As our planet faces its toughest environmental challenge, there are ways in which each of us can help. Small changes in our everyday lives can make a big difference, starting from the way we live our holidays. When we talk about eco-friendly holidays we do not mean (necessarily) sleeping outdoors and feeding off of wild herbs, but there are a few things we can do to reduce our carbon footprint. Here is a short checklist to get you started:
Low prices and quick journeys have made flying one of the most common means of transport. Unfortunately, it is also the most polluting. This is why it would be ideal to pick destinations closer to home: after all, if you need a break from the city there is no need to run halfway across the globe. You might discover a whole different world just a short drive from home. Of course, cars are also not very environmentally friendly, but luckily public transport can get you anywhere nowadays: whether you are travelling a long or short distance, check train and bus services first. And once you get there, why not make your holiday even more special by hiring bikes and walking where possible? See below for more information about public transport and vehicle rent in the area.
Did you know that self-catering is one of the most environmentally friendly choices of holiday accommodation? This is because you are in charge of how much energy to consume, how much food to buy… you are in charge of reducing the amount of waste. Choose log fires, adjust heating hours, pick cottages that use renewable energy when possible, reuse your towels if they are clean. There is no need to overthink this, or make your stay less than perfect in any way: simply by being in charge of the cottage yourself you will be more likely to consume less than you would when staying at most hotels or resorts.
The term eco-friendly includes a much wider range of actions than you might think of. Shopping locally (and supporting local businesses in general) is greatly encouraged, mainly for two reasons: firstly, because as we all know small businesses are suffering more and more from the presence of branded chain stores; secondly because imported goods require additional transportation, which brings us back to the carbon footprint. Visiting farmers markets and little village shops will help both the community and the environment, not to mention it will provide you with fresh, delicious products. See below for links to the most popular farmers markets in the area.
Long vs. short breaks
We previously mentioned transport being one of the main causes of pollution. Instead of travelling ten times a year to enjoy a weekend away, take a few weeks off at a time if you can. This will not only be a perk for the environment, but it will also be more beneficial to your physical and mental health: you will have more time to relax and switch off, to explore your destination and enjoy some quality time with your loved ones. Holidays are made to get away from our frantic lives, and rushing them defeats the purpose.
You are on holiday and want to get away from any sort of responsibility, that is only natural. However, as we have mentioned so far there are some actions you can take, which will not negatively affect your stay in any way. The last of these is related to waste: when you stay in a cottage you will already produce less waste than you would in a hotel, but there are a few extra steps you can take. One thing you should keep doing, for example, is recycling: this simple gesture that will only take a few seconds of your time can make a big difference.