How to have an eco-friendly holiday

It’s hard to ignore the environmental impact that travel has on the planet.   However there are ways to reduce your carbon footprint and just leave imprints of your feet in the sand.

  • You don’t always have to fly everywhere. To get to France and other northern European countries, it’s often as quick to get a ferry or train (through the tunnel).
  • Trains are a fast and inexpensive way to travel around Europe. Lots of advantages here that include price (cheaper than in the UK).  Plus you arrive in the centre of each town or city, rather than miles outside at an airport
  • Try not to take your full luggage allowance. Yes the airline might allow you to take 23kg or 30kg (for long haul on some airlines) – but you don’t have to pack everything.  Work out what you need for each day plus a few extras.  You can buy toiletries locally in your destination, so no need to take these.
  • Eat locally – hotels might have great restaurants.  But it’s good for everyone if you venture outside of the hotel and try out the local restaurants. Many of these will buy locally, so your food miles are reduced as well.
  • Check out your hotel’s environmental policies – some have some great programmes in place. For example, only employing local staff – thereby helping the local economy even further.  Many are also trying to reduce their own carbon footprints in many different ways.  They are trying to reduce energy usage, not changing towels daily, using energy management systems, recycling their waste and so on.
  • Some cities such as Venice, Barcelona, Rome and London struggle with over-tourism. The cities are crowded and tourists find it hard to get around easily or to find attractions that don’t have queues.  One obvious solution is to go to somewhere less well-know and therefore less crowded.  You’ll get a more authentic experience, with locals who will welcome you.
  • When on holiday, don’t change your own good habits – continue to recycle packaging and plastics as you would do at home. Ask at reception desks for recycling bins in your room or where you can take your recycling.
  • Use public transport where you can – it’s a good way to explore a city. Buy a bus pass and take a map – you’ll find some hidden gems.
  • Hire bikes and cycle round your destination – some places are better suited to this than others. The Netherlands has an extensive network of cycle routes but so do many other countries.  Especially good are cycle paths alongside rivers.  Copenhagen, Budapest, Bordeaux, Malmo, Dublin and Prague are among the best European cities in which to cycle.  Cycling holidays in Asia are popular – with a guide to show you the best places to admire the view and check out the local food
  • What souvenirs are you going to bring home? Something that will be pushed to the back of a cupboard or fantastic photos that will prompt memories in years to come?  Think twice before you buy any products made from any endangered species, including animal hides and body parts, tortoise-shell, ivory, or coral – they could be illegal.

These are just a few ideas of how to reduce your carbon footprint when travelling.  Most of it is common-sense but basically there’s no need to stop exploring our wonderful world.


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