Sophy Grimshaw
Sophy Grimshaw


THE GURU • August 2022

The beginner’s guide to becoming a greener traveller

We can all play our part in making more sustainable travel choices. As part of the first airline group in the world to commit to being carbon net zero by 2050, British Airways is making strides to ensure that its customers can still enjoy the benefits of flying without the environmental impact. As well as airlines playing their part, there are lots of ways that customers can travel with sustainability in mind. Our travel-loving Club correspondent shares a few ideas...

Try carbon offsetting

The flight’s all booked – now what? For me, this post-booking glow is the best time to consider offsetting the carbon production on the journey ahead. There’s now an off-setting calculator (which Ive found incredibly easy to navigate) that can balance out emissions on long-haul and short-haul flights. Guilty of leaving things to the last minute? No problem – it can be done from your seat on board. Luckily, all British Airways domestic flights within the UK are already carbon neutral, so no need to bother offsetting those.

better world

BA Better World | Carbon Offsetting | British Airways

Watch the video below to learn more

BA Better World | Carbon Offsetting | British Airways

Pack second-hand

Before each trip, I challenge myself to not to buy as many (or any) new clothes for this particular holiday wardrobe – saving myself cash as well as reducing my carbon footprint. Opting for ‘pre-loved’ or borrowed kit and clothing when it comes to those briefly worn ski goggles, sandals or wedding-guest outfit has helped me save the pounds – which, eventually, can be put towards another trip.

Veg out

Even for those who aren’t vegan, making ‘flexitarian’ eating choices, including eating more plant-based meals, is a smart (and wonderfully smug, I can confirm) way to also reduce how much water, carbon and overall strain on the planet’s resources our food production requires. The First and Club lounges offer a vegan menu, which includes such highlights as a satisfying meat-free burger (my favourite) and fragrant Katsu curry.


Stop buying water

Whether you still buy that giant Toblerone is up for debate, but I’m no longer buying bottles of water at the airport anymore. Heathrow I’ve found has plenty of water bottle refill stations, while Gatwick has departure lounge water fountains, and all of its restaurants offer free refills when asked. Of course, just make sure the bottle is empty for security, after which it can be refilled. In addition, for hot drinks, British Airways offers a 15p discount on tea and coffee on short-haul routes when customers bring their own reusable cups.

Pack light

Speaking of packing, the good news is that doing a bit less of it is a fantastic way to be more sustainable, since a light suitcase requires less fuel to transport by air than a heavy case. To help, I like to think back to previous packing and remember those items I never actually wore or used. Plus there will always be bits and pieces to buy at the destination if you’re truly stuck.

travel light

BA Better World | Net Zero | British Airways

Watch the video below to learn more

BA Better World | Net Zero | British Airways

Quiz your hotel

Hotels compete for your custom, and that means they’re under increasing pressure to demonstrate more meaningful sustainability commitments. I wouldnt be afraid to try asking my hotel about the ways in which it’s reducing its environmental impact, and whether I can make any further sustainable choices during my stay, such as not having clean towels replaced daily, or avoiding single-use plastics.

Go electric

The benefits booking of car hire with Avis include competitive prices and Avios rewards, which is why I’ll always check out car hire availability before a big family trip. But there are bumper environmental points to be gained by choosing an electric vehicle instead of one that’s pumped with non-renewable fuel. Plus, a holiday can be the perfect test drive to see if the electric-car-driver lifestyle works for you.

electric car

BA Better World | Sustainable Aviation Fuel | British Airways

Watch the video below to learn more

BA Better World | Sustainable Aviation Fuel | British Airways

Buy bamboo

Single-use plastic may be on its way out of style, but I know when I’ve ordered tasty street food in the past, a plastic fork is usually duly thrust upon me. Culinary win, planetary fail. So when it comes to cutlery and straws, I’d go for bamboo: light to carry, quick to wash and makes it easy to turn down landfill-destined plastic. And, if I remember, I pack my own sustainable cutlery!

Call out cruelty

I’ve found a good rule of thumb when travelling is to err on the side of caution when it comes to animals in captivity. Animal performances, rides or forced interactions will generally ring my alarm bells. If I was ever concerned that an animal was being exploited, I would report it to British Airways animal welfare partner Born Free’s Raise the Red Flag initiative.


Slow right down

As a travel journalist, I’m having to make considered choices about how many journeys/day trips I’m undertaking – and for how long. Slower and longer holiday experiences (hey, why not take advantage of that sabbatical?) can work wonders for our mental health, as well as the health of the planet.

Through British Airways’ sustainability programme, BA Better World, the airline is committed to creating a better future. It is driving urgent action towards net zero carbon emissions by 2050, delivering life-changing opportunities in the communities it serves and building a workplace that’s diverse and inclusive. To find out more, 
click here

This article has been tagged Technology, Travel Tips