One of the key impacts of the coronavirus epidemic is that people are thinking twice about going overseas. Particularly as the UK government’s safe list of countries in Europe has been changing frequently, resulting in travellers returning to the UK having to quarantine for 14 days.
A staycation in the UK reduces your carbon footprint
As a result of all this uncertainty, taking a staycation in the UK has become a very popular option. Flying is the largest carbon footprint of any trip overseas and if you choose to stay in your own country, your holiday becomes instantly more sustainable. If you do have to travel abroad by plane, then consider taking a longer holiday. This will become good practice once travel returns to the ‘new normal’. Staying in a destination for two weeks rather than taking three short breaks, would result in a carbon footprint of 2 flights rather than 6. It would also give you the time to relax properly and really get to know and appreciate the place you are staying. Isn’t that what a holiday is all about?
Find a green place to stay
Travellers are demanding ever more sustainable places to stay. In booking.com’s most recent traveller survey in 2019, it showed that over half of travelers (55%) were more determined to make sustainable travel choices. In the UK, there is an organisation called Green Tourism which certifies hotels and holiday rental properties based on environmental and social impact criteria. There are also a growing number of websites like global platform Wayaj which are specifically focused on sustainable accommodation.
Support the local community
When we go on holiday, we are guests of the local community where we are staying and we should do everything we can to support the people who live there all the time: buy local produce, support individual shops, employ a local guide to give you a real insight.
There may even be voluntary projects to get involved in, such as a beach clean-up or a wildlife project who would welcome extra help. It becomes a memorable experience for you and you are really having an impact in the community.
Other ways to holiday more sustainably on a staycation
As we’ve said, if you cut out the flight element of your holiday for 2020, you have instantly created a more sustainable trip. However, there are a number of other things you could think about:
- Single use plastic
- Energy and water use
- Travel choices
- Car-free days
- Staying safe
Avoid single use plastic
We know that the pandemic has seen a massive rise in single use plastic. When you are travelling by car or plane, it’s very easy to buy drinks in plastic bottles as you need them. Instead, make sure that everyone has their own stainless steel or other non-plastic water bottle – you should be able to fill up for free with water and this will keep you more hydrated than sugary drinks! Natural Collection has a good selection of plastic-free bottles
You could also take your own food with you using bento boxes or our favourite reusable non-plastic wraps by BeeBee&Leaf who we interviewed in our blog last month.
Remember to pack some handy Greenscents All Purpose Castile Soap for hand washing, washing up, laundry, cleaning – so many uses and ideal for travelling!
When you are away, make sure that you recycle as you would do at home. If there are no clear instructions, then do ask. When you are out and about, remember to find the local recycling bins and dispose of all your litter.
Save energy and water
Again, be careful of your energy and water consumption as you would at home. Switching off lights and appliances when they’re not in use, taking shorter showers or less deep baths and turning off the tap when you’re brushing your teeth! With all the hand washing at the moment, you can also turn off the tap whilst you’re washing your hands with soap and then switch on again to rinse off.
We know that flying is the least sustainable choice followed by the car (unless you have a hybrid or electric vehicle), so why not consider taking the train. As they used to say – let the train take the strain! No sitting in traffic jams and the journey becomes part of the holiday with time to see the passing countryside, play games, read and stretch your legs. It is thought that train travel will see a renaissance as a result of the coronavirus epidemic with some sleeper trains being rescheduled.
If you have driven to your destination or you are hiring a car, why not plan some days when you don’t use the car? There could be walking or hiking right where you’re staying as people look for more rural locations to stay or you may be able to hire bicycles locally, even e-bikes for longer trips. Have a day to chill out and appreciate where you’re staying – time to read, paint or just do nothing!
Whilst on your staycation in the UK, it is important that we follow the government’s rules for Covid-19 for our own health and out of respect to others, particularly those who live where we are staying. It’s a good idea to have more than one mask that you can wash (using All Purpose Castile Soap of course!) and make sure that you continue with regular hand washing. We have a practical guide to coronavirus with lots of tips about staying safe that you can read here