Guide: How To Travel Sustainably?

Since its creation, HomeExchange has acted strongly toward a more respectful tourism for the natural world which surrounds popular destinations by fighting against mass tourism and putting at the heart of our mission the promotion of the generosity and hospitality of each one of us. It is on this basis of trust that we are convinced its quite possible to combine travel and sustainability when we all work together.

Home exchange is part of the larger context of sustainable tourism, but it is not without impact. Excited to contribute to the opening of a new chapter in history where Man respects his environment and is concerned about his impact on others, we wanted to remind you of the essential elements of more responsible travel.

To help, we have put together a guide to equip you to travel more sustainably and enjoy the benefits of seeing the world while keeping it a great place to explore !

The Essential Pillars of a More Environmentally Friendly Trip

The choice of transport

¾ of greenhouse gas emissions from tourism are related to transportation. The choice of transportation to go on vacation is therefore essential to begin the first step of a more sustainable trip. 

We give you some keys :

Fresque Transportation

Soft mobility: a zero carbon solution 

Walking, cycling, sailing ... are cleaner, and allow to approach the trip differently, and more slowly. A mode of travel that is conducive to reflection, introspection, and unexpected discoveries (we tell you more here).

The train: ecological, fast and practical

As most of them are electric, they do not emit CO2 directly into the atmosphere and can carry hundreds of passengers. If you want to know more about the (many!) advantages of the train, click here!

The bus: a divided (but still significant) carbon footprint 

The ability to carry a large number of people reduces the emissions per passenger, making it one of the preferred modes of transportation when driving a thermal vehicle.

The electric car: a clean means of transport in terms of direct emissions 

Electric cars are not widely used today due to their lack of autonomy, but they will become more important in the next few years as more and more efficient batteries are developed and more recharging stations become available.

The internal combustion car: the most used and polluting

Its practicality makes it a common mode of travel for vacations, but this mode of transport remains highly polluting. Reducing car journeys as much as possible is necessary to relieve congestion on the roads (reducing the risk of accidents) and make the air cleaner. If the car is the only solution, we think of carpooling to divide the carbon footprint (and the cost).

The plane: the most emitting means of transportation by far

Convenient, fast and sometimes cheaper than other modes of transport, the plane is still the most polluting mode of transport. For tourist transport, 40% of emissions are due to air travel. The first thing to do is to ban air travel to national destinations. If it is the only option, choose a non-stop flight and a longer stay. Also think about compensation.

You can calculate your carbon footprint according to the mode of transport chosen by clicking here.

The Duration of the Trip

The recent travel trend, which was put on hold by the health crisis, was for travelers to multiply short stays during the year. Express" trips are very destructive. On the other hand, longer trips have many advantages.

Let's Compare!

Short Stay

A higher frequency of trips during the year, creating a larger overall carbon footprint.

A crunch on time, which increases the need to use fast modes of transport such as by airplane, meaning a large amount of CO2 emitted in a short time.

Often taken to already saturated tourist destinations and favorable to mass tourism.

We all need to escape, and a short stay is all we can squeeze in sometimes. Just choose a destination close to home with a more sustainable mode of transportation, such as the train.

Séjour long

More relaxed, allowing time to immerse yourself in the local culture and enjoy its unique offerings.

A smaller carbon footprint because it is possible to use more sustainable transportation.

The opportunity to discover longer trips, more commonly called "Slow Travel" (discover the benefits of slow travel here).

It is not always possible to avoid taking the plane when we leave for a long and distant stay. But increase quality over the quantity by reducing the number of trips in a year, without sacrificing the relaxation or the length of time off!

The Destination

The third step to conservation as we travel is the choice of destination, a key element for a more sustainable tourism. You don't have to travel to the other side of the world (especially several times a year) to discover new cultures and new landscapes. Your travel dreams can fit your desire to limit your environmental impact but also to act in favor of a more local tourism and economy.

Think of Closer Destinations :

No need to go far away to get a change of scenery (A world tour without leaving France is possible, we'll tell you more here)! To disconnect from everyday life and release the pressure, the most important thing is to gain a fresh view, but that doesn't necessarily mean going to the other side of the world. We often think we know everything about our surroundings, yet our own back yards are full of wonders and opportunities for adventure. It is quite possible to be surprised and amazed by unfamiliar areas only an hour or two from home. By choosing a nearby destination, you boost the local economy and save time and money. The choice of transportation is wider and more conducive to the use of low-carbon transportation. And if you fall in love with the place, it will be easier to go back again when it's just a short trip nearby!

And if you fall in love with the place, it will be easier to go back again when it's just a short trip nearby !

Think About Off-the-Beaten-Path Destinations :

Are you tired of crowded beaches? So are we. That's why we recommend you try a destination off the beaten path. A quieter, more authentic and less expensive trip is guaranteed.

And we have good news: all this is possible thanks to HomeExchange! HomeExchange has about 450,000 homes all over the world, so you can find a home in a capital city or in the middle of the mountains. As a bonus, your exchange partners will be able to share all their best advice to visit their region like a local, far from tacky tourist traps represented in the tour pamphlets!.

We have started a selection of helpful tips that you can find here

Good Habits to Adopt

To help you implement all the keys to a more sustainable trip, we can't fail to mention the best practices to start on your next vacation.

Here is a Short List to Pack in Your Suitcase: 

HomeExchange Reduce your waste as much as possible, use reusable objects, and follow the local sorting instructions
Remember to take your own water bottle

HomeExchange Participate in local consumption for a fair distribution of tourism revenues
Take the opportunity to visit the market and discover fresh local products, ideally plant-based ones :)

HomeExchange Save natural resources and don't waste them
Avoid long showers

HomeExchange Use products that are not harmful to the environment
Think of sunscreen that does not attack marine biodiversity!

HomeExchange Choose activities that are respectful of animals and non-polluting
A bike ride instead of a car trip

HomeExchange Sightsee through soft mobility (walking, biking, rollerblading, etc.) or public transport once on site.

HomeExchange Respect the fauna and flora and do not disturb the natural environment
No need to collect all the shells on the beach

HomeExchange Make a commitment by signing our “responsible travel charter"

Learn More About Our Commitments