matter onboard.

12. Arrive in good time

Punctuality is crucial for SAS and its customers. If there are any delays, the flight will have to raise the tempo, which means increased emissions. You can help ensure fewer delays by arriving in good time for boarding and check in any large cabin baggage to avoid problems.

13. Offset CO2 emissions

SAS carbon offsets the flights of EuroBonus members. Make sure you join today. Always enter your EB number when booking. How it works: The CO2 emissions your booking generates, are offset with emission reducing measures in renewable energy projects. For instance, this can go to wind farms in Asia that replace fossil fuel energy production, or to transmit wind power to networks in China and India. Natural Capital Partners manage these projects. You can calculate your CO2 emissions yourself with this calculator: sasgroup.net/en/emission-calculator-and-carbon-offset

14. Buy biofuel

When you fly, you can buy environment friendly biofuel corresponding to all or part of your flight when you book with SAS. How it works: You buy biofuel in units corresponding to the distance flown in 20 minutes. Each unit costs about €9. If you book a 60-minute flight and wish to replace fossil fuel with 20-minute units of biofuel, each unit will be the equivalent of 33 percent of your fuel consumption. The fuel will not necessarily be used on your flight, it can be used in other parts of the SAS network.

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