But that’s not to say individual consumer choices don’t matter. Air travel is down and train travel is up in Sweden since the movement began, and airlines are paying attention. The Dutch carrier KLM even introduced a “Fly Responsibly” campaign, including a website that asks viewers if they wouldn’t be better off conducting virtual meetings or taking the train.
Take them up on it and start by cutting back on your overall travel mileage. Do you really need to take that many trips a year? There are platitudes aplenty about travel — it inspires, it educates, it reduces bigotry. But not all trips meet those standards: Consider an educational exchange program in Vietnam compared to a week at a resort in the Maldives.
Most leisure travel, of course, falls somewhere in between. So I recommend setting a high bar for your travel, making sure any trip maximizes your connection with the place you’re visiting, whether that be through volunteer activity, seeking out a particularly responsible tour operator or traveling where you have friends who can help you live truly local.