Environmentally conscious travel

Environmentally conscious travel

How harmful is flying actually? How does that relate to your daily life? What can you do to emit less CO2 when out and about? What can you do at home? Answers to these and more questions that are pressing can be found in the article below.

Environmentally conscious travel

Air travel and the environment

By burning kerosene, aircraft emit CO2, with which they contribute to the greenhouse effect. Greenhouse gases cause global warming. If we do not reduce the emission of greenhouse gases, the earth will be a few degrees warmer by the end of this century. This has major consequences for the climate, nature and the health and safety of people.

In addition, several other substances are released, which have a big impact high above the earth's surface. Furthermore, flights lead to the formation of clouds; that contributes further towards a strong greenhouse effect.

A flight trip taxes the environment at least 7 to 11 times as much as the same journey by train. The difference is greatest when the travel distance is short (less than 700 kilometers).

Furthermore, a journey by flight contributes 2 to 4 times as much to the greenhouse effect as the same journey by car. Here too, the difference is greatest at short distances. The difference becomes smaller if the car has to tow a caravan or if there is only one person in the car.

In the case of a long journey, the flight to the destination accounts for most of the total CO2 emissions. The CO2 emissions of your transport and accommodation on site are limited, especially if you use small-scale, sustainable accommodations, eat in local restaurants and do not travel too many kilometers (as we generally do during our trips).


A calculation example

How much difference does the transportation you choose for your holiday make? To make this transparent, ‘’Milieu Centraal” has calculated the emissions for various means of transport when travelling to Nice in the south of France. The calculation example shows that you emit about 7 times as much greenhouse gas when you take the plane to Nice instead of the train. For comparison, the CO2 emissions of a flight to a distant holiday destination such as Thailand are also calculated. A flight to Thailand with 4 people causes 36 times more CO2 emissions than a train journey with 4 people to Nice. Difference in total greenhouse gas emissions from holiday transportation (kg).

Tips to reduce the environmental impact of flying

  • Whenever possible, elect for direct flights without stopovers: that means less environmental pollution and noise pollution. This does not always apply to longer intercontinental air travel.
  • Preferably, use airlines with a modern fleet and those that have good environmental policies. Inquire about this with the airlines, or check their websites.
  • Charters and flights of low-cost carriers are less taxing per passenger than scheduled flights when flying with modern aircraft. More people go with each flight.
  • Travel preferably by public transport to and from the airport.


Holidays and the environment

Once at the destination, camping is the least environmentally damaging (if you look at water consumption, energy consumption and waste). Hotels and holiday homes follow and do not differ much from each other. The more luxurious the holiday however, the greater the environmental impact. Pools, saunas and air-conditioners require a lot of energy. Finally, it is of course up to you what you do during your vacation. Swimming in the open water, snorkelling, hiking and mountain biking hardly cause any environmental impact but golf, safaris and all motorized activities such as skiing and jet skiing can seriously disrupt, damage and pollute nature and the environment.

Tips: use hotel towels more than once and do not shower for too long. In addition, just like at home: if you are not there, turn off the lights, television / radio, air conditioning and heating.

Maybe unnoticed but your trip contributes positively to:

  • The economy of the destination
  • More employment
  • The protection of nature
  • The introductions to other people and thereby appreciating other cultures 

Climate compensation:

  • Climate compensation can help reduce the greenhouse effect. We should all be responsible for the emissions of the greenhouse gas CO2. You can compensate for emissions that you cannot avoid.
  • Through climate compensation you ensure that, in exchange for the CO2 emissions you cause, less CO2 is emitted elsewhere or that CO2 is removed from the air. This compensates your CO-emissions.


Home and the environment

CO2 emissions from an average household
This image shows how much CO2 an average household emits.


Watch a video of the klimaatklappers


For example:

  • CO2 consumption of the average Dutch person is 37 kg per day
  • The average CO2 consumption per holiday day is 50 kg

To compare:

  • With 15 solar panels on your roof, you save 1,800 kg of CO2 annually
  • By travelling by train from Zwolle to work in Utrecht instead of by car, you save 7500 kg of CO2 annually
  • By using an economical shower head you save 120 kg of CO2 annually
  • By eating vegetarian twice a week, you save 160 kg of CO2 annually

That means:

  • For an average Dutch family, a return trip to Thailand costs more CO2 emissions than a cross-section of solar panels can save in 3 years.
  • It also costs more than can be saved by not eating an ounce of meat for over 5 years or being fully vegan for 3 years.
  • It also costs more than can be saved by showering for less than 5 minutes for 28 years.
  • Anyone who flies to Australia and travels there for 3 weeks with a camper to enjoy the unspoiled nature will soon emit the same amount of CO2 as heating a house for a year.


Leave the house well

With a few simple measures, you can prevent devices in the house unnecessarily consuming energy while you are on holiday.


Tips for departure

  • The refrigerator should be turned off while you are on holiday. Put the door ajar, to stop fungus developing.
  • Before leaving, check which devices are on stand-by. Remove all plugs from their sockets.
  • Maybe you want to have a light on in the evening to give the impression the house is inhabited. Then use a clock with a timer, preferably a LED or energy saving lamp.
  • Turn the thermostat down, or program it so that it is no longer heating. In winter, set the room thermostat and thermostatic radiator valves to 'frost-free'.
  • Place a sticker on your letterbox to try to counter the printed material. More about printed advertising here


For more information: