When you think of going on a sustainable holiday your mind automatically wanders to cutting out the flight doesn’t it? Ours did too! But it’s not the only way you can make sure you’re looking after the environment, and helping to improve the world we live in, whilst on holiday. Our eight super simple hacks will make an eco-friendly traveller out of just about anyone.
If you need to board a plane to get to your destination, be sure to book a direct flight if you can. For domestic flights, consider an alternative such as rail or bus - not only will these be cheaper, but they release far less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Similarly, when travelling to the airport or station, if you are going with a group of people, all jump in the same car where possible. But it's not only getting to your destination that’s important - whilst you’re there be mindful of the transportation you are using. Is walking an option? Yes, it may take you a little longer but think of the culture you can soak in on the way. Hiring bikes, rowing, or a bus tour will all help to cut down your carbon footprint compared to hopping in a cab.
What do we mean by this? It’s simple really. Don’t do the things you wouldn’t do at home, in your accommodation. A prime example of this is hanging up your towels once you’ve used them rather than leaving them to be washed every day (we highly doubt you do this at home, right?).
Other quick wins are; turning the TV and lights off when you leave, popping the Do Not Disturb sign on the door so your room isn’t vacuumed daily, taking soap and shampoo bars with you to cut down on single use plastics, making the most of the warm weather and leaving clothes out on the balcony to dry rather than using the laundry facilities - all super simple things that will make a huge difference!
It is also worth mentioning that there are specific eco-friendly and sustainable hotels/accommodation options available all over the world, so this may be something to look into.
When booking your holiday and day trips it is likely your inbox will be bombarded with email confirmations which will need to be shown at different points throughout your trip. With confirmations you are usually given two options; to print them out or show them on your smartphone. We suggest you go with the latter rather than wasting energy and paper printing off something you are just going to throw in the recycling once you’re done with it. The same goes for your travel insurance policy too - the wordings on these things can be lengthy! The majority of us will send your documents through to you in a format you can open from your phone, so just jot down your policy number and keep the email to hand should you need it.
It’s a given that when you’re on holiday you’re going to be exploring the local area. Well, one of the biggest and easiest ways to be eco-friendly when out and about is making sure you take any litter back to the accommodation and dispose of it correctly. There are some destinations that organise ‘clean ups’ of local beaches and nature parks where holidaymakers can spend a few hours voluntarily litter-picking - a great way to see the sites, get to know the locals and make the world a cleaner place.
Equally as important as keeping hold of your litter is if you are planning to visit the beach, make sure your sun cream is ‘reef safe’. Some brands contain chemicals that are harmful to coral and marine life so just be mindful when grabbing your factor 50 off the shelf. A couple of other easy tips when you’re out, doing as the Romans do, is to take a reusable coffee cup or water bottle with you, shop with local businesses and take your own bag to pop your goods in, stick to the paths and don’t veer off into the wilderness and refrain from freeing any animals and wildlife you come across.
Sightseeing on foot is a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture and find some hidden gems that you otherwise may have missed if you had taken public transport. Activities such as paddle boarding, visiting food markets, kayaking, swimming, hiking and a day at the beach for example are all great ways to have fun without harming the environment. Just remember to follow rules, stick to paths and slap on the reef-safe sun cream we mentioned earlier! It could also be worth looking at local guides and tours to get to know the area from an insider.
Let’s be honest, the craze of taking pictures with tigers (and other wild animals) must stop. Although some animals are kept in licensed sanctuaries where their welfare truly is at the heart of the organisation, these are few and far between. Many of these tourist attractions are money-makers, and the animals are often sedated and kept in appalling conditions - which is why we have removed cover for all animal-related activities from our policies. However, taking a blanket approach and boycotting sanctuaries altogether might not help the local communities that depend on them for tourism and a form of income. It’s a really fine line! So, if you are planning to visit an animal sanctuary as part of your trip, we highly recommend you do your research. Check out our friends at Animondial for more information about ethical animal-based excursions.
Perhaps we should have put this one closer to the top, but if you’re reading this before your trip then there’s still time to action it. Before heading off on your holiday make sure you unplug your home. Some equipment will still drain electricity even if it’s not being used. Switch off plug sockets, turn off lights and flick the heating down to 0. This will not only lower your carbon footprint but also save you money - win win!
Not sure what we mean by a near beer? Basically, if you’re visiting the local pub be sure to order the local beer. Fairly simple concept to grasp! Local beer and produce wouldn’t have travelled as far, and it also helps to support local businesses. You may be surprised and find yourself a new favourite holiday tipple!
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