How to carbon offset your next holiday

Footprints and Photos - How to carbon offset your trip

Actively choosing to reduce our carbon use and emissions is a great way to ensure our holidays are ‘green‘. Choosing to ride a bike rather than catch a taxi. Choosing to catch a train rather than a plane. Whilst I agree with this approach, there is still those unavoidable activities that we can try to offset.

But what is carbon offsetting, and how do I do it? Read on for a guide on how to carbon offset your next holiday.

Footprints and Photos - how to carbon offset your next trip

Taking the scenic route – train over plane.

What is carbon offsetting?

Carbon offsetting refers to paying a fee based on the amount of carbon emitted for a given activity. For example, burning fuel to power a car releases carbon emissions. We could all ride a bike to prevent the release of carbon (definitely the preferred option) but that’s not always possible. Instead, we can offset. Driving a medium sized car burns on average 4.3 tonnes CO2-e a year. At a cost of ~$14 per tonne of CO2-e, an annual donation amount of ~$60 can be made towards tree planting or investment in renewable energy. Like I said, this does not undo the carbon released but does help in carbon capture (trees) or making renewable energy more accessible.

Carbon emitted per tonne  X  price of carbon per tonne  =  donation amount

4.3 tonnes  X  $14/tonne  =  $60 donation

Footprints and Photos - How to carbon offset your next trip

The more wind and solar farms we can build, the cheaper the technology will become and our reliance on fossil fuels will hopefully reduce.

How do I carbon offset?

Head to Greenfleet for an easy way to carbon offset. Here, you can enter in the activities you have done as a business or individual that have released large amounts of carbon. The web calculator then does the maths and lets you know the donation payable. I am a fan of Greenfleet because evidence of their ‘green’ investments is openly broadcast – we need to know our money is going to the right place.

Greenfleet is Australia’s first carbon offset provider – established in 1997. They are a not-for-profit organisation that has so far planted over 8.7 million native trees in biodiverse forests.

Alternatively, a number of travel organisations offer carbon offsetting at the time of booking, or conveniently have pledged to remain 100% carbon neutral. This means that the company takes care of all offsetting so you don’t need to! Check out Intrepid Travel who supports wind farms in Turkey for example.

Footprints and Photos - How to carbon offset your next trip

Planting native trees helps to recapture and store carbon.

How does carbon offsetting help my trip?

Offsetting allows the traveler to enjoy guilt free travel. I’m an Australian and so understand as well as most that flying is inevitable in today’s world. Being Australian, I have little in the way of alternatives to gas guzzling flights. By offsetting my flights using companies like Greenfleet, or at the time of booking direct with airlines, I can rest assured that my trip won’t cost the earth.

Donations to Greenfleet over $2 are tax deductible – win-win!

Reduction is still key

Whilst offsetting helps with the unavoidable carbon emissions, reduction is still the best method. That’s why I choose overland travel where I can. Many counties have fantastic public transport which allows a great way to see the sights and interact with the locals. Alternatively, joining an overland travel group cuts down on more than just individual transport emissions – learn more here.

Footprints and Photos - How to carbon offset your next trip

Often unavoidable and rarely enjoyable, flying is one activity we can all offset.

What else can I do?

By making the choice to be green, we really can make a difference. The United Nations (UN) has dubbed 2017 the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. My friend over at SoulTravelBlog has compiled some more tips on how to keep your next trip a sustainable one – check it out here.

What choices will you make to ensure your next trip is eco-friendly?