I have several friends (plus my husband) who are renewable energy lawyers. I always ask them what we can do as individuals to help combat climate change (always hoping for a different answer). This recent article in the Washington Post reiterates exactly what they’ve all been telling me, which is that “Staying home, in fact, is the essence of making a big difference in a big hurry. That’s because nothing that we do pumps carbon dioxide into the atmosphere faster than air travel. Cancel a couple long flights, and you can halve your carbon footprint. Schedule a couple, and you can double or triple it.”
I’m very excited because I’m heading to Ireland and England in a few days. I’ve been looking forward to this trip, which we’ve been planning for my husband’s 50th birthday. But, after this trip we are going to seriously reconsider our future travel plans for the sake of our planet. I think we’ll try to stay put for awhile. Hang out at home with Coconut, our English Bulldog. Actually that sounds pretty nice.
So, for Mother Earth’s sake, I strongly discourage you from air travel. However, I do have a short list of things that make long trips more pleasant, if you must fly.
If your airport has a spa and you have a long layover, get a facial or massage. Yes, you’ll pay more, but you’ll feel better. If your airport doesn’t have a spa, you don’t have much time, or you are too cheap to get a massage, use the pay by the minute massage chairs.
If you have access to an airport lounge, use it. For the uninitiated, an airport lounge is a facility that offers comforts beyond those afforded in the airport terminal itself, such as more comfortable seating, quieter environments, free WiFi, free drinks (booze! good coffee!), healthy snacks, and showers. It may seem weird to use the showers, but once my daughters and I had a 10 hour layover and it was great to take showers in the Delta lounge. Plus, they provided towels and toiletries.
Walk as much as possible. Don’t take the escalator or the moving sidewalk. And don’t board right away. No one is going to take your seat, so there is no reason to hurry.
Bring an empty reusable water bottle with you. You can fill it up at a water fountain once you are inside the terminal. I like the Hydro Flasks because they keep the water cold and they come in cute colors (check out the limited edition Shave Ice collection). That way you don’t have to buy a plastic water bottle in the airport and you can decline all of the plastic cups they give you on the flight. More environmental and healthier to bring your own water bottle.
Noise cancelling Bose headphones. These things are expensive, but they are great.
Compression socks. I got some for myself and everyone in my family. The ones from VIM & VIGR are cute and apparently help prevent the formation of blood clots in the lower legs while flying. My kids won’t wear them (because they still have a sense of style and probably don’t have to worry about deep vein thrombosis yet) but I love them.
Don’t go crazy in the duty free shop just because you are bored. On a recent trip, I decided to spray a healthy amount of Ralph Lauren men’s Polo cologne on myself in duty free. This seemed like a great idea in the moment. Nostalgia in a beautiful dark green bottle. My poor seat mate probably spent the whole trip wondering why I smelled like a frat boy from the ‘80s.
So, please don’t travel any more than absolutely necessary. And, please share your travel hacks so if we do have to travel, we’ll do it in style. Or at least in comfort.
Empty Nest Obsessed 🐾
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