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People are extending their vacations, and eco-travel experts say it could be more sustainable

Joey Hadden   

People are extending their vacations, and eco-travel experts say it could be more sustainable
  • Tourists globally are spending an average of one more day at destinations compared to 2019.
  • Longer vacations are more sustainable, reducing carbon emissions from fewer flights.

Worldwide, vacations are getting longer.

According to a recent study by Mastercard Economics Institute, tourists around the globe are spending an average of one more day in destinations compared to 2019. In Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, people are extending their trips for two days longer than before the pandemic.

This is good news — not just for vacationers — but for the health of the planet, as travel can be harmful to the environment.

"We are in the biggest race of our time — race to net-zero carbon emissions," Paloma Zapata, the CEO of Sustainable Travel International, previously told Business Insider. "And when we travel, we consume a lot of resources."

Fewer, longer trips are more sustainable

Sustainability experts previously told BI that frequent, short trips are more harmful to the environment than fewer, longer trips.

"Fewer but longer trips mean fewer air miles, more money in local hands, and you'll have a more relaxing trip, too," Justin Francis, the cofounder and CEO of the UK-based trip evaluation company Responsible Travel, said.

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, 9% of transportation carbon emissions in 2022 came from air travel, and 57% came from light-duty vehicles. And according to Zapata, flights make up at least half of a trip's total carbon emissions.

If those extending their vacations are also taking fewer trips, they're ultimately booking fewer flights, reducing carbon emissions in the process.

This is especially true for those traveling long distances, Jessica Blotter, CEO and cofounder of Kind Travel, a public benefit corporation, told BI. She suggests stretching long-distance trips to maximize the experience so you won't crave another journey anytime soon.

"Booking multiple, long-haul trips per year is not sustainable or carbon-friendly," she said.

If you want to be more eco-friendly while at your destination, experts also recommend staying at sustainable hotels, dining at locally-owned restaurants, and shopping for souvenirs crafted by locals.




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