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Eco-friendly travel guide

We've always been a fan of keeping down your carbon footprint when you travel, it's why we started back in 2007 by offering low CO2 emission vehicles for rent across the world.

We seek to offer the lowest emission vehicles available in every country, and since 2007 as the industry has evolved, we've evolved with it. We now offer a range of hybrid and fully electric vehicles globally - you can find out more about our electric vehicles in our National Drive Electric Week post.

There are many things we can all to do help reduce our carbon footprint when we travel, so take a look at our guide below and find out what changes you can make next time you go on vacation.

Before you travel

Do you need to go abroad?

Consider a staycation! A lot of people had to travel locally during the pandemic, and are seeing and appreciating the country they live in in a completely new way. It's the best way to reduce your travel footprint, and experience some beautiful places you won't be able to see anywhere else in the world. We've put together some staycation guides if you're looking for some inspiration.

Unplug anything non-essential

If you're away for more than a day or two, we recommend going around the house and unplugging anything that doesn't need to be plugged in. Think of things like your printer, your toaster, and your bedside lamp. With modern TV often your recording box will need to be plugged in to record anything you have on a series link, but does the TV? Unplugging these items will not only help the environment but could pose a fire risk whilst you're away - so make sure you do a sweep before you leave.

Pack reusables

Travel size shampoo and shower gel bottles have been popular for a while now, but they were originally invented to save space. These days they are a fantastic way to reduce waste with essentials such as shampoo and conditioner, face creams, sun creams and you can even fill them with aftershave and perfume. The key is to decant from your larger size bottles and not to buy smaller versions for travel or buy large bottles when you reach the destination that you intend on leaving there - it creates a lot of unnecessary plastic waste.

Reusable water bottles

There are so many fantastic options for reusable water bottles available now, and more and more hotels and restaurants are offering free fill-ups from drinkable sources that there's no excuse not to take a reusable water bottle on the flight for the duration of your trip. Availability can vary from country to country, so it is worth checking how accessible drinkable tap water is before you travel (after all, it doesn't help to pack things you can't use either).

Pack for all weathers

This may seem like a silly one - why take up space with a jumper if you're going to the Caribbean in August? However, how many times have you visited somewhere in the Mediterranean and had a rainy day? It's worth packing at least one jumper and pair of trousers, even if they are lightweight, so you aren't caught out having to buy more clothes whilst you're there. Chances are you'll look for something cheap that you may not wear again, causing unnecessary waste (and spending!) that you could avoid.

Save paper - download apps and etickets

Nowadays there's not a lot you can't do on your phone, and there are plenty of apps from leading airlines and travel providers where you can scan in for your flight without needing to print off pages of paper (where your printer does that annoying thing by printing the last page with just a number on it!). If you have them on email, the day before forward them to yourself or set up a separate folder with them in, so you're not stuck scrolling with an unreliable signal trying to find everything.

Choose your sunscreen wisely

Some sunscreens contain oxybenzone, which is harmful to sea life. So if you're jumping in and out of the sea, you may be unknowingly putting the local sea life and ecosystem at risk. Double-check the list of ingredients on the back, and change to an oxybenzone-free sunscreen next time you purchase.

Whilst you travel

Sustainable Airlines

If you are looking to travel abroad, the good news is more sustainable options are becoming available. Gatwick Airport in the UK has been in the news recently, as they are using sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) on all easyJet flights between Gatwick and Glasgow throughout the COP26 Climate Change Conference. This is fantastic news, and we hope it continues beyond the conference worldwide. Looking at the companies you chose to travel with can change your view on who you want to spend money with.

Public transport

The most environmentally friendly way to travel whilst on holiday is via public transport. A group coach to the hotel from the flight instead of 50 cars, a train or bus from one city to the next whilst exploring, or even travelling via ferry - all of these can help lower your footprint.

Car rental

Sometimes, however, you will need to rent a car. Whether it's a staycation trip, exploring on your schedule, or an active family that would benefit from their own space - car rental can be a fantastic option to get around whilst you're on holiday.

We offer the lowest emission vehicles available in every country, meaning whatever car you book with us, you know you're helping reduce your emissions and your travel footprint. We are also expanding our hybrid and electric options monthly, so plan ahead and you may be able to secure a fully electric vehicle for your trip.

Offset your journey

Many companies now offer initiatives when you book, where you can donate to offset the emissions created by your journey. These initiatives, like our Green Heart Donation, will donate to a cause like FONAFIFO who plants trees to offset the emissions produced. They are a fantastic way to help make your travel more eco-friendly and get you one step closer to being carbon neutral.

During your stay

Take showers not baths

A bath can be nice and relaxing, but we do tend to wash more on holiday when you're jumping in and out of pools and the sea, so a shower is much more economical. Your party is also likely to be all on the same schedule, so showers will also save arguments when getting ready!

Reuse your towels and bedding

Another way we can reduce our carbon footprint whilst away from home is to reuse towels and bedding. Only a few years ago it would be very common practice for towels to be collected and washed daily, creating an unnecessary amount of washing for the hotel. If you wouldn't wash daily at home, think twice about doing so on holiday. A tip is to leave your 'do not disturb' sign on the door for the duration of your stay so the cleaners don't replace your bedding and towels.

Don't leave on the aircon!

We know, it's so tempting to leave the aircon all day so you come home to a nice cold room - but what damage is it doing to the environment? Whether it's a flick switch or key card activated system, leave it off when you aren't in the room. If you're booked into a modern hotel, it won't take long to cool down the room once you've returned and you can feel good that you haven't contributed to unnecessary energy usage.

Sample the local cuisine

If you've travelled to another country or different region, make the most of it and expand your palate by experiencing the local cuisine. This will help greatly reduce your footprint as you won't be eating food flown in from other countries, and also gives a more authentic experience to your holiday. You may find your new favourite dish!

Visit national parks and environmental areas

Most countries have several national parks and protected areas where you can see a wild variety of animals and even see animals you can't see anywhere else in the world, such as the Eurasian Lynx in Mavrovo National Park in North Macedonia.

It can be truly relaxing and inspiring to explore unspoiled nature, and most accept donations so you can pay what you can afford and help preserve the natural important space.

Overall, we are a big fan of staycations as they are the best way to reduce your carbon footprint. If you do travel abroad though, there are certainly various steps you can take to help reduce your travel carbon footprint and take steps to become carbon neutral.