It’s holiday time!

Picture Courtesy – Annie Spratt

After two years cooped up at home everyone is looking for a getaway. Promises of sea and sunshine are hard to resist after the pressures of Covid-19 and despite chaos at airports many of us will be jetting overseas this summer.

Often the best breaks are gone in a flash and it maybe only when we’re homeward bound that we consider the impact of our time away. A little pre-planning can alleviate any eco-anxiety or green guilt. Sustainability may not be the first thing on your mind when you book a holiday, but it will offer lasting benefits.

For most types of tourist trips, the journey to and from the destination causes the highest carbon footprint. Often international trips by plane contribute the most to greenhouse gas emissions, so look out for holidays that do not include air travel – travelling by rail can be a great experience and makes the journey a real part of the whole experience.

Picture Courtesy – JK

Here are some great green travel tips:

    • Research your destination

      You’ll likely find out interesting things about the local climate and culture, about great things to see and do in the destination and maybe even pick up a few words of the local language (this is normally really appreciated by locals).

    • Make the travel part of the holiday

      There are an increasing number of destinations which are accessible by different modes of transport from the UK. Consider taking the train to destinations that are accessible through high-speed rail.

      There are huge socio-economic benefits brought in by tourism and so the drawbacks of flying should always be weighed against the benefits tourism brings to local communities.

    • Choose an ethical booking company or a hotel with a green award

      The July/August edition of Ethical Consumer 2022 reviews travel booking and scores Canopy & Stars, Fairbnb, Independent Hostels UK & YHA as ‘best buys’.

      The Travelife Sustainability System operates world-wide to help hotels manage their impacts on the environment and on culture. Look out for other certifications including Green Tourism, Greener Camping Club, or Alpine Pearls and Bio-hotels in Europe.

    • Explore your surroundings

      When you’re in the destination make sure you get out and explore your surroundings. Find out about the must-see sites and great things to do and see how you can work them into your holiday plans.

    • Take care of the local animals

      Not all countries look after animals in the same way that we do in the UK.

      While there are lots of great animal attractions, think twice about participating in activities that might distress an animal and avoid souvenirs made of animal parts as this can contribute to illegal poaching.

Picture Courtesy – Marvin Meyer

  • Play your part

    Many of us are now doing things in our daily lives that mean we have a lower impact on the world around us – whether it’s recycling at home, for example, or sharing a lift to work. There’s a range of simple things that we can all do to help play our part whilst on holiday too, including:

    • Saving water – in many holiday destinations water is a scarcer resource than it is in the UK so try to remember this and perhaps try taking shorter showers.
    • Turn electrical items off when not in use just as you would do at home.
    • Use fans instead of air conditioning wherever possible.
    • Leave packaging at home as there may not be recycling facilities at your destination.
    • Use public transport – this is usually a great way to see more of the local area.
    • Continue to prioritise hygiene – make sure your bathroom, cooking & eating areas are cleaned regularly and take hand sanitiser with you when you go out.
  • Things to take

      • Travel as lightly as possible, taking the minimum you need.
      • Choose organic cotton or second-hand holiday clothing especially for kids.
      • Swap traditional sunscreen for sustainable versions.
      • Include a sturdy backpack – great for days out.
      • Cotton bags, bamboo utensils, and water bottles are all useful & sustainable.
      • Plastic-free sanitary products are ideal for travelling.
      • Organic hand sanitiser is a must for trips out.
      • Washable cleaning cloths can be used damp to clean up while you are on the go.
      • Organic castile soap – the most versatile soap you can buy. Greenscents organic castile soap is 96% organic, super-concentrated and can be used as a laundry liquid, surface cleaner, shampoo, body wash or to clean teeth.

Sustainable travel is growing and even before Covid-19, consumer interest in sustainability was increasing. TUI Group reported an 84% increase in the number of customers choosing “greener and fairer” holiday packages between 2015 and 2020 – hopefully after the post-Covid bonanza, this trend will continue. Whether you are off on a local micro-adventure or a long-haul celebration remember that a focus on simplicity, nature, and personal development will have long-lasting benefits for you, your friends and family.

We wish you a very happy holiday from Greenscents!

Further Reading

Tauber, V.; Bausch, T. Will COVID-19 Boost Sustainable Tourism: Wishful Thinking or Reality? Sustainability 2022, 14, 1686.

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