The planet is in trouble. It sounds dramatic but, unfortunately, it’s the truth. Now’s the time that
people adapt their way of life to make eco-friendlier and environmentally conscious choices. And
this shouldn’t stop when on holiday.
When holiday mode kicks in it is easy to throw the rules we abide by every day out of the window. A
drink before noon at the airport? Sure! Staying up until 4am every night? Definitely! Flying for 1 hour
to reach your holiday destination, pumping huge amounts of harmful emissions into the sky?
Unfortunately it comes with the pleasure of travelling abroad.
Although we all deserve a welcome break, this doesn’t mean that the environment has to suffer.
There are steps to take that can reduce the negative impact holidaymakers are having on the planet,
by following just some of these on your next trip you can enjoy a guilt-free trip.
- Opt for a Staycation
An obvious solution to cut down on the emissions caused by travelling is to opt for a staycation
instead of going abroad.
Recently, Away Resorts, UK holiday park operator, conducted some research into some popular
overseas holiday destinations visited by Brits and worked out the average trip uses 980kg of carbon
emissions. To dramatically reduce this figure, UK holidaymakers should consider potentially
exploring some of the great locations closer to home.
You don’t need to go to the Caribbean for a luscious beach, in fact according to TripAdvisor’s
Travellers Choice Beaches Awards 2019, Bournemouth beaches were ranked sixth in the whole of
Europe and is just a two-hour drive from London. Bournemouth beach is made up of seven miles of
golden sandy beaches that lead to a beautiful blue sea, resembling locations more exotic than the
Southern British coast. It prides itself on having a number of Blue Flag beaches, a certification
awarded for high environmental and quality standards. You wouldn’t be crazy to think you had
walked onto a Sicilian beach instead of one in Dorset.
If you want the thrill of leaving the mainland you could hop on a short ferry to the Isle of Wight. The
island has miles of beautiful beaches on offer, but if you are the type that doesn’t get excited by
sizzling on the beach in the summer sun and likes to get out exploring, the Isle of Wight has that
covered as well. You could see the incredible natural chalk rock formation, the Needles, take a trip to
the Isle of Wight Zoo or even visit Carisbrooke Castle.
These are just two examples of how the UK can offer the perfect holiday destination, reducing the
need to hop on a plane.
- Become Familiar with Public Transport Options
Much of the world have fantastic public transport systems which should be taken full advantage of
when exploring abroad. The Metro in Paris for example offers easy, cheap and quick access all over
this popular destination, and due to the congestion the city centre often experiences, it is usually
faster than taking multiple taxis.
If you are going further than Europe, where most destinations will cater for an English traveller, the
thought of getting on trains and busses may seem daunting. However, popular tourist spots have
taken this into account and make it easy for foreign visitors to get around and encourages them to
make this more environmentally friendly travel decision.
A perfect example of this in action is the Tokyo Metro. Despite being in a country where Japanese is
the main language and English visitors may not come as frequently or in as large a number as they
do to Paris, they have ensured all English-speaking tourists can use their extensive transit system
Most if not all stations in this underground system have ticket machines that give the option to view
the screen in English, and not only this, will also allow visitors to print off their journey route,
reducing the risk of getting lost in the maze that is the Tokyo subway.
Although these forms of transport are not emissions free, per person and per journey the carbon
output comes in at a lot less.
- Research Carbon Offsetting
Carbon offsetting projects are relatively unknown but can help alleviate the ‘fly shame’ that the eco-
conscious with a bad case of wanderlust are experiencing.
The general idea of these projects is that those that have large carbon footprints, or those that don’t
want to have one at all, will buy ‘carbon credits’ in an amount that is equal to their carbon impact.
This means that for every tonne of emissions you put into the atmosphere, something is done to
There are many projects taking place to help people offset their carbon emissions and a range of
different ways it is achieved.
Whether it is helping protect and build up forests, providing renewable energy to communities in
China or a range of other third world community projects.
It works by calculating how many tonnes of CO2e you are using whether that is at work, everyday
life or simply just for holidays and finds a website that offers carbon offsetting, Carbon Footprint
even have a calculator to give you the exact remuneration for your consumption.
Using the example figure from Away Resorts (980kg CO2e per trip) you can take part in an offsetting
projects from as little as £5.88 to balance the effect of your flights, the prices vary per project, but
are all affordable amounts that will mean that cheeky trip to Lanzarote can be enjoyed without the
- Drive efficiently
Driving is an inescapable part of many lives, even when on holiday. If you prefer to stay in
accommodation that is set away from the cities and attractions you may find you have to drive to
get from place to place.
Of course if viable, completely clean methods such as cycling should be explored for very short trips,
but when you have a little further to go a change in habits is the best option to save on emissions.
Before even taking a trip in the car, make sure the tyres are fully inflated. Having underinflated tyres
increases your fuel consumption by 4% on average.
Everything else is down to adjusting the way you drive. If you are someone that likes to vary your
speed between 50mph and 70pmh on a clear motorway it is probably best to stick at 60mph.
increasing and decreasing your speed regularly can increase fuel use by around 20%.
Similarly, if you are guilty of leaving the car running while you pop back into the house or with your
partner in when you nip into a shop it is worth turning the engine off. It is a myth that restarting the
engine uses a huge amount of fuel, in fact idling uses more fuel than restarting. If you are going to be
stationary for more than 10 seconds (not in traffic) it is more efficient to turn the engine off.
- Limit Energy Use
The final point on this list may seem obvious, limit energy use, however many will practise this at
home, but when on holiday will become complacent. Depending where you stay there are different
things you can do to cut down on your energy.
In both hotels, caravans and cottages you can ensure that chargers, TVs (where you can) and other
appliances are turned off at the plugs. Even though these items are not being used they will still be
consuming energy as long as the mains switch is on. USwitch found that the UK currently wastes
£227m a year leaving appliances on standby, the average household could save up to £80 a year just
by turning plugs off. This habit should also transfer while away from home too.
Those that stay in hotels can make sure that their towels are reused for a few days rather than
leaving them out to be washed multiple times, wasting electricity and water. Equally, if you don’t
believe your sheets need changing every day, take the measures specified to let the housekeeping
staff know. Most of us wouldn’t change our sheets at home daily anyway.
Holidays are something we do and should look forward to, but the planet shouldn’t have to suffer
while we enjoy ourselves. These small changes mean that you can enjoy a relaxing week away
without contributing to greenhouse gases.