We all have a footprint when we travel, from the flight we take to the ground transport we use, says Brett Tollman, global CEO for The Travel Corporation and founder of the TreadRight Foundation. The important thing, he says, is making it the lightest and most beneficial footprint you can. See treadright.org
When you travel, try to choose an airline with newer fleets, because aircraft built in the past three to five years have engines that are 30 per cent more fuel efficient, and therefore have a smaller footprint than the old 747s built 20 years ago. Our company, whose brands include Trafalgar, AAT Kings, Inspiring Journeys and Contiki, tries to keep vehicles in its fleet not more than three years old.
Consider taking a guided or escorted trip. Coach travel is the most fuel-efficient mode of transport when compared with ocean cruising, trains or flights, and is better than the fly-drive option of renting your own car for two or three people.
Go off the beaten path by travelling in the off season. By doing that, you'll be healthier because you're visiting when there is less air pollution, which is anticipated to be one of the biggest killers in the next 20 years due to the number of buses and cars on our roads. You're also supporting communities outside city centres that need that extra financial and economic support.
Consider a metowe.com trip for a meaningful holiday that gives back to a community. This is a charity we support, and all profits stay in these destinations. It's true "voluntourism" in three locations – with the Masai Mara in Kenya, in Rajasthan and in the forests of Ecuador. They are big believers in women's enterprise by bringing clean water to villages, which frees up girls and women to pursue school or work in the local community. On their trips, you'll find celebrities such as Martin Sheen and Selena Gomez, as well as Holly and Richard Branson, and people like us: I've taken my family on two of their trips, and a week broadens your heart and mind.
Choose to travel with companies working hard to eliminate single-use plastics, that are carbon-neutral or have programs that support cleaner environments, such as the Ten Pieces movement, which asks every traveller to pick up 10 pieces of rubbish. Otherwise, choose companies that support local communities – such as dining in local family homes – and buy locally made souvenirs.