Lower your impacts on the planet and improve your interactions with local communities using these handy travel tips.
What’s your own climate commitment?
At the recent Cop26 conference, world leaders, activists and NGOs debated how to tackle climate change.
Here at VagaHQ, we are engaged in our own high-level diplomacy.
The team have been chatting with our buddies at Sustainable Travel Ireland about how we could improve our personal climate impacts and improve our messaging around responsible travel.
Giving you guys — our wonderful guests — some practical tips for sustainable travel seemed like a great place to start.
1. Challenge Yourself To Avoid Single-Use Plastic
There are so many everyday ways that we can help fight climate change.
Consider bringing a Keep Cup along with you or, if you’re taking a tour with us, using our compostable coffee cups.
That way your daily tea or coffee won’t contribute to plastic waste.
Go one further and use a reusable flask or water bottle instead of buying bottled water.
Water quality isn’t an issue in Ireland, with perfectly drinkable water from taps. You can improve quality even more with filters built into travel flasks.
💡 Travel Tip: Use the ultra-convenient Tap Map to find free places where you can refill your water bottle, all around Ireland.
2. Travel Light And Buy Local Instead
We always recommend travelling light (check out our packing guide).
It’s easier on your mind and body not to be lugging multiple large bags around airports and hotels.
There are planetary and community benefits to travelling light too.
With lighter baggage, your aircraft will be carrying less weight and, therefore, burn less polluting aviation fuel.
If you need any extras when you reach Ireland, consider buying from a local retail outlet or producer.
This circles your cash back into the Irish economy, adding an extra beneficial layer to your vacation.
How do you know which businesses support the local Irish economy?
If in doubt, look for the Guaranteed Irish symbol.
Only companies that, “provide quality jobs, support local communities and are committed to Irish provenance” are Guaranteed Irish.
Speaking of credentials...
3. Seek Out Green Credentials
Become choosey about where you spend your travel cash.
Environmental and community accreditation schemes exist to help you make better choices when planning a trip and travelling.
When you’re in Ireland, look out for the distinctive green membership badge of Sustainable Travel Ireland, our sister company.
Seeing this badge above the door should reassure you that a business and its staff are actively reducing their environmental impacts.
Internationally, B Corp is one of the leading sustainability standards.
B Corps place as much importance on social and environmental goals as on profits.
As a B Corp, we must be transparent and accountable to our guests, our team and the wider community.
4. Hop On A Bike, Bus, Train Or Tram In Dublin
It’s so easy to go green while exploring Ireland’s amazing cities.
Dublin has an excellent bus, tram and rail system. The same goes for Cork and Belfast is also well-served by public transport.If you are comfortable on a bike saddle, a whole new world opens up.
You have a choice of two public bike rental schemes in Dublin, one in Belfast and one in Cork.
Simply purchase a day pass for a few euros, find your nearest bike and away you go!
Pedalling your way around all the best bits means you’ll also a) save cash and b) burn off some pints of Guinness!
💡 Travel Tip: Affordable all-day, pre-paid Leap tickets are your best bet for daytrips to some beautiful spots in Dublin and beyond.
5. Don’t Contribute To Over-Tourism
There’s nothing worse than arriving at your dream destination, only to find it thronged with selfie-stick wielding travellers.
Our simple solution to over-tourism is to introduce our guests to off the beaten track destinations and hidden gems around Ireland.
This has the dual effect of helping protect nature and landscapes and supporting marginal communities who don’t otherwise benefit from mainstream tourism.
You can do the same. Avoid major tourist traps wherever you go and you’ll get to see the real Ireland.
The added bonus is that you’ll avoid queues and lower your costs at the same time!
6. Fly Green
Let's face it, flying is not going to be sustainable until airlines start using more green aviation fuel or alternative energy sources like hydrogen are developed further.
The problem is that most North American visitors are forced to fly to get here.
The good news is that, if you have to fly, you can make greener choices.
Before booking, consider which airlines are focusing on sustainability.
Flight comparison services like Skyscanner actually rate airlines by their fuel consumption.
Look for the 'Greener flights' filter when you search.
When choosing seats, fly economy class.
Economy means more air passengers per plane and a more efficient use of that polluting aviation fuel.
7. Practice Slow Travel
Slow travel is another way of saying “responsible travel”.
It's not always possible. But try and opt for modes of transport that don’t cost the earth, like trains and ferries.
Think about the journey to your destination as part of the vacation rather than something to be endured.
For many of you, of course, reaching Ireland by sea or rail is just not feasible.
Once you reach our little island, there are a myriad of ways you could practice slow travel.
You could choose to take longer vacations but travel less often, for example.
This allows you to stay in Ireland for longer and really get to know it properly.
Our 12 Day Vagabond Giant Irish Adventure — an epic coast-to-coast tour of the Wild Atlantic Way and Northern Ireland — is the perfect way to maximise your time in Ireland.
8. Offset Your Emissions
We offset the emissions for every guest by planting a native tree here in Ireland.
But you don’t have to wait to take a Vagabond or Driftwood Tour to offset emissions from other vacations or your household.
Sponsor a native tree to be planted in Ireland.
You could also support renewable energy, in the form of solar or wind.
Or simply avail of the offsetting option that your airline will undoubtedly offer you at the online checkout.
Calculate the carbon emitted by your flight right here, right now, with this free and easy-to-use calculator tool:
If you live in the USA, you can use this simple calculator tool to estimate the carbon emissions footprint of your entire household.
Ready To Start Planning?
Our friendly, expert team are here to answer any queries you may have about sustainable travel to Ireland in 2022 or 2023.
Get in touch with John and Deirdre on our Contact Us page.