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5 Ways to Travel More Sustainably

The rise of eco-tourism and sustainable travel has gained major popularity over the last few years. With tourism alone being responsible for 8% of the world’s carbon emissions, travellers are looking for more ways to care for the environment while abroad. Research by found that in 2021, 72% of global travellers thought that sustainable travel was important. Despite this, only 40% of travellers stayed in eco-friendly accommodation that year. To raise awareness and encourage sustainable travel, we’ve put together 5 useful tips to help you make more sustainable choices while on your holidays.

1. Make conscious food choices

According to Sustainable Travel International, hotels in the UK produce an estimated 79,000 metric tons of food waste each year (which is about the equivalent of eight Eifel Towers!). Spain (a popular destinations for British tourists), on the other hand was responsible for more than 1 million tonnes of food and drink waste. With all you can eat buffets and oversized portions available at most tourist destinations, it’s no surprise that such a large amount of food ends up at landfills each year. To make matters worse, most hotels and other forms of accommodation across the world don’t always compost their food waste, meaning everything wasted is left to decompose and produce levels of methane gas, which is 21 x more potent than carbon dioxide. Methane is partly responsible for warming up our climate and will contribute to higher global warming threats if not kept under control.

Every little thing we do can help to leave less of a mark on the planet. So, even by choosing to eat smaller portions while on holiday will help to minimise the chances of food waste and decrease the amount of methane produced by landfills.

2. Shop Sustainably

The manufacturing of goods, such as clothes, can also increase carbon emissions released into the environment. In the UK, it’s likely that the items you purchase have been manufactured in another country. From water, energy and transport used to bring these items into your hands, every element of the process contributes to the amount of carbon emissions released into the atmosphere.

So, the next time you book a holiday and fancy splurging out on new clothes for your trip, why not save yourself some coins and save the planet by purchasing only what you need and making conscious decisions with the amount you buy? By doing this, you help to decrease your carbon footprint and lower production rates. Another way you can make a big difference is by shopping at second hand shops. This saves tonnes of clothes ending up in landfills and donations often go towards a good cause – so you’re helping in other ways too. You can also shop in independent stores while abroad, this way you are helping to invest in their economy, keep the locals in jobs and save yourself some money too. It’s a win-win!

3. Pack Lighter

When going on holiday, it can be easy to over pack. From taking extra toiletries to over buying clothes ‘just in case’, many of us are often tempted to splash the cash in preparation for our trips. But most of the time the items we pack go unused. If you’re trying to be more sustainable, don’t be tempted by all the travel-sized products and instead opt for eco-friendly products that will last you both during and after your trip. Some more sustainable choices are shampoo and body wash bars. Most of these are packaged in recyclable cardboard, meaning more room in your suitcase and less plastic in landfills. Some hotels even provide you with their own sustainable and plastic-free toiletries, including soap, shampoo and conditioner, so it’s always worth doing your research before you set off to see if you can reduce your luggage by using the hotels supplements instead.

4. Stay at sustainable or eco-friendly accommodation

Nowadays, with more people looking to make more eco-conscious decisions, hotels and other accommodations are adapting to be more sustainable in a bid to help save the environment and attract more customers. While there are many hotels around the word that dedicate their brand ethos to sustainability, one particular hotel chain that has put eco-friendly tourism at the forefront is the Iberostar - a company with 70 luxurious beachfront resorts in Spain, Mexico, Brazil and other countries. The Iberostar hotel chain describes themselves as a big family with strong values and they have dedicated more than 60 years to working towards a tourism model that cares for people and the environment. From sustainable décor, architecture and locally sourced produce, these resorts really do offer an unforgettable and sustainable holiday experience. Other eco-friendly hotel resorts with a mission to reduce their CO2 emissions include, Spain’s Hotel Son Bernadinet, Bambu Indah in Bali and The Maslina Resort in Croatia. So, next time you’re booking a trip away, why not opt for the sustainable option and stay at an accommodation that contributes to saving the environment.

5. Consider staying closer to home

You’d be surprised how much of the UK you have left to explore. Staying closer to home means less emissions produced by travel, making a great sustainable holiday option. And if you do fancy going a little further you can always consider driving or getting the train to a beachside town. Did you know, according to the European Environment Agency, travelling by train accounts for 14 grams of CO2 emissions per passenger mile while air travel generates a massive 285!

Why not venture out to Cornwall for some beachside family fun? Or, go all out and have a sustainable cabin break surrounded by nature. In the UK, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to woodland breaks, with hot tubs, indoor pools and outdoor activities, you can guarantee to have an adventure that you’ll never forget. Plus, you would have reduced your carbon footprint by not travelling overseas too!

If you do stay closer to home, it’s important to remember that travel insurance is still a must. To buy travel insurance for a UK break, you’ll need to be away from your home for more than two nights and been in booked or paid-for accommodation (for example, you won’t be able to claim for cancellation costs if you’re staying at your mates!). At Alpha, we provide single and multi-trip travel insurance for both overseas travel and breaks in the UK. To find out more about our travel insurance and its benefits click here:

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