The outlook to travel again looks a lot more positive in the UK with the travel rules changing in early October - we can't wait to get away and visit a new country.
Right now people's safety is essential when travelling and that is evident from all the covid-19 measures that airlines and airports have implemented. Yet this requirement might come at a detriment to the safety of our planet and environment. Understandably, some climate activists would suggest that global travel in itself isn’t environmentally sustainable but we think there are huge socioeconomic benefits from visiting a new country and experiencing a new culture. If you are planning a trip away, are you mindful of your travel plans to minimise your impact on the planet?
With restrictions eased, our travel desires are surely due to change and now is the perfect time to plan travels with more consideration for the environment. If you are wondering how you can be more mindful (on the move), here’s five tips to consider when you travel.
1. Detox your travel products
We have learnt from a global pandemic that our planet is truly affected by our actions and behaviour. By packing less harmful products on our travels, we are showing our own skin some love, along with the destinations we visit. This problem might be most evident in the SPF we choose to apply on holiday. Chemicals in some brands of suncream have a major impact on natural water supplies. Around 14,000 tons of sunscreen are thought to wash into our oceans each year, with a staggering 82,000 chemicals from personal-care products impact our oceans, marine life and coral reefs. If you're curious to read more on this, we shared our favourite reef-friendly SPF’s in a previous blog post.
Yet it is not just the chemicals inside SPFs, it is also the single-use plastic waste from cosmetics products. It is important to consider that every country we visit might not have the infrastructure to recycle single-use plastics, instead ending up in landfill. Opt for reusables like our silicone travel bottles or consider if there's a plastic-free alternative to pack inside your wash bag.
2. Choose your Accommodation wisely
When travelling, we all want to connect with the culture and authenticity of a place but it is important to understand how your stay will effect the local ecosystem of the destination. Booking an eco-conscious hotel doesn't mean you have to skimp on luxury, but it does mean you are taking responsible decisions when travelling. From ecolodges to eco-resorts, countries are now introducing new ways to create eco tourism for their country and its crucial we recognise this. Before you book your next trip why not look into the Banyan Tree Mayakoba in Mexico. Awarded the platinum level GreenLeaf rating on TripAdvisor it is definitely worth a visit. If you are planning a European getaway in luxury, be sure to check out the Lefay Resort & Spa Lago di Garda in Italy. Not only do you get the luxuries of infinity pools and spa centres, the resort uses organic ingredients for toiletries and energy-saving methods when it comes to their heating and water, they really have taken eco tourism to the next level.
3. Travel to the ‘right’ destinations
The travel traffic light system in the UK was a huge factor when considering where to visit. From October 4th, these rules have simplified so choosing the right destination that considers our environment is an important consideration. There are many countries that offer holidays with the opportunity to leave a positive impact on the planet. The further you travel from home the greater your carbon footprint - if you're curious, check out this flight carbon calculator. If you do want to travel farther, there are places that are taking steps to prioritise the planet. If you wanted some inspiration, here's a few suggestions.
Iceland’s capital city, Reykjavik is officially considered one of the 'cleanest' cities on the planet and the country is almost fully powered by geo-thermal energy, which makes it one of the greenest countries in the world. Over 99% of electricity production and almost 80% of total energy production in Iceland comes from hydropower and geothermal power, this means that if you are planning to travel to Iceland this winter, all venues and accommodations are naturally sustainable and comfortably warm. Whether you are visiting to experience the breathtaking views of its natural beauty or swim in the Blue Lagoon, Iceland is a great pick for the eco-conscious traveller.
🇨🇷 Costa Rica
Fancy a trip to Central America? Costa Rica is a very popular due to its stunning rainforests and impressive wildlife but it also is one of the most eco-friendly countries in the world. The country produces almost 93% of its electricity from renewable sources and there is plenty to get involved in whether that's cycling tours or visiting nature reserves and parks. Costa Rica is also home to one of the most respected eco hotels, Pacuare Lodge. It is known for its exotic animal sightings, but commitment to sustainability is the focus throughout the lodge. Electricity is generated by a turbine in a nearby stream to promote clean energy. There are no buffets, you have to pre-order your meals to reduce food wastage. To top it off, when taking a relaxing shower, you’ll be washing off with the solar-heated water. Costa Rica really should be a destination on everyone’s list for eco travel.
Translated to English, Norway's official slogan is 'Powered By Nature’. Norway is an expensive country to visit, yet it is often voted as one of the best and happiest countries to live in and also one of the greenest. Being green is embedded in the culture in Norway and they are one of Europe’s largest providers of hydropower. In the last 8 years they have also used waste as a key source of eco-friendly fuel to power daily communal spaces, such as shops and schools. The country has plans to end sales of gas and petrol cars by 2025 and currently, one in two cars brought are electric. The country is also working towards a goal of becoming CO2 neutral by 2030 to help preserve the natural beauty of the country, it really is a great place to visit for starting an eco-friendly travelling journey.
4. Ditch The Disposables
In our daily routines we have made so many positive swaps to ditch single-use plastics and opt for refillable options, yet it is more challenging to maintain this habit when travelling. It is estimated that around 100 million travel size products are purchased every year in the UK, equalling around 980 tonnes of plastic waste. So much of this plastic waste will end up in landfill, to avoid this problem consider reusable products that will last beyond one use, such as refillable water bottles and our silicone travel bottles. Mini toiletries and cosmetics are super practical when you need to comply with the airport security 100ml limit and on this topic, we're still on a mission the ditch those single-use plastic bags carry liquids on a flight. Opt for the removable and reusable clear pouch in our Eco-Conscious Wash Bag. With the extra steps and potential queues when flying post pandemic, pre-pack your pouch at home and breeze through airport security, hassle-free.
5. Consider your travel method
Air travel usually seems the most convenient way to get to our end destination. However, air travel is also one of the fastest growing contributors to climate change. The aviation industry is said to contribute between 4 and 9% of the total climate change impact on humans, by choosing an alternative to air travel you are taking a pro-environmental action that can drastically help shrink your carbon footprint. Travelling by train is regaining popularity, primarily because trains generate up to 10 times fewer carbon emissions than an airplane and there is a resurgence of high speed trains that are prioritising energy efficiency. For example, the carbon neutral Eurostar which generates up to 90% less emissions. So if you are looking for a European ski trip in 2021/22, why not travel to the beautiful French Alps from London St Pancras International via the The Travelski Express. The service departs on Friday evening and takes 8/9 hours, waking up in the French Alps on Saturday morning. It is a great eco-friendly alternative for thee traveller who wants to take that much needed winter break.
With travelling back on the agenda, travelling the right way must now be a priority. Not just for us, but for the communities and countries we are visiting. If you're curious to explore more practical tips, get a copy of Juliet Kinsman's Book, The Green Edit: Travel (Easy Tips for the Eco-Friendly Traveller).