Five Easy Ways to Help the Environment while Travelling

Five Easy Ways to Help the Environment while Travelling

no denying that travel has a significant environmental
footprint, and it’s something we think about rather a lot at

Here are five ways to reduce your impact when you’re on the

Pick your destination wisely

Staycations and locations that are closer to home obviously
reduce your transport-based footprint. For New Yorkers we’ve found
to rival The Hamptons
; Parisians can head to these
weekend getaways
, while Londoners have plenty of
beautiful stays less than two hours from the city
. Wherever you
live, there’s plenty more inspiration online. But if home turf no
longer floats your boat, consider countries that are working in
harmony with their environment. Namibia‘s
conservation and anti-poaching work set them apart from other

safari destinations
, while
Costa Rica
‘s focus on ecotourism has seen hotels like Lapa
Rios Ecolodge
and Pacuare Lodge sexing up

Research your destination carefully. Visiting countries that
have a water shortage will put strain on the community, though
travelling to an area recently struck by a natural disaster may
help boost the local economy (and spirit). When you’re visiting
tourist-popular natural wonders such as Iceland’s Gulfoss Waterfall
or Phi Phi in Thailand, be mindful of how you behave. It sounds
simple, but don’t touch coral and always put your rubbish in the
appropriate bin – it’s alarming how much irresponsible tourism goes
on, often due to ignorance.

This image is on holiday

Reuse, reuse, reuse

We can no longer ignore the effect that our plastic use is
having on the environment. Carry a reusable bottle and avoid

single-use plastics
; most places will happily fill up your
bottle and if you’re visiting natural springs like Iceland’s
Snæfellsnes Peninsula, you can sometimes drink straight from the
source. Many hotels are banning plastic straws, including Four
AccorHotels, Taj
Anatara and EDITION.

Be mindful when using hotel miniatures and pack solid soap or
powdered deodorants – it’ll also free up your time when going
through airport security. While it’s tempting to want to luxuriate
in fresh white towels, there’s no need to have them changed daily –
the same goes for your sheets. You could also consider packing a
reusable camping fork to to take to street food markets, and you
don’t need a bag as well as a box for your (soon to be eaten)

Stay at eco-hotels

Before booking, check out your accommodation’s green
credentials. What is their recycling policy? Do they dispose of
food waste responsibly? Do they give back to the local community?
Separate greenwashing from the places actually supporting

Each country has various bodies that recognise the work of
certified eco hotels. If you’re staying Stateside, have a look at
which hotels have LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental
Design) verification. If you’re going to Central or South American,
look out for lodgings that adhere to the Global Sustainable Tourism
Council standards. In Australia, it’s Ecotourism Australia or
Advanced Ecotourism status for those going the extra mile, such
Silky Oaks Lodge near Queensland’s Mossman Gorge.

An increasing number of hotels worldwide are working to ensuring
their destruction to the environment is as minimal as possible.

Meet Me There
is a no-frills eco lodge in Ghana putting profit
into sanitation and healthcare facilities in the surrounding area,
while Chile’s Tierra Atacama is South America’s
first 100% solar-powered hotel. Putting sustainability first,
Jicaro Island Lodge is among many eco-lodges working
to protect the environmental nirvana that is Nicaragua,
while Tongsai Bay in Koh Samui has been perfecting a
food-waste policy for over 15 years, using it as fertiliser and
compost, with most fruit and vegetables grown (organically)

This image is on holiday

Offset your carbon emissions

Most airlines give you the chance to offset your carbon
emissions when buying a plane ticket. Usually, this will go towards
reducing carbon elsewhere by planting trees or minimising methane
gas in agriculture. Some environmentalists argue that it’s more
beneficial to choose your own carbon-offset programme, so you can
choose what will most benefit the country you’re visiting. Use
Myclimate to calculate how much carbon your journey
will use, then pick one of their varied global programmes.

If you are travelling long distances, think about staying for
two weeks instead of one and travel in economy – as tempting as
that air-mile upgrade is, by taking up less space in economy your
emissions are less too.

Keep it local

Tourism may be a destination’s biggest industry, but to ensure
the local community feel the benefits, keep it micro-local. By this
we mean stay in a boutique hotel or homestay rather than a large
resort (which are often foreign-owned). Smaller hotels are more
likely to employ local people and use locally sourced products. If
you go on a tour, rather than researching online or going to the
nearest tourist office, ask around – a local resident (and personal
guide) is often far better than anything you can book. When it
comes to food, embrace the regional cuisine; if you’re by the
coast, eat fish. The same goes for public transport; take buses,
trams and trains to immerse yourself in local life while going
green. If you need to take a car, make use of all seats if you

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11 Ways to be a More Sustainable Traveller