Research shows that 1 in 10 European tourists book eco-friendly holidays – choosing to stay local, or travel by ferry, bus, train or coach rather than flying. I’ve been open about my struggles with sustainable travel choices – favouring the experience of visiting new countries and not having the time (or money!) to go abroad without flying – so I suppose that makes me one of the 90% who doesn’t book an eco-friendly holiday.
With my next summer holiday and flight just 5 days away, I decided to do some research to figure out what I can do to make my ‘non eco-friendly’ holiday a bit more ‘eco-friendly’. So here are my tips on making your summer holiday more sustainable:
1. Pack light
Did you know that the lighter your bag, the more fuel-efficient your plane will be? Try travelling with only hand luggage, or if you do buy checked-in luggage don’t feel the need to get to your 20kg weight allowance! Wear your heaviest clothes and shoes, only pack what you need, and buy what you can when you get there (shampoo, shower gel etc). Who enjoys lugging around a huge heavy suitcase anyway?
2. Take a reusable water bottle
Many of us do this at home anyway, so why not do it when we’re away? Empty reusable bottles are allowed through airport security so there’s no excuse! Take your water bottle with you so you can refill it when you’re away – reducing the amount of single use plastic you use, the amount of money you spend on drinks, and probably increasing the amount you drink!
3. Buy coral-safe sunscreen
Did you know that some sun cream ingredients have been linked to coral bleaching and changes to fish hormones?! I am shook – torn between not wanting to look like a tomato, and not wanting to damage our oceans any more than we already do! But the fact is that we need sunscreen, so it’s all about the choices we make when buying our trusty factor 50. National Geographic produced this handy guide to how sunscreen damages the coral reef, what ingredients to look out for, and links to lists of ‘safe sunscreens’. (NB: Did my research when holiday shopping and found that Boots Soltan range is safe!)
4. Use your feet
Whether you’re going on a city break, on a lads holiday to Ibiza, or a relaxing trip to the beach – do you really need to drive? Walking around your holiday destination is the best way to find the hidden spots (cute cafes on side streets, the bars the locals go to) and really experience the local culture.
5. Take reusable straws
I bought my stainless steel straws about a year ago now and I cannot get enough of them! I take one everywhere with me – they’re so handy when I’m out for cocktails and don’t want to use a pesky plastic straw. If like me your holidays are often booze fuelled and full of cocktails I recommend investing in some reusable straws to help reduce your impact!
6. Eat local
The classic ‘buy local, eat local’ logic still applies when you’re abroad! Where you can, try to eat in local eateries (run by locals, not big chains like McDonalds!) and avoid going all inclusive where you can. Big hotels and complexes will often import food in because of the lower costs, while local cafes and restaurants will typically use locally grown and sourced fruit, vegetables and meat.
7. Be responsible
Sounds obvious but be conscious of what you’re doing, how you’re behaving… if you recycle here in the UK, try to recycle when you’re away. If you take shorter showers here, take shorter showers there. Don’t waste water, don’t put the AC on too high and waste electricity… behave as you would in your own home where you pay the bills!
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