After the last couple years, we all deserve a holiday. We all need time to relax and leave any worries we have at home. However, while we get excited for our next adventure, many of us don’t stop to consider the consequences our holidays are having on the planet. Whether that is the destination we choose, how we get there or what we take with us.
Here at UK Going Green, we have put together some of our top tips for going on a green holiday:
- Think about your location and how you will get there
The UK isn’t the sunniest of places and many of us in the summer months love to go somewhere that is a lot warmer. This means that there are a large number of UK tourists travelling. If you are planning a trip abroad whether it’s for the sun, to witness a different culture or even to visit family, look into alternative ways of getting there. Flying creates around 2.5% of our global emissions. Opting to drive or to take the Eurostar will dramatically lower your own carbon footprint.
If you do have to travel by plane, however, make sure you choose a flight that has a high occupancy rate. You could also do a little bit of research to see how sustainable the company you are flying with are.
If you don’t mind the UK’s weather and you want to go on holiday somewhere that isn’t too far away, consider having a staycation. The UK has a magnitude of beautiful areas, you can go and visit. You also have the satisfaction of knowing that your trip gives you a lower carbon footprint than if you had travelled to another country. You don’t have to fly and there are several more sustainable ways to travel, from trains to coaches, and if you don’t have one yourself you could hire an electric car.
If you are using a travel company to book your holiday look into using a sustainable company, who supports sustainable development and conservation projects.
- Make sure your accommodation is sustainable
It is important to do some research on where you will stay when you are on holiday, so you don’t end up somewhere unpleasant which will totally ruin your much needed break. If you are wanting to become a green consumer, I encourage you to also research how sustainable the accommodation is. Whether they recycle, help to conserve water, or if they use local produce from local farms when they serve up your breakfast.
If you fancy a staycation, the National Trust has a list of sustainable holiday accommodations on their website: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/holidays.
- What to take with you on holiday?
There are range of shops on our high streets that sell little tiny bottles of things we need for holidays such as shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. Nobody wants to take a full-sized bottle from their bathrooms, but these little bottles are only used on your holiday and then they are put in the bin and sent straight to landfill.
In order to avoid this unnecessary creation of waste, buy a set of small empty bottles. If you are flying it will be best to buy the see-through versions. You can then fill these up with the product that you already have at home, and when you get back wash them out and keep them for your next holiday. Not only are you helping to save the planet from waste you are also saving your money as miniature toiletries can be pricey.
- Respect the area you are in
When you go on holiday you expect beautiful beaches, gorgeous woodlands, peaceful towns or bustling cities, depending on your preference. What you don’t expect is litter, and neither do the people that visit the area after you. Make sure you keep all your rubbish with you to discard of properly and if there is a bin, use it. There is nothing worse than going to a beach, setting down your towel and having an empty crisp packet flying into your face by the wind.
If possible, take reusables, such as plates, cutlery, food containers, and water bottles. Then you have no need of a bin, and you can take your items home with you to be reused again and again.
- Find eco-friendly things to do
There are a wide range of eco-friendly things you can do on a holiday, from coastal and woodland walks to bike riding. Research the area you are visiting and look for activities that have low emissions and those that do not damage the environment.
You can also go on working holidays where you can learn a new skill, such as growing fruit and veg on an organic farm or learning how to dry stone a wall. Many of these trips offer free accommodation and food for exchange for your work, and you will also get the satisfaction of doing something to help the planet.
If you are a fan of shopping whilst on holiday look for local shops that sell items made from local materials. Keep in mind when you are buying souvenirs for relatives that your gifts have come from a sustainable source.
We hope that these tips are useful and wherever you go on holiday you remember to think green. As well as one of the most important things: that you have an amazing time!