‘Take only photographs, leave only footprints’ – a sentiment long associated with the idea of responsible travel, but whilst there’s no harm in leaving your footprints in the sand, leaving a carbon footprint is not harmless.

summer-landscape-1500748_1280Travel and tourism helps generate $1.434 trillion every year[1] according to the World Bank, but at the same time it accounts for 5% of global CO2 emissions. 75% of these emissions are associated with transport[2]. As we start the peak holiday season here’s a reminder of ways you can minimise the environmental impact of your holiday travel and protect the very places you want to visit.

And, once you’ve done everything you can to reduce your footprint, remember to measure and offset what’s left using our carbon calculator – taking full environmental responsibility for your holiday.


If you fly to your holiday destination, the emissions from those flights will make up a significant proportion of your annual personal carbon footprint. Here are some things you can do to minimise that impact

  • Many short haul flights can be replaced by other forms of public transport such as trains or buses. If you are feeling really adventurous there are even many options for travelling long haul without flying, making the journey a core part of your trip.
  • Stay longer at your destination: Choosing one two-week holiday rather than two one-week holidays will reduce your travel impact.
  • Consider flying direct if you can, aeroplanes use a lot of fuel taking off and landing.
  • Fly Economy: Flying business or first class means more emissions – both because of the space you take up and the bigger seats and extra kit carried.

When you do fly, measure and offset your emissions using our carbon calculator under the ‘FLIGHT’ tab.


Travelling by train, bus or bike is much better for the planet, but if you need to use a car, here are some tips to reduce its greenhouse emissions – and save you some money in fuel at the same time.

  • If you’re hiring a vehicle, ask your supplier for one with the best fuel economy (you’ll save yourself money too). Consider an electric vehicle or a hybrid with the lowest gCO2/km (grams of CO2 per km travelled).
  • Avoiding sharp acceleration and heavy braking saves fuel and reduces accident rates.
  • The most efficient speed depends on your car but is typically around 55 – 65mph. Faster speed will greatly increase your fuel consumption.
  • Check your tyre pressure – under-inflated tyres can increase fuel consumption by up to 3%.
  • If you’re stuck in a jam, switch the engine off if you expect to be there for more than a minute or two. Cutting the engine will save fuel and reduce emissions.
  • For short journeys think about cycling or walking. A cold engine uses almost twice as much fuel and catalytic converters can take five miles to become effective.
  • Accessories such as roof racks, bike carriers, and roof boxes significantly affect your car’s aerodynamics and reduce fuel efficiency, so remember to remove them when not in use. A boot full of equipment you’re not using also wastes fuel.
  • Air-conditioning increases fuel consumption at low speeds, but at higher speeds the effects are less noticeable. The AA recommend opening your windows around town and saving the air conditioning for high speed driving. See more of their driving tips.

Measure and offset your driving emissions using our carbon calculator– under the ‘CAR’ tab


Your choice of accommodation will affect your impact on the climate and on the local community.

  • Choose a hotel with a clear environmental policy and help them act on it. For example washing and pressing towels and sheets every day uses a lot of energy.
  • Use locally filtered rather than bottled water.
  • Find out how the hotel engages with the local community – does it provide fairly paid local employment, source locally produced goods and support local community projects
  • Measure and offset your hotel stays using our carbon calculator – under the ‘EVENT’ tab.

Your stay

  • Read up on these tips to make your holiday greener by the Travel Foundation.
  • Use water and other scarce resources sparingly
  • Get to know the local community and environment during your stay –awareness of local issues can help you make a positive impact.
  • Buy local, ethically produced gifts to support the local economy and environment

Your Tips

Please share your top tips to leave a smaller carbon footprint. Either Tweet us using #carboncutting or fill out the web form below.



[1] World Bank Website 

[2] http://sdt.unwto.org/sites/all/files/docpdf/ccoxford.pdf