Most people are aware of their responsibility towards the environment and their local community in their daily lives. But, then, when it comes to planning a holiday, excitement and aspirations can get in the way of thinking about environmental responsibilities. Green travel can be a tough nut to crack, but with a few simple tips, you can make your trip so much more environmentally friendly.
It’s not difficult to be more responsible while travelling but it does take a little thought. For example, when travelling you should consider the environmental impact of a holiday, such as reducing CO2 emissions, reusing towels, conserving water and energy (for example, turning off taps and showering not bathing), reducing and recycling waste and supporting local communities.
Travellers can also choose to make a positive impact on a destination, rather than a negative one, such as bringing benefits to local people and not running down natural resources. The Travel Foundation, which is a charitable organisation that works with the industry to encourage sustainable practice, states: “[For travellers], it’s essentially giving more than you take.”
But where do you start? We reveal seven tips that will help you to think more responsibly when choosing and booking a holiday.
When you are about to set off on holiday, ensure your home is left “responsibly”. Actions to take include:
Eat up all leftover foods that will go off while you are away.
The statistics on flight CO2 emissions is eye-opening. In 2015, flights worldwide produced 781 million tonnes of CO2 in 2015. Aviation is the cause of 12% of CO2 emissions from all transport sources.
You can help to reduce this environmental impact by booking direct flights where possible or choosing to travel over-land instead.
You can also donate to projects and initiatives that help to offset carbon emissions impacts. The World Land Trust is a good place to start.
Instead of jetting off for every vacation, why not choose to holiday closer to home for some of your trips? This reduces the environmental impact of long-distance travelling.
When you arrive at your destination, instead of hiring a car you could choose to use public transport or, better still, go by bike or on foot. Walking and cycling holidays are great ways to travel responsibly.
When travelling, try to buy from local stores, such as food shops and souvenir shops, and also eat in local cafes and restaurants. There are a number of advantages to this tip, such as supporting sustainable travel and avoiding tourism hotspots by seeking out the places where locals go. The chances are the local places will be cheaper as well.
It can be tempting when overseas to try to haggle down the price of items. But you should also think about the effect of your cheaper sale on the sellers. In some places, the extra money, even just a £1 or $1, can make a huge difference to the livelihoods and lifestyles of the people who have made and sold the items.
Just like we are encouraged to reduce, reuse and recycle at home, the same is true of all locations worldwide.
Waste management is a big issue across the world, especially in developing countries, and as a traveller, you should try to avoid adding to the problem.
There are many things you can do such as saying no to plastic bags, refilling water bottles (carry sterilisation tablets or devices if you are unsure about local water) and eating and drinking in a cafe rather than having a takeaway.
It’s certainly possible to enjoy a holiday more responsibly if you follow some of these tips.
A journalist, web copywriter blogger and social media chatterbox, Fiona combines her love of the outdoors – especially Scotland – with a diverse freelance work life. If she’s not at her desk writing about the outdoors, she’ll be outside cycling, running, kayaking, snowboarding and walking Munros. She shares her outdoors passion with partner, the G-Force. Sometimes her teenage daughter Little Miss Outdoors tags along, too.