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The Traveller's Magazine
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Bio, eco, green, sustainable, organic… these buzz words are on everyone’s minds these days. But can you take these environmental ideologies as far as your holidays? Definitely! ADEME, an environment and energy management agency based in France has a few tips for travellers on how to make their holidays a little “greener” this summer.

It’s a known fact that tourism, especially during the summer holiday months, puts a huge strain on the environment. Despite how good it is for local economies, tourism doesn’t come without a price. According to the UN, tourism contributes 4- 6% of the greenhouse gas emissions in the world due to air transport (for 40%), road transport (for 32%) and accommodation (21%). But there are a few small things we can do to reduce this, even if just by a bit, to make a huge ecological impact.

Switch off your electrical appliances before you leave

Computer, TV, DVD player, router… all of these still use energy even if they’re technically switched “off”. The solution is to turn off the power to the socket or unplug them while you’re away on holidays. ADEME also suggests cleaning out and turning off your fridge if you will be going away for longer periods of time and to also cut the power to your water heater.

Which type of transportation to use?

Open road

Train, car or plane? Each have their advantages and disadvantages but which is the worst on the environment? One is faster, the other is more comfortable and the third is more eco-friendly. Let’s take a look at this example from ADEME: two passengers travel from Paris to Geneva. Travelling by plane is the most expensive option, the fastest and also the worst on the environment. Travelling by car is less expensive, slower but not as bad on the environment. Travelling by train is more expensive than travelling by car but it’s faster and much better for the environment.

To make your decision a bit easier to make, you can always see the carbon emission for your trip when you search for flights on written right above the offer. A trip London-Paris, for example, racks up 70kg worth of CO2. You can also offset that right on our site by choosing which sustainable project you’d like to contribute to, from tree-planting to supporting renewable energy projects at home in the UK.

Drive slower

If you do travel by car this summer, travel lighter and travel slower. This will save you a ton of fuel. If you drive just 6miles/h slower on the highway, you can save 5 litres of fuel on a 300 mile journey. Another way to save on fuel consumption is to limit the use of air conditioning and only use it in extreme weather, but that’s not really an issue if you’re staying in the UK this summer.

Choose sustainable accommodation

Where you stay while on summer holidays also can have a big impact and it’s worth doing your research. It’s becoming more and more popular for hotels, bed and breakfasts, inns and holiday apartments to take on more “green” practises. Remember to ask for your sheets and towels not to be cleaned daily, that alone can save on water and electricity while staying at a hotel.

Eat local

Fish market

You’ve definitely heard this catch phrase before, “eating locally” applies as much on holidays as it does at home. As much as possible, try to consume only local products that are seasonal rather than products that have travelled thousands of miles by aircraft to reach your destination. That means skipping the avocados from Israel while on a trip to Iceland.

How do you make your holidays greener? Is sustainability something you consider when planning your trips?

Imgs: mirecekerins, xiffy / Flickr cc.

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2 responses to “Greening up your holidays

  1. There are excellent green / environmental type holidays to be taken in the UK. I came across Blagdon Water recently, a environmentally friendly holiday in Devon – where electricity comes from the sun! I thought it was worth a share.

    1. Thanks Philip! We’ll definitely check it out, so great that so many hotels are looking for new ways to make themselves sustainable. Good for the environment and also good for marketing.

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