Green is now the new black on the global stage, with people increasingly aware of our impact on the planet, both at home and when we travel.
To that end, there’s a growing shift toward making more sustainable travel choices, and getting started is easier than you might think.
“Conscious Travel” is about mindfulness, knowing the decisions we make – big and small changes – all have a cumulative effect on the planet. They can be as simple as walking instead of taking the bus or choosing to offset the carbon emissions from flying.
It’s not just travelers who get involved either. Qantas is investing heavily in this area as well.
The airline’s newly launched Green Tier – designed to sit alongside its existing frequent flyer bronze, silver, gold and platinum tiers – is just one of the ways it’s working to reshape travel in the future, encouraging members to think green and rewards them in the process.
More than 100,000 Qantas Frequent Flyers are already traveling towards the Green Tier, unlocking rewards such as bonus Qantas Points or status credits.
They do this through simple actions such as flying carbon neutral, giving back to charitable projects including OzHarvest and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, or buying solar panels for their home.
To unlock the Green Tier, all you need to do is complete tasks in five out of six categories that promote sustainability, from giving back to understanding your environmental impact.
On top of that, Qantas recently unveiled a ground-breaking US$200 million joint initiative with Airbus to establish a sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) industry here in Australia.
Sustainable jet fuel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by around 80% compared to traditional kerosene and is being adopted by airlines worldwide, including Red Roo, which has committed to using 10% SAF in its overall mix by the end of the decade.
Beyond this, there are other simple ways to become a conscious traveller, such as:
Choose tour companies that give back
Free exploration is a wonderful way to see a destination, but so is joining a local tour. After all, local people live and breathe a destination and can often reveal fascinating insights that enhance the experience and understanding of a place’s history, people and culture.
If you choose a tour, consider one that gives back to the local people in some way, whether it’s contributing to an education fund, planting trees, or donating meals to those in need.
Avoid disposable items where possible
More than just a slogan taught in schools, reduce and reuse on the roads helps reduce the number of single-use items that end up in landfills. This in turn helps to alleviate problems that often arise in destinations that lack sufficient infrastructure to handle waste.
Taking a reusable water bottle and filling it at the hotel if the water is safe to drink, or using a filter water bottle that removes nasty drinking water when it’s not, is just one way to do this.
Others include using packaging-free soaps and shampoos.
Settlement of your flights
One of the fastest ways to make a conscious change in your travel habits and have a positive impact on the planet is to choose to Fly Carbon Neutral. Plus, you’ll earn 10 Qantas points for every $1 you spend on carbon offsets, and the airline will also match your contribution.
It’s as easy as ticking a box when you buy your Qantas flight and your contribution goes to accredited projects, including the Babinda Reef Project near Cairns.
Stay in an eco-accredited hotel
With hundreds of rooms, thousands of lights and restaurants constantly serving dishes to guests, hotels often have a significant footprint. But staying at an eco-accredited hotel means you’re supporting a hotel that has actively taken steps to reduce their impact.
This may include the use of efficient and renewable energy sources, ethical sourcing of food, improved waste water management or the elimination of disposable items throughout the hotel.
As tempting as it may be to buy based on price, it’s better to choose locally made souvenirs. By doing so, you help to secure the livelihood of suppliers, producers and craftsmen. Also, local markets are always more interesting to explore.
The same can be said about eating locally – bypassing big chains. Smaller, family-owned venues often showcase authentic flavors, and a little research is all it takes to find them.
Ready to take the next step? Find out more about Green Tier and start traveling more sustainably today.