Flying has a terrible impact on the environment. Air traffic is responsible for 5 percent of greenhouse gases emitted in the world, and for up to 18 percent in Switzerland. We Swiss nationals are world champions when it comes to flying. No other country causes more CO2 to be emitted per person due to air traffic than us. In 2018, the figure amounted to 548kg per Swiss individual. In comparison, the figure was 460kg in the USA, 363kg in Sweden and 221kg in Germany (source: tourismdashboard.org). Not flying does not only have advantages for the climate. At the moment, it also means you’ll avoid the virus hotbed at the airport and on the plane, and you can save yourself the long journeys.
In comparison to long-distance travel, the main thing you’re missing out on is actually the flight. This is unlikely to be counted among your holiday highlights. Holidaying in your home country does not mean you have to miss out on breathtaking landscapes, culinary highlights, cultural exchanges or enriching new experiences. Quite the contrary – you’ll learn about all the facets of your home country and will really have something to say when someone asks: “Where are you from?”.
Not every home country is cheaper than beloved holiday destinations – this much is clear. However, in addition to living expenses and accommodation prices, there are further costs which relate to climate. This will likely soon be included in our travel tickets. Until this is the case across the board, we must ask ourselves if we are taking the true costs of a holiday into consideration or if we are ignoring them.
You can buy a one-way flight to Mallorca for anything from around CHF 50. This generates roughly 485 kg of CO2 emissions. Instead of flying to the most popular island in the Mediterranean, you could drive to Ticino, which would amount to just 85 kg CO2 each leg. (From Basel; myclimate CO2-calculator).
The choice is pretty straightforward isn’t it? Not always. The prices for different trips vary hugely. Switzerland is not a cheap destination. But if you factor climate costs into the price, the differences in price become less and less. So the only question that remains is ... Do I want to pay the true cost of my holidays or should I just lie in my hammock and leave it to the next generation to worry about?
A new holiday in your home country every single year – okay, we don’t have to go quite that far. Eventually, you’ve seen it all. The right balance is key, as with all things in life. This means you won’t lose your sense of adventure at home, and people who depend on tourism will still be able to make a living.
The described benefits of holidaying in our home country should help us see the current situation from a less pessimistic viewpoint so we can still fully enjoy our holidays. Maybe the next time we’re planning a holiday, we’ll consider whether we’d actually rather stay in our home country.