You can’t ignore the issue of climate change anymore, there is far too much talk of it, and it’s not going anywhere any time soon. Are you feeling guilty every time you forget to take your plastic bag to the supermarket or every time you eat some meat? If so, how are you going to feel this year when you increase your carbon footprint by jetting off on holiday for a well-earned break or you want to do some good in the world by volunteering abroad, does that offset your air miles? It’s a tough one to work out and do the right thing, does it mean you can never go on holiday again? If you want to be more eco-friendly, this year then there are some things you can put into practice which will make a difference and make you feel less guilty and more proactive. Don’t forget, just because you are on holiday doesn’t mean that all the rules go out the window, remember your reusable shopping bags, your water bottle, walk instead of taking taxis and eat less meat. All those good efforts you’ve been making at home, they still count when you’re away, so continue to do them.
Every kilo counts when you are flying, and the more a plane weighs, the more carbon emissions it produces. Only pack what you need, forget clothes that aren’t multipurpose, and get rid of paperweight by downloading books on an iPad or e-reader.
Choose A Green Destination
If you really want to feel like you’re doing some good, then visit places that are eco-friendly themselves. There are many countries and cities now who are working hard to combat climate change and preserve their local ecosystems. By supporting them, this is a big step in protecting the planet. Places like Slovenia, Portugal, Lake Tahoe, and Sani Isla, Ecuador, were noted at the 2018 Sustainable Top 100 Destination Awards for their focus on going green. Portugal was highlighted for showing innovation in sustainable tourism, and Sana Isla was praised for its efforts in protecting its natural habitats.
To improve air quality in city centres, Germany has introduced environmental zones, umwelt zones in German. The umwelt sticker (https://duitsemilieusticker.nl/) requirement applies within these zones, and the aim is to reduce the particulate matter content in the air within the environmental zones and to stimulate the use of public transport such as buses, trams, and trains. So, if you want to make a difference, then support the countries who are making these efforts, as it will encourage others to do the same.
Book Non-stop Flights
While it’s not always possible, where you can and even if you have to pay more, then book direct flights. It’s actually the takeoffs and the landings that create most of an airplane’s carbon emissions, so limit your journey to as little flights as possible
Don’t print off your tickets or get them sent to you, scan your smartphone instead.
Could You Drive?
If you’re travelling with family or friends and the destination is within driving distance, perhaps you should consider taking a road trip so you can share the driving and have some fun. However, if you’re travelling by yourself, it’s much more eco-friendly to fly! Remember that flying isn’t the only option, it’s worth looking at other ways you could get to your destination, even if it takes a little longer, it could be more beneficial to the environment.
Take Public Transport
Taking public transport is one of the best things you can do for the environment when travelling. It means you’re not creating any additional carbon emissions from private transport. It will also add to your travel experience, providing you with opportunities to interact with locals.
Keep It Local
Drink a locally brewed beer and locally made wine. Not only will you probably enjoy better quality beverages and at a lower price, but you will also be helping out the environment by cutting down on the drink mileage, how far it has had to travel before it wet your lips. This applies to eating local produce too. Be adventurous with your tastebuds – it’s carbon-friendly! Eat at locally-owned restaurants, and stay in locally owned hotels, and B&Bs. Buy locally made crafts and products that are useful and won’t just be taking up space and gathering dust for the rest of your life. Also, make sure you never buy crafts or gifts made from protected or endangered animals.
Be At Home In A Hotel
As mentioned in the beginning, just because you’re on holiday doesn’t mean that all your rules can be forgotten. When you are staying in a hotel, you should act as you would do at home. So avoid getting clean towels when you don’t need them, hang them up so that when the hotel maids come the next day, they know you’re going to use them again. Also, take showers and not baths. Did you know that showers use just 10-25 gallons of water, while baths use up to 70 gallons? You can save even more water by taking quick showers and try turning the water off while you lather up, shampoo, shave, and brush your teeth. Don’t forget to turn off the TV, the lights, and aircon when you leave the room too.
Don’t Forget About Your Toiletries
Rather than using those in the hotel, bring your own shampoo, conditioner, and lotion in reusable bottles. If you do want to do something useful, though, you could take the bottles from the hotel and donate them to a homeless shelter.
Understand The Local Recycling Rules
Recycling doesn’t just disappear because you’re on holiday either. Make sure you’re still separating your plastics from your papers. If you’re staying in a hotel, then ask about their recycling program, or if you’re renting a place, then speak to your host about their recycling and to see what local rules or best practices you need to follow.
Avoid Bottled Water
Plastic bottles account for a lot of waste, so remember to take your water bottle and find water filters to fill them up with safe water.