How to make your travels eco-friendly after quarantine

A CarbonCancel blog by
Ruben van de Water, Number Cruncher | 15/03/2020

If you came here for the latest life hack to find a climate conscious way to fly to Bali, ride your motorbike across the island and drink Cuba Libre’s on the beach, we are sorry. You’re just not going to find that. 

Unfortunately, we have not reached the level of technological advancement that allows us to travel overseas without spending weeks at sea or severely polluting the atmosphere. Elon Musk, looking at you to solve our Cuba Libre problem here!

Nowadays, flying has become extremely affordable and it’s now possible to spend your summer holidays in multiple places all over the world. However, the fact that you can fly to Bali, does not mean you should. A return flight to DenPasar from Amsterdam, depending on your number of overlays, will emit ~3.5 tons of CO2e, or 180.000 cups of black tea. With the global aim to limit our carbon emissions to 2 tons per person, a flight to Bali would consume almost your entire carbon allowance for 2 years.

"A return flight to DenPasar from Amsterdam, depending on your number of overlays, will emit ~3.5 tons of CO2e, or 180.000 cups of black tea."

So we came up with a solution! Here’s how you can still enjoy your summer holidays in multiple cities, without massively polluting the atmosphere, and perhaps even indulge in a cheeky Cuba Libre on the beach 😉

The answer, my dear friends, is Interrail.

Interrail is a perfect solution to explore Europe by train. The travel is fairly reliable, comfortable and above all, very affordable!

And the CarbonCancel team wouldn’t have been the CarbonCancel team, if we wouldn’t have tried this out ourselves.

During the summer of 2019 we embarked on an adventure. Our trip took us from the canals of Amsterdam to the Museums of Vienna, onwards to the beer gardens of Munich, with a UNESCO heritage train over the Swiss Alps, to finalize our journey on a couple of Italian beaches before embarking back home.

We do admit that we had some delays, and the Interrail website is far from the user experience you may expect from an organisation trying to appeal to young people. (Please Interrail HQ, if you are reading this, hire a new web developer!) Still, the experience of discovering the entire continent and the possibility to relax while you’re travelling far outweigh such minor annoyances.

Since you are probably starting to think about your summer plans during these cold winter days, perhaps try out an Interrail journey. To help you out with the costs and benefits of such a holiday, we put some calculations down below to make your choice easier.

So, do we advocate travelling around the entire globe? No! But when you do plan your next trip, whether it’s for leisure or for work, try to check if there are any greener alternatives than taking a plane. Let’s hope that we’ll be able to travel again this fall.

By Interrail

Travel Itinerary: Amsterdam, Vienna, Munich, Davos, Milan, Amsterdam

Cost: ~ €300

Duration: ~ 38h

Carbon Footprint: ~ 0.1 tonnes CO2

By Plane

Travel Itinerary: Amsterdam, Vienna, Munich, Zurich, Milan, Amsterdam

Cost: ~ €500 + 62.50 for airport transfers

Duration: ~24h*

Carbon Footprint: ~2 tonnes CO2

*Including 1 hour of airport transits and being at the airport 1 hour before departure. Since Davos should not be accessible by plane (looking at you, World Economic Forum), we did not take this city into the equation.


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