Swap the weekend getaway for a month-long trip

Liana DeMasi 30 June 2022

Swapping a quick weekend getaway for a longer trip may sound unthinkable, but it might be a more sustainable way to go on holiday in a time of climate crisis

The climate crisis is impacting every aspect of our lives, travel included. More dominant environmental activists and eco-conscious folks might have started to curtail their traveling habits in the last decade or so, but most of us have only recently focused on managing concern for our planet, while still giving space for their travel bug.  

Once remote work took over during the pandemic, our offices became a coffee shop, a living room or the back of the bus on the way to some distant place, as we discovered a newfound flexibility and freedom in work. In combination with increasing climate anxiety, this ability for remote work has caused adventurers to extend their vacations, becoming temporary residents in another city.  

Airplanes are a huge contributor to climate change

Instead of taking brief trips multiple times a year, people are opting for longer staycations, ranging from a few weeks to a few months. This travel style limits the usage of planes, cars and other transportation means that rely on oil and fuel that release carbon into the atmosphere and further our present crisis. If your company or work allows for remote access, longer travel also provides more incentive to work where you land, which makes the cost of traveling more manageable for long-term periods.  

But how does one prepare for such an adventure? Here are some factors to keep in mind as you plan.

Be aware of time differences

Man on laptop by pool

Imagine, you could be taking your next Zoom call by a swimming pool

If you’re planning to work while traveling, you’ll want to keep time differences in mind. If you’re located in Europe, a month-long trip to California might sound ideal, but that 9am Monday morning meeting would be at around midnight across the United States on Pacific Standard Time. That’s not an impossible time difference to manage, but the farther you go, the more complicated it might be, so you’ll want to plan ahead. 

This awareness will also be helpful as you pick accommodation. Remote locations might have difficulties with wifi, electricity and other means of connectivity. Usually a homeshare host or hotel will be forthcoming about their internet connection, but doing extra research and reading reviews from past visitors is a viable way to vet their claims.

Travel as green as possible

The greenest way to travel is to…not travel at all, but there are methods to manage the carbon footprint of your adventures. Depending on how far you’re going, you might consider driving or taking public transportation, such as a train or bus. These options provide great scenery and another level of wanderlust, from the beautiful sights along the way to the unique rest stops and landmarks you might be able to mark off on a map.  

Travelling through Italy by train

Travelling by train is greener than travelling by plane—and can come with built-in sightseeing!

If your planned trip is farther away and requires flying, FlyGRN is a flight comparison site, similar to Kayak or Expedia. The difference is, they take a fee from their partners when you book a flight and use that money to partially or fully offset the carbon emissions of the trip.  

When you reach your destination, especially if by plane, minimize the amount of carbon-related travel you engage with while there. Utilize public transportation when possible or rent an electric car depending on the city's infrastructure. However, the best way to see a city is on foot or by cycling.  

"Getting lost in a new city is the best way to learn your way around"

Amsterdam and Berlin are bike-heavy cities, as are New York City and Montreal, but there are many others if you feel comfortable on wheels. Walking is also great exercise, and sometimes getting lost in a new city is the best way to learn your way around, so after the first few days, you’ll feel like a local.  

Engage in the local ecosystem

While we often travel to disconnect from reality, it’s impossible to leave our eco-consciousness behind. In fact, it’s imperative not to, considering the intensity of the climate crisis. When you’re fully immersed in a new place, it’s crucial to not only respect local customs, but to also honour the land you’re on. Luckily, with new sanctions and environmental legislation, certain cities make being eco-friendly easy.  

"When you’re fully immersed in a new place, it’s crucial to…honour the land you’re on"

Abu Dhabi is a leader in solar energy, while Prague promotes cycling and utilises electric vehicles for their public transportation systems. Denmark and Hamburg both have extensive waste management systems, which promote minimizing waste and properly discarding what is used. Regardless of the infrastructure in place, being mindful of your own consumption will be beneficial to the location and planet.  

Try to eat a more plant-based diet

Properly dispose of any packaging and food waste, which might be easy to manage depending on local compost guidelines. If your stay is long enough, engaging in local waterway, beach or neighbourhood clean-ups are a great way to respect the land, while engaging with the local community.  

Vegetarian dish

There are more and more options for vegetarians these days

Writer Jon Kabat-Zinn said, “Wherever you go, there you are,” so remember that your impact stays behind long after you return home.  

Read more: Travelling Sri Lanka's hill country by train

Read more: Why feeding seaweed to cows is good for the planet

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