We are not afraid to say: travelling is one of the greatest things you can do in your life. Going on an adventure opens your eyes, puts you in contact with a new culture and takes you to visit all the incredible corners of this beautiful world. Travel can do a number on Mother Earth and if we don’t adopt an eco-friendly mindset, many of the world’s beautiful attractions may be spoilt.
We’ve organized some simple and easy ways to stay green while travelling in New Zealand (or anywhere you want to go). A sustainable travel style can take a little extra effort so this is not a “checklist”, but steps that you can take to improve on every trip you take.
BE A RESPONSIBLE JET SETTER
Aeroplanes are a necessary evil if you’re planning to travel overseas. A flight from England to New Zealand produces 4 times more CO2 than a person should emit per year in order to halt climate change. Don't let that put you off, there are a few things you can do to relieve the feeling of guilt. Try to a direct flight (take-offs and landings use the most fuel), always choose economy class and go for companies that invest in environmental programs in order to balance their carbon footprints. Air New Zealand, for example, has a carbon calculator to estimate the greenhouse gas emissions from your travel. You can choose to offset them when you book online.
TAKE THE BIG GREEN BUS
Getting a bus to travel New Zealand, not only gives you lifelong friends, but it can help reduce the emissions caused by burning fossil fuels. All of our Kiwi Experience Drivers Guides have taken part in the SAFED (Safe and Fuel Efficient Driving New Zealand) program to ensure fuel efficiency when driving. When trading your car for a bus, you are helping to alleviate the traffic on the roads, minimizing the chances of accidents and reducing your stress level as well. It’s a win-win.
We are not saying we are “the good guys”. Flying and driving are huge carbon emission culprits when tourists are on the move. We know that. We also know the importance of keeping the world beautiful for our future travellers. We have partnered up with the Trees for Survival programme. When you buy your pass with Kiwi Experience, you can help to offset your carbon footprint by purchasing a tree for $5NZD which we'll gladly plant for you.
RESPECT THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT
On a good day our Tongariro Alpine Crossing, the 19-kilometre hike up 'Mount Doom’, can take on 2,000 people. All hiking/walking tracks and paths throughout New Zealand are maintained by DOC (Department of Conservation). They advise that you don’t touch the wildlife and don’t venture off the boardwalks. These paths are not only there for your safety, but also to help to protect the environment. Don’t be that guy.
CHOOSE TO REUSE
Polypropylene is the Big Bad Wolf no matter where you’re going. Plastic bags, water bottles and disposable cups pollute land, forests, rivers and oceans. Not to mention that one plastic bag can take up to 100 years to break down. Yes, one! Bring a re-usable shopping bag, containers and a BPA-free water bottle (with a built-in filter if needed) next time you go on an adventure. For coffee and tea lovers, a travel mug can save you a few cents as many cafes offer discounts to customers with re-usable takeaway cups.
LISTEN TO MOTHER EARTH
Don’t leave your good habits at home: turn off lights, air-conditioning and heaters when you’re not in the room, it also helps to unplug your devices at the wall. Take shorter showers to avoid waste water and let your accommodation know that they don’t need to change your towels or sheets every day (40% of all hotel’s hot water consumption is laundry related).
GREEN IS THE COOLEST COLOUR
Every country has a different recycle program, a quick internet search can help you find the right colored bins so you can do your bit. If you are away from home for an extended period of time you may have clothes and items that you no longer need. Make a donation. Do you have any man-made items like electronics or used batteries? Take it home with you to avoid landfills or if you’re in Auckland bring it in to our office (yes, we have a battery recycling bin!).
Read more about how Kiwi Experience are doing our bit to Keep New Zealand Green.