A sustainable holiday doesn’t mean you have to camp in the closest field in a tent with no lighting and eating only food foraged from the area (Although this does seem like an adventure of its own!) However, there are considerations to take when planning a sustainably friendly holiday. The aim of sustainable travel is to make conscious, smart choices when making decisions about your holiday. From the planning to the partying, there can be considerations to make it a more eco-conscious experience.
Having a few tips and tricks in mind can be helpful to making mindful decisions while still having the holiday you want.
There’s a whole world to discover, and it can sometimes be a bit daunting to choose where to go next. The carbon footprint has become a widely used term when speaking about environmentally friendly decisions and effects, but if you are still a born wanderer, choosing the right place could offset that.
So, where are the ‘right’ places to choose? According to the Global sustainable tourism council (GSTC), the following criteria is taken into account; “Effective sustainability planning, maximising social and economic benefits for the local community, enhancing cultural heritage, and reducing negative impacts to the environment.”
Doing your research before deciding on a place is a great idea to see what the country’s initiatives are. Destinations such as Costa Rica, Norway, and Vietnam support the local community benefits, protect national land, and invest in eco-conscious practices. If you are still unsure, using websites such as GSTC can help you dip your toe in the water of researching the best places to go.
So you have the destination; now, the subsequent decisions are when to go and how to get here. The first may not seem like a big deal, but choosing to travel during off-peak times can help the effect on the tourist infrastructure in the area. By travelling and seeing the local tourist sites during the off-peak season, you are helping in slower times and paying into the local community. Plus, you get to have incredible experiences without the crowds. That seems like a win-win to me.
Getting there, of course, is another consideration. We all now know the issue with jetting off all over the world, and there are usually decent alternatives out there. When possible, riding the rail or catching a boat trip will dramatically increase your carbon footprint; however, sometimes flying is unavoidable. In these cases researching the most direct routes and flying with airlines that offer carbon offsetting (a scheme where you pay extra for the flight to pay into environmental projects) are both ways to reduce the impact.
Once you have decided on all of this, then there is the accommodation to consider. As much as some of us may enjoy the feeling of living luxuriously during our break from life, it is good to see what eco-conscious options are available and who said choosing eco-conscious meant we had to give up the luxury? Places such a Habitas Tulum in Mexico are offering both in one paradise package. Built with eco-friendly supplies and phenomenal locally sourced food, and a commitment to being single-use plastic free, this is definitely one to put on the sustainable bucket list.
Now, if all of this seems like something you would love to do but a little daunting, then fear not. There are many sites and companies out there that can make this process a straightforward experience. Sites such as bookdifferent.com and responsibletravel.com are great sources to give clear guidance and information. You could also seek out sustainable travel agents who will guide you based on your preferences and do all the complex research for you.
The option of a holiday is starting to look like a possibility again. So whether you need sun, sea and sand; bikes, mountains and greenery; or a map and a sense of adventure, it is so close we can taste it. Now let’s do it consciously!