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I see that RS in his latest newsletter is rightly promoting energy conscious travel.

I see that RS in his latest newsletter is rightly promoting energy conscious travel.

So, Rick, maybe it's time for Best of Europe Energy Conscious? (or maybe we generate some ideas that individuals can use)

Limit tours to the shoulder seasons, when energy consumption for heating and cooling is at its lowest.

Don’t do the “Best of Europe” … way too much energy used in travel, restrict the tours to tight regions.

Publish the carbon footprint per traveler.

RS should include carbon offsets in the tour cost so the tour is carbon neutral.

Begin and end in Portugal or London to reduce the carbon footprint of the flight over.

Avoid cities and countries that do not have active energy reduction mandates.

Avoid cities and countries that do not have energy equity mandates.

Avoid countries where the majority of the energy is not derived from other than Carbon sources.

Make 5kg or less of luggage mandatory (RS backpacks made from recycled ocean plastic).

Trains instead of busses, or at least electric busses.

Group walks from the train station to the hotel.

Maybe a portion of the tour on a riverboat.

Maybe a portion of the tour on bikes; a bike ride from Vienna to Budapest could be done in a couple of days with a stop for the night in Gyor.

No more bus tours in the cities, use public transport or group walks.

Ditch the old energy wasting hotels for modern energy efficient hotels or tents.

Only go to museums and other attractions that have low energy consumption (Near Zero) certificates.

Stop and eat only at places with locally sourced ingredients.

No more hotels with breakfast buffets.

Take 25% of every dollar charged and donate it to a program that promotes energy efficiency in the country visited.

Make each member of the group personally plant a tree.

Bathe only in natural hot springs (always room for a little levity).

Re-write your guide books with attention to energy consciousness and social equity.

"Social Equity" that's another whole post?

Problems can often be solved by throwing it all on the table and then picking out the best, most logical, and most practical solutions.


Posted by
2940 posts

Mister E, granted some of what you wrote is tongue-in-cheek, but much of it is worth considering. We should have a conversation about it. Well done.

joe32f, why? There are some legitimate points made about mitigating our carbon footprint. We have to walk the talk.

And if a thread or post offends someone, how about just skipping it? No need to go tell on someone.

Posted by
17382 posts

BMWBGV: maybe a little tounge in cheek, maybe not so much. Some great ideas have come out of just tossing it all out and seeing what sticks to the wall. Often it leads to unthought of ideas. Is there a good BOE tour that starts in London and ends in Lisbon?

Posted by
15572 posts

Ditch the old energy wasting hotels for modern energy efficient hotels
or tents.

He tried that once.
It did not go well.

"Back when I was almost always younger than anyone on my tour, I made my groups sleep in Munich’s huge hippie circus tent. With simple mattresses on a vast wooden floor and 400 roommates, it was like a cross between Woodstock and a slumber party. One night I was stirred out of my sleep by a woman sitting up and sobbing. With the sound of backpackers rutting in the distance, she whispered, apologetically, “Rick, I’m not taking this so very well.” I gave her some valium — which was about all I had in my “first aid kit” — and she got through the night." 😆

Posted by
8334 posts

No more bus tours in the cities, use public transport or group walks.

This has been the case on every tour I've been on. They make a point of instructing you how to use the buses/trams/metro and yes, the group has walked to all sights in cities. And thats why they choose and recommend hotels based on proximity to the sights to be visited and to public transportation. So that ones covered.

Posted by
6205 posts

No more bus tours in the cities, use public transport or group walks.

Trains instead of busses, or at least electric busses.

I could go for these. Two of the tours we've taken have hired buses for city tours, and I would definitely have preferred walking tours (which all tours also do, to be fair.)

While I imagine guides are blenching at the thought of herding 28 people on a train through multiple countries, electric buses would be a nice compromise.

Make 5kg or less of luggage mandatory (RS backpacks made from recycled ocean plastic).

Hmmm, this would be challenging. I had my backpack that light on the trip from which we just returned, but my "personal item" added another 2 kg. A goal for next time, perhaps.

Posted by
4439 posts

There are existing international tour companies that one could benefit from either taking, or reviewing their business plan. The first big difference is they are small group more than 15 people in size. That makes public transit, and some social equity possible. GAdventures and Intrepid have worked this way since inception. Over time they now offer more comfortable tours with dedicated mini vans, but one can take their Classic trips and still be comfortable. They 'do' Europe, but as I never consider a tour for Europe, I don't know how well they pull off the energy consciousness. I took an Intrepid India trip in November that practiced a number of these suggestions.

Posted by
17382 posts

Nick, I assume you are asking me.
No, I would not agree as carbon is carbon no matter where it is mined.

The other inference in your question is a good one for another thread (start one and I will participate), but off topic here and if pursued will destroy this thread.

Posted by
4199 posts

Yes to what Nick said, but I wouldn't call that "energy-conscious travel". I would call that "evil-conscious travel".
Tour members could be issued and required to wear t-shirts with social equity phrases.
And I hate to break it to everyone, we must fly commercial rather than traveling on our private jets.

Posted by
709 posts

In reality this is all feel good stuff. In reality there are too many people in the whole world using too much stuff. The train is hurtling down the tracks. Everything now is compounded.
So I don’t use my fireplace. Less carbon, then the train in Ohio derails and so much goes up in smoke that my effort is pitiful in comparison. You get the idea. Only takes one Exxon Valdez or rig blowup to spoil everything once again, and then some.
You can go the route of trying the suggestions listed above if you want. But, I will probably still eat the breakfast buffet and carbonize the world in some questionable way even with that unknown impact measure.
Energy conscious travel is an oxymoron.
Best to not travel at all and stay home with the lights off and eat less.

Posted by
380 posts

I live in a city with public transport and do not even own a car. Once every year or so I fly to Europe or Asia and spend a week in a foreign city, where I use public transportation and walk.

I recycle, I compost, I unplug appliances when not in use. I do my best to avoid single-use paper and plastics.

I have no qualms about the impact of my travel on the environment.

Posted by
4439 posts

In hindsight, I believe we have had similar threads here in the past...but not about tour companies...rather the ethics of traveling at all.
As per the poster above, that means being conscious of your footprint everyday. There are some places I have elected not to travel too as they don't need my strain in their environment, and I like to think my day to day efforts outweigh my flights and travel expenditures.
Ferreting out and switching ti the companies that already do this may be the message other tour companies need to hear. Loss of clients and the all mighty dollar.

Posted by
17382 posts

I got really bored so I did a little math.

Flight from Kansas into London and then out of Lisbon 16 days later. 5000 km trip from London to Paris through Switzerland to Milan, Rome, Bordeaux, Barcelona, Madrid, Seville and Lisbon.

“NET ZERO” trip 16 nights during shoulder seasons (when there is less heating and cooling load) using trains and hotels that are 50% more energy efficient than the average results in a carbon footprint between 2.0 and 2.5 metric tons. Carbon footprint off set would be about $60 per person.

Flying into Amsterdam and out of Rome in the heat of the summer or dead of winter and eliminating most of the time in France (where almost 95% of the energy is renewable or nuclear), but keeping the same 5000km trip distance over 16 nights, but by conventional bus; and using conventional RS hotels the carbon footprint would probably be closer to 4 metric tons.

Let’s say 2.0 metric tons savings per person x 24 in the tour = 48 metric tons (just a little less than the weight of an Abrams Battle Tank) not pumped into the environment compared to a “typical” tour.

Okay, its crude but it illustrates a point.

Posted by
541 posts

I recently attended Rick's talk at the L.A. Travel Show about this very topic and RSE is already doing some of the things discussed here. For example, they have priced into the tours a $30 donation for every tour participant to an organization working to offset our carbon footprints. He spoke from notes because he said it was the first time he was speaking publicly about their efforts, and the COO was also there to describe in detail some of the projects worldwide that the company supports. So, it's clear they feel an ethical obligation. Obviously he also has a successful business model to maintain as well. I think we'll be hearing more in the near future.

Posted by
17382 posts

I've seen the video and read some of his newsletters, and the work is commendable and deserves praise. Taking earnings from conventional practices and patching the results of decades of abuse is a necessity that we can mitigate in the future by changing current practices. English: Change the tour structure philosophy (and every other life practice), and someday we won't have to contribute to charities that are assisting villages subcoming to rising sea levels.