Like every good story, Erasmus comes to an end eventually. Everyone needs to go back home but only few make the journey back using a sustainable mode of transport. Given the rise of carbon emissions from aviation, you might want to prove to yourself and your friends that alternative travel options are possible. We do know that this might not be the norm, as land connections in Europe significantly vary and what we call options are actually unavoidable choices. Nevertheless, there is always room for a green return trip!
Actions you can take
- Calculate your journey’s carbon footprint. Awareness is the first step!
- Take a train or a coach to go back home, as low-carbon alternatives to short-haul flights. By doing so, the Erasmus+ programme foresees an extra 50 euros and up to 4 days of additional individual support for your journey. Ask your international/mobility office for more information about this funding opportunity. Meanwhile, have a look at the tips and tricks for green travel written by Movetia (Swiss National Agency for Exchange and Mobility) and by the Green Office of Utrecht University, and follow the steps suggested by Erasmus by Train.
- Your Erasmus experience is almost over, but the Erasmus feeling can be extended! Organize a sustainable land trip back home! Eurail or Interrail passes (depending on your residency) might be an interesting option!
- If you do need to fly, opt for airlines with more efficient fleets and routes with fewer stopovers. Direct flights are always better! When feasible, fly to places close to your final destination and switch to alternative transport modes for the final stage of your journey.
- Travel by train and/or coach requires a mental shift (welcome to the slow travel world!) and one or a few days more to reach your destination. If you are looking for a place to stay ‘en route’), use an eco-friendly booking site for accommodation or opt for homestays. Fancy a hostel experience? Have a look at Hostelling International, a worldwide network of not-for-profit Youth Hostel Associations advocating sustainable travel.
- Travel prepared! Disposable plastics are harmful. To reduce plastic waste generated while travelling make sure you have reusable kit: water bottle, reusable shopping bag, reusable cutlery, toiletries in reusable, refillable bottle and/or soap bar. Become a Traveler Against Plastic!