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How to have an eco-friendly holiday and travel more sustainably

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 13/09/2017 Liz Connor

© Provided by Evening Standard Limited Most of us know that humanity’s carbon footprint is massive, damaging the environment with every bit of carbon emission.

You might already be doing your bit to help the environment when at home, but did you know that you can also go on low carbon holidays?

According to a recent survey,54.6 per cent of UK tourists are already trying to be more environmentally conscious when travelling. Clearly, we're all trying to 'green up' our act.

Here, Niamh Walsh from HolidayPirates shares some great tips to get you started on reducing your greenhouse gas emissions.

Look around for options

When it comes to reducing your carbon footprint, it can be difficult knowing where to start, especially when it comes to booking your next holiday. Fortunately, if you do some digging around, you are guaranteed to find eco-friendly travel packages and providers. By researching what options are available, you can discover new locations, new ways of travelling and less organisation for yourself!

Getting where you want to go

Many of us know that a massive chunk of our carbon emissions come from taking planes when we go on holiday or travel. However, it is important to remember that this isn’t the only way to go – you can use ferries, cycle, drive your own car and get the train. For example, ferries can not only take you across most of the UK, but also to France and onwards to Scandinavia. If flying somewhere is your only option, you can still do a bit for the environment by paying voluntary carbon tax whenever you fly. 

Pack light

Not only is packing light a great way to skip waiting around for your luggage, it is also great for the environment, especially if you are flying. The lighter your bag, the more fuel-efficient your plane will be.

Live like a local

A HolidayPirates survey found that 75.1 per cent of UK tourists would consider booking sustainable accommodation. Some environmentally-friendly options include staying in a Bed & Breakfast or AirBnB. Not only does this provide you with a truly authentic travel experience, but it also lets you support local businesses, which creates a waterfall effect, as local businesses are likely to support each other. By staying in a Bed & Breakfast, you might be bringing in business to local farmers and stores as a result.

Embrace the outdoors

If you are feeling more adventurous, then immerse yourself in the great outdoors for a nature-filled and carbon-reducing holiday. Grab a tent, your best pals and head out to a campsite, where you can enjoy nights under the stars, plenty of fresh air and the fun of outdoor cooking. Even if you want to travel in the colder months, you can now go to a chic yurt or treehouse, which will come with a wood stove, keeping you warm and cosy, while still letting you embrace the elements.

Explore the cuisine

A huge part of going on holiday is immersing yourself in new culture and eating the local cuisine is arguably one of the best ways to do so. Fortunately for the environment, you can do both – enjoy all the delicious food and reduce your carbon footprint. A few simple ways to do this are – leave the tourist traps and head into the depths of wherever you are visiting, to find hidden gems and local restaurants. If you are staying in an AirBnB and cooking for yourself, then make sure to go to the local food markets, where you can get fresh and locally sourced produce. A massive 92.8 per cent of UK tourists are trying to do this already. Lastly, if you are holidaying by the sea, then eating the catch of the day or any of the locally caught fish is both delicious and supporting the local industry.

Stay responsible

Holidays are definitely the perfect time to let your hair down and relax, but when it comes to reducing your carbon footprint, you should remain responsible. For example, just as you would at home, make sure to separate your rubbish into recyclables and non-recyclables. Remember to switch off the lights and the air-conditioning when you leave your room and conserve water by closing off the taps when you aren’t using them.

Related: Bird’s Eye View Of Norway’s Picture Perfect Lofoten Islands (provided by Barcroft TV)

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