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3 ways you can ditch the car and make your travel plans greener

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For many of us, wanderlust comes hand-in-hand with environmental concerns: once you have experienced just a small fraction of the world’s beauty, the next natural step is to become increasingly concerned with its sustainability and conservation.

But how can we be advocates for sustainability then jet across the globe on a multitude of highly-polluting adventures?

Flights alone burn thousands of gallons of fuel, so we are already in the red before even touching down in our destination. We should think about cutting down our emissions while we travel, and we should begin by considering greener transports.

Instead of dishing out hundreds of pounds renting a car - spending hours cramped in a burning hot vehicle, headphones in, scrolling through your phone, zooming through the country without investigating the places whizzing past the windows – why not hike, cycle, kayak or sail through your favourite destinations?

Renting out a car may seem easier but, when you consider the stress of learning a new road system, figuring out where to park each day and desperately trying to find petrol stations in the middle of nowhere, other options may be better.

And remember, these alternative transports all burn extra calories so you can gorge on the local food and wine to your heart’s content!

So, here are some ideas to get you started:

Walking holidays

Instead of ripping across a country at full speed in a car, why not try a walking holiday?Meander through the countryside at your own pace – stop to sunbathe, explore a secluded bay or rest for hours in the sunshine with a glass of wine before strolling onwards.

And if you don't fancy lugging around your heavy rucksacks, there are even companies who collect hikers’ bags and deliver them to the next destination for you – this may not seem environmentally friendly, but that one van full of bags is replacing countless tourists cruising around in their rentals.

Destination suggestion – Croatia. This increasingly popular destination is perfect for a walking holiday – hike inland mountains for the spectacular views or stroll along the coast and cool off in the azure ocean.Make sure to sample the cheese and wine for which many areas of Croatia are famous for – guilt-free indulgences after a day of walking.


Cycling Adventures

Cycling holidays share many of the benefits of walking trips but with the added excitement of speed; you can see more of the country in a much shorter time. Of course, cycling holidays can be adapted to suit the kind of holiday you desire – rent out some mountain bikes and race down forest trails, or take out a bike with a basket, ready to be filled with your towels, snacks, and books for a day at the beach.

Destination suggestion – Vietnam. Cycle through bustling cities, lush green paddy fields and spectacular mountain passes. Make sure to visit the lantern lined streets of Hoi An – a truly magical town nestled along Vietnam’s central coast.

Make sure to check out the range of new cycling tours now being offered by Intrepid and the work they do with Bicycles for Humanity, an organisation which re-uses bikes and stimulates financial independence for communities in Namibia.


Sailing and Kayaking Voyages

Kayak along the coast, or even hire your own sailing boat – these seafaring alternatives are fantastic ways to experience your destination. Instead of the chugging of a petrol engine, your soundtrack will be the gentle lapping of water against the boat, wind rippling through the sails, the soft splash of your paddle hitting the water.

Destination suggestion – The Caribbean. An easy decision – pristine waters, colourful snorkelling opportunities, and good weather is almost always guaranteed.


Ride the rails

Taking public transport is a very underrated form of travel. It will save you lots of money and you are bound to meet locals and other tourists along the way - an opportunity to share some stories and get some tips for your travels!

Make sure to choose a tour operator that uses and recommends public transport - lean back in your seat and watch a beautiful country whoosh by, all the while knowing that you are helping the local economy and reducing emissions. Tour operators (like Intrepid!) which favour public transport tend to be environmentally conscious and socially aware companies - make sure to look out for these ones!

Destination suggestion - everywhere! Public transport is one of the easiest ways to see any country in the world and one of the most fun travel options!

Intrepid Travel has been taking people off the beaten track to discover the world's most amazing places for 28 years.

The Melbourne-based adventure travel company is part of the Intrepid Group, the world’s largest provider of adventure travel experiences. Intrepid offers more than 1,500 trips in more than 100 countries and on every continent. Trips are designed to truly explore local culture, meet local people, try local food, take local transport and stay in local accommodation. Award-winning tour leaders, small group sizes and lots of included activities means travellers are able to have a sustainable local experience that is great value for money.

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