After over a year of lockdown and with the legal ‘permission’ to start vacationing and staycationing, everyone is (understandably) excited for a change of scenery this summer.
If you’re reading this, you’ll probably know that it’s no great secret that travel and tourism contribute largely to climate change, and with more and more people jetting off, it’s clear that a few travel habits may need to be adopted to ensure a more planet-friendly tourism experience! However, as always, we are here to help with this - and with a few little tweaks, you can get your travel fix and do your bit for the planet!
So, with all the excitement and hunger for a trip that we know you all have, here are 7 great ways to reduce your carbon footprint and have an eco-friendly holiday this year and beyond…
Consider sustainable tours companies
If you’re venturing outside of the United Kingdom, you can go the extra mile from the get-go, and focus on turning your vacation into a true ecotourism opportunity! Ecotourism is a form of tourism involving responsible travel to natural areas, conserving the environment, and improving the well-being of the local people.
If you’re unsure where to start with your ecotourism efforts, look at booking via a sustainable travel company for travel agents. They ensure that sustainable practices are ingrained in each facet of the trip, plus some of the experiences they offer look highly enriching and immersive.
Undiscovered Mountains: Based out of the french alps, all year round. They take ecotourism seriously and only work with local guides - to ensure your money stays local and goes to those who deserve it
Intrepid Travel: A B Corp, that puts on small tours all over the globe, with a foundation that supports 50 conservation projects, all over the world. From trips in the mountains to sailing and almost everything in between, Intrepid offers a vast array of experiences.
Aracari: For the luxe nomad, Aracari holds many accreditations and come highly recommended. They ensure that sustainability has many touch points, to ensure a well rounded ‘eco-tourism’ experience.
Look at your travel options
With declining air quality fast becoming a public health issue, reducing both plane and car use is critical to mitigate climate change and reduce our carbon emissions. Even though the majority of emissions come from large commercial use and less from individual and personal use, if we all reconsider how we travel, especially in regards to holidays, it can really help to make a difference.
The first port of call to reduce your carbon footprint is to check if you can get to your destination by train, as this is by far the most environmentally sound option (up to 10 times fewer carbon emissions than a plane). If the train is not an option, look for airlines that are actively considering the environment and offer carbon offsetting programs.
LSE has released TPI studies (Transition Pathway Initiative) where you can filter by industry and see the companies carbon performances and those who are actively changing their practices - like airlines. Another way to reduce your emissions is to ensure you fly direct, and consider public transport, walking and cycling when you get to your destination.
Choose eco-accommodation for your stay
So, you’ve picked the destination and considered your transport, now where do you stay? With eco-accommodation becoming ever more of a hot topic, you don't have to look too far to uncover environmentally conscious Airbnbs and hotel round-ups.
What to look for when booking environmentally-friendly accommodation? Many hotels, B&Bs and homes are rolling out plenty of green initiatives. Some key things to look out for are conscious energy usage and water-saving techniques, sustainable or reformed building materials, landscape conscious design, farm to table cooking, innovative waste management systems and sustainable practices regarding the local community.
Hack your travel wardrobe
We couldn’t avoid speaking about your travel wardrobe, could we? Often you may be without a washing machine when you go away, so here are a few (planet-friendly) wardrobe hacks to freshen up your clothes when amenities are few and far between.
The BLANC stain bar is perfect for the little marks and stains on clothes whilst out and about (or for handwashing stains), and the AttireCare crease release spray is magic as an alternative to ironing clothes! If you’re a shoe-aholic, the AttireCare travel set has everything you need to look sharp whilst away.
Finally, try to pack light if you can: the less weight and luggage you take on a flight, the less fuel it has to use to operate! Plus, curbing emissions isn’t the only benefit either: a lighter luggage will also be much easier to carry and will save you precious time when packing up at the end of your trip!
Go green with suncream
… and other body care products when you travel! Some harsh chemicals in sunscreen can have bleaching effects on coral and are detrimental to marine life when ingested. The good news is that many great alternatives are starting to surface and SPF should always be non-negotiable.
Using a small set of small toiletry bottles that you can refill time and time again allows you to bring all your favourite beauty products while avoiding unnecessary plastics. Alternatively, you can look for natural, solid bars of soap and shampoo - they don’t count towards your liquids allowance if you’re flying, won’t spill over your case and avoid excess plastics and packaging!
Shop and live like a local
One way you can have an instantly beneficial effect with your eco-tourism efforts is to try to put your hard-earned money in the pockets of those who really need it, by living and shopping as the locals do. This further immerses you into the experience and gives you a more authentic vacation.
This can be done through picking local food at the farmers market or choosing a family-run restaurant for dinner, hopping on local transportation or hiring a bike to get around and staying at an independent hotel. Try to also learn some words in the local language to fully immerse yourself and have a more authentic holiday experience - this also has vast benefits for the local community and environment, just through a little local consciousness, it shows you care.
Leave the destination better than you found it
Many sustainable travel agents will factor in an environmental donation into the trip price, or try to offset the carbon output, but if you don't book through an agent there are many other ways to leave your holiday destination in better shape than you discovered it - and they don't have to be financial. You can reduce your footprint and give back by picking up litter on the beach, take a day volunteering for the local wildlife or community, or simply take the time and energy to immerse and learn about the culture.