Sustainable Travel

Before I came to Hungary voluntarily, I had never had a chance to go to Europe. Usually, I had the opportunity to travel a little with my family around border countries. Of course, there is a huge difference between traveling with family and friends. Ever since I came to Europe, I realized how much I love to travel and discover new places. It's nice to visit and see new places, but how can we make these trips sustainable? 

So how can we define sustainable travel? Traveling sustainably means being aware of the impact of tourism on the environment and adopting good practices to reduce the negative effects. Planet Earth has limited resources and mass tourism puts its existence at risk. Therefore, sustainable travel is a way to preserve nature, instead of commodifying it to attract tourists. The term sustainable travel refers to adopting sustainable practices to minimize the negative impacts and maximize the positive effects of tourism. 

If I will have a chance to stay in Europe, how can I make my trips much more sustainable? Well, I will evaluate myself by taking an example. We need to get prepared before we travel. At first, when I started to travel, I took unnecessary items with me and didn't use any of them. Make-up items to look good in photos, special fancy outfits to go to the party, etc. And of course, these fancy dresses I bought firsthand and the beauty products that maybe didn't have biodegradable packaging were not sustainable. And over time, I realized that it's not the beautiful photos that matter, but the moments you spend with friends. It's not the party outfits that matter, it's that someone likes you the way you are. And now, after gaining experience over time, I started to become more minimalist. I take the things I need so much with me and learn a little more on each trip.

The next and most important step is transport. Let's search for sustainable transport options. As we all know there are different ways of transport; train, bus, airplane, cycling, car, etc. Which of these options is more environmentally friendly and what are their benefits? The benefits of sustainable transportation:

  1. Cost savings on fuel and vehicles.
  2. Reduced carbon emissions from burning fossil fuel, resulting in less air pollution.
  3. Job creation with the increased vehicle and battery manufacturing and fuel production 
  4. Improved accessibility to reliable, affordable transportation options.
  5. Enhanced energy security and independence with less reliance on foreign sources of materials and fuels.




    Of course, the most sustainable travel choice is cycling. While push bikes are greener than electric bikes, electric bikes are a more environmentally-friendly option than most other forms of transport, especially if the energy is from a sustainable, renewable source. Electric bikes - or “e-bikes” - are battery powered which can help the rider cover longer distances than a push bike, meaning they’re a great alternative for journeys that might otherwise be carried out by car or public transport. Unlike a motorbike that uses fossil fuels, e-bikes work in a similar way to electric cars in that their integrated battery needs to be recharged, although e-bikes can still be pedaled like a push bike and aren’t solely reliant on a charged battery to work. After you have your own bike, your own tent, and your own sleeping bag, who can stop you? What could be better than traveling by stopping wherever you want, and enjoying the view? 

    E-vehicles not only are exempt from the pending Clean Air Zone charges, but with the production of new petrol and diesel cars set to stop by 2030, they’ll soon outlive their less environmentally-friendly car cousins too. Running on electricity rather than fossil fuels that cause toxic emissions and air pollution, e-vehicles (EVs) are the better choice for our health and the environment. So by switching to an EV from a petrol or diesel vehicle, you’ll actually help to clean the air and reduce pollution, although, for maximum green points, it’s important to use energy from a truly renewable source.

    According to the Energy Saving Trust, one bus can take up to 75 cars off the road. Traveling by public transport rather than by car is a better lower carbon option for longer journeys.

    With a population set to hit half a million in the next few years, demand for parking spaces is understandably high. Car clubs and car sharing offer a sensible - and more environmentally friendly - alternative to owning your own car. Sharing cars not only lowers the number of vehicles on the road, which reduces congestion and toxic air pollution, but is also better for your bank balance, and ride-sharing can be a great way to meet people. 

    The least environmentally-friendly way to travel is by petrol or diesel car. Transport has emitted the most greenhouse gases and diesel cars are the largest contributory factor to this. They’re also the biggest cause of air pollution, which is why lots of cities are introducing a Clean Air Zone and mandating that production of new vehicles stop in the next year’s time. 

    Sustainable air travel is not yet possible. While fuel economy is improving throughout the aviation industry, flying is still inherently carbon-intensive. Advancements in biofuels and electric planes could cut aviation emissions dramatically, but they’re still a long way from large-scale adoption. There are certainly ways to reduce your personal “flight” print – but flying less still has the greatest impact


    If I want to go to Azerbaijan and see my family and hug them, how can I go in a sustainable way and how much time should I spend? Traveling by train from Budapest to Baku I have to travel 2571 km and pass through 3 different countries. The first route is from Budapest to Bucharest by overnight train or by day train and the journey time is 15 hours. Travel from Bucharest to Istanbul by direct overnight train and this daily overnight train has a journey time of 18:30 hours. Unfortunately, there is no direct way to go to Baku through Azerbaijan from Turkey. First, we should go from İstanbul to Batum which is 21 hours of traveling. From Batum to Baku is more than 24 hours. Finally, I am home after traveling 80 hours and passing by 3 different countries and the friendships I made on the way 😊

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