We all know that travelling can be pretty bad for the planet, with air travel being the main culprit. But here are a few simple steps you can take not to make it any worse, tailored to the classic mountain holiday.
BEFORE YOU LEAVE
Every kilo of weight increases the CO2 emissions of planes, trains and cars, so when you’re packing, think carefully about what you’re actually going to need while you’re away. Check the forecast, research what the weather is likely to be doing during your trip and pack accordingly. For example, if you’re going on a ski holiday in April you’re probably not going to need the same amount of layers as you would in January as it won’t be as cold.
Prepare Your Home
Unplug your electrics, turn all the lights off, turn the thermostat down, close all the windows, generally make sure your house or apartment is in energy-saving mode before you leave. Did you know that if something is plugged in at the wall and not being used (prime example: phone chargers) it can still leach out excess electricity? Unplug those appliances, save yourself money on your heating and electricity bill and leave the house feeling prepared.
Take your Reusable Coffee Cup, Water Bottle, Shopping and Produce Bags with You
When you’re travelling you can accumulate a lot of rubbish in a short space of time, but remembering your reusable kit will massively reduce that. It may be a cheesy thing to say, but climate change doesn’t take holidays, so when we’re travelling it’s important to remember to keep doing all the things we do at home to reduce waste. If you’re in Switzerland it’s also important to note that you CAN drink the water from taps in the toilets and in the mountains it’s generally safe to drink water from the troughs around town – tried and tested – but if you’re worried there are a range of filters available that make any water safe to drink.
Don’t Buy Travel-Sized Toiletries
While small, single use, plastic travel toiletries may help you save on packing space, they’re terrible for the planet. The best way to save on plastic is to buy in bulk and then refill, and there’s no reason you can’t do this with your toiletries, too. You can buy small reusable bottles from most pharmacies or supermarkets that you can fill up with your regular shampoo to take on holiday, or you can even reuse old bottles or pots you have lying around at home. You’d be surprised what you can use if you’re willing to get creative and plan in advance.
Invest in a Soap Box
If you already cut down on plastic by using a bar of soap instead of shower gel and shampoo bars instead of bottles, you’re in need of a soap box. Lush does a great selection of cork and tin boxes expressly for travel purposes, and you can also head to your local organic or camping shop to see what they have on offer. But again, you’d be surprised what you can find around the house that’s perfect for storing a bar of soap or shampoo for a week or two. Old moisturiser pots, sturdy glass jars and small Tupperwear containers work just as well.
ON THE MOVE
Carbon Offset Your Flight
If you have the option to carbon offset your flight, why not take it? It might cost you a bit more money (and it might be a bit of an ethical minefield), but it’s more about the statement than the extra dollar. If an airline sees more and more people offsetting the CO2 created by their flight, it shows them that their customers care about the planet and will encourage them to think more about their environmental initiatives. (Hopefully.) Too many companies fail to implement impactful environmental policies because they say their customers don’t want to pay a premium for products and services that take the environment into account. Let’s spend a few extra bucks to prove them wrong, and thus, help make ‘premium’ eco-friendly services more accessible to everyone.
Or Better Yet, Take the Train
The same theory applies to train travel. While it’s widely accepted as the most eco-friendly form of transport to the Alps, it takes longer (especially if you’re not travelling from London), it’s more expensive than flying and you often end up having to schlep across Paris or London with all your ski or bike gear. Not ideal. But the more people who use the train to get to the Alps, the more likely it is for rail networks to improve their routes, prices and services.
Think About Your Airport Transfers
In Morzine we’re lucky to have a huge range of airport transfer companies at our fingertips to get you from the airport to the mountains. But if you’ve been stuck in backed up traffic on a Saturday getting to resort you’ll know the impact of driving, too! While a transfer is the easiest option, it’s also possible to get to Morzine using public transport (train to Thonon and bus to Morzine) and it takes about three hours, but we know timing is an issue when getting to the airport, and the bus doesn’t run very regularly, so a shared transfer is often your best option. It’s just like car-pooling for airport transfers.