It’s been almost a year and a half of living with COVID-19. For Singaporeans who love to travel, that means it’s been roughly 18 months since they boarded a plane for an overseas holiday.
With 54% of the population having received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccination and talk of Singapore re-opening her borders as early as September 2021, travelling overseas may be possible in the near future.
There is no doubt that Singaporeans will pack up and fly off when leisure travel without SHN is allowed again. But before you book your trip to somewhere exotic, take a moment to think about the huge carbon footprint you leave from making plane trips.
Your Carbon Footprint When Flying on an Airplane
Aviation emissions have doubled since the mid-1980s, with 1.04 billion tonnes of CO2 emitted in 2018 alone. While aviation emissions account for only 2 to 2.5% of global CO2 emissions, they have a troubling effect on global warming. Due to the amount of other emissions and pollutants such as ozone (O3), contrails (water vapour from exhaust) and methane, aviation is responsible for 3.5% of global warming.
You might think, “Okay then, I’ll cut down on the number of holidays I’ll take by flying to maybe, Europe only once a year.”
While reducing the amount of time spent on a plane is a commendable effort, the carbon footprint left behind is still enormous. Did you know that even a two-hour flight will produce more CO2 emissions than a 10-hour car ride?
That’s right; a two-hour plane ride produces 276.89 kg of CO2 emissions while a 10-hour drive produces 81.47 kg of CO2. On the other hand, a 10-hour intercity train ride produces just 44.16 kilograms of CO2, the equivalent of driving 178 kilometres in a petrol-fueled car.
While more sustainable fuel options have been created, there has been no reliable way to decarbonise air travel on the same large scale as road transportation or energy supplies.
So what is the most planet-friendly vacation option? It’s closer than you might think.
Discover Singapore with a Staycation
Instead of flying, why not opt for a staycation? The most eco-friendly option is to plan a staycation rather than opting for an emission-heavy holiday location like going on a cruise to nowhere.
Staycations are not a new phenomenon amongst Singaporeans. We love staycations. Every time the Government eases the COVID-19 restrictions, hotels see an increase in their bookings. After all, it’s a great way to break away from the monotony of the daily grind and take a short break without breaking the bank.
And with the ability to use SingapoRediscover Vouchers when you book local hotels, your stay is technically ‘subsidised’. So the next time you have to clear leave, maybe consider booking a staycation. Plus, COVID-19 is still wreaking havoc globally. It’s socially responsible and safer to stay at home too.
To truly be rested and get vacation vibes, here are some easy steps you can take to enjoy the relaxing holiday you deserve!
1. Play Tourist in Singapore: Duck Tours, Bungy Jumping, Snow City and More
Living in Singapore, the complaint most have is there’s nothing to do but eat and shop. In recent times, many have taken to hiking in the nature parks or cycling the Coast-to-Coast trail to stave off boredom.
But how many of us can say we’ve been on the Duck Tours, went up the Singapore Flyer, and taken a dip in the Marina Bay Sands rooftop infinity pool? Chances are, not many. Now is the perfect time to play tourist in our home city and hit up the local tourist attractions.
We recommend doing your research ahead of time. Plan a three-day-two-night itinerary and explore the city like a tourist would. Some ideas include:
- Admiring flowers at Gardens by the Bay
- Flying kites at the Marina Barrage
- Taking a post-dinner stroll around the Marina Bay area
- Sail along Singapore River on the Duck Tours
- Watch the sunset from the Marina Bay Sands Skypark
- Bungy jump at AJ Hackett
- Take the cable car to Mount Faber Peak
- Climb Bukit Timah Hill
- Say hi to animals at the Singapore Zoo or Night Safari
- Feed goats at Hay Dairies Farm
- Play with ‘snow’ at Snow City
Hit up sites like Klook to score even more deals to attractions. Who knows? After your trip around Singapore town, you may see the city in a new light.
2. Connect with Nature and Hop on a Boat to the Islands
Studies have shown that being in nature brings us tons of benefits. For instance, it makes us happier and less stressed. While you can head to one of the many parks in Singapore for a long walk or try your hand at bird-watching, that’s something you can do on the regular.
For the more adventurous, go island-hopping by boarding a boat to Lazarus Island, St John Island, Kusu Island and Sister’s Island. From pristine beaches and idyllic landscapes to temples, have a relaxing day out exploring these exciting spots. You can bike, picnic and even swim!
When you’re on the islands, “take nothing but memories, leave nothing but footprints”. Pick up your trash and do not disturb the wildlife; you don’t want to disrupt and accidentally destroy local ecosystems.
3. Disconnect from Your Schedule and Turn Off Your Phone
Being able to ‘switch off’ and disconnect from our responsibilities is a big part of why we enjoy being on holiday. To make a staycation feel more like a ‘real’ vacation away from home, you need to turn on ‘holiday mode’. That means putting away your mobile phone.
Tell everyone you’re taking a digital detox and won’t be replying to messages or work notifications. If possible, put your phone on airplane mode. This intentional act of breaking away from your daily life and habits is an act of mindfulness you’ll thank yourself for.
4. Practice Eco-friendly Green Habits During Your Staycation
In Your Hotel Room
If your room isn’t that messy, hang the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on your doorknob. That way, you can reduce the amount of water, electricity and chemicals used for cleaning your room.
In the bathroom, try to avoid the single-use toiletries and tiny bottles of hotel soap by bringing your own. Keep your towels hung up; that’s how you indicate to hotel staff you don’t need to wash your towels.
When Travelling Around
Using ride-sharing apps to get around isn’t as nearly eco-friendly as you think. If possible, take public transportation. You’re on holiday; you have all the time in the world. You could even walk to places if you want!
In the interest of not sweating buckets in the tropical heat, take the MRT train or get on a double-deck bus when travelling to different places. Sit in the front row of the top deck, plug in your headphones and watch the world go by.
During Meal Times
Reduce your reliance on plastic bottled water by carrying around a water bottle to keep hydrated throughout the day. If you’re booking a staycation during the Phase 2 (Heightened Alert), bring along reusable utensils and a water bottle when you do takeaway.
5. Or Stay at Home, Literally
If you feel going on a staycation isn’t something you would enjoy, recreate the holiday experience in your own home. Remodel your room and transform it into your haven. You could go with a minimalist bedroom or Muji-inspired design to project zen vibes.
When the mood strikes you, get reed diffusers, stock up on minibar snacks, get a bathrobe and wear bedroom slippers. Lay in bed all day reading books and watching movies. If you’re feeling really extra and have the cash to splash, get a chef to prepare a Singapore Airlines First Class or Business Class meal for you.
After all, home is still the best, and you deserve a space that makes you look forward to home.
Book a Staycation or Stay at Home for Your Next Holiday
You can go on holiday without getting on the plane or even leaving the comforts of your home. By staying in your local area, your commute is reduced and you generally use less fuel for transportation. The at-home holiday is the most planet-friendly vacation and hopefully a chance to do something new in a familiar place.
However, you should also know when we yearn to go on holiday, it usually comes from a place of wanting to take a break. To truly feel rested, you need to rest both your mind and body. Sometimes, the best holiday you can give yourself is not doing anything at all.
That means you stay at home, have simple, home-cooked meals, switch off from using electronic devices and spend some time with yourself, uninterrupted. And the bonus side effect of doing absolutely nothing? You’re ‘saving’ the Earth as that’s when your carbon footprint is the lowest, as compared to if you choose to travel abroad.
Regardless of how you choose to spend your vacation days, we hope you have a comfortable and relaxing holiday (preferably, at home!).
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This article was written in collaboration with Capture. Capture is a free app that helps you to track and reduce CO2 emissions from everyday life! Capture was co-founded in Singapore in 2019, with a mission to make planet-friendly living possible for all. Check out the free tool via Google Play or the AppStore, or click here to find out more.