When we go on holiday, it’s essential to be mindful of our impact on the environment and of the local communities we encounter. Sustainable practices are not just a trend anymore, and are instead a responsibility we have not only at home – but on holiday too.
SkyParkSecure have partnered with travel expert Alonso Marly from Skyluxtravel and have put together a guide on some of the best ways you can positively impact the environment and communities you encounter whilst aboard.
On travelling sustainably, Alonso says “essentially it means making more responsible choices to reduce environmental impact. One of the simplest ways to do so is to fly less often and choose local travel destinations instead. But for those who still want to see the whole world, there are ways to make trips more sustainable starting from getting there to making a positive impact whilst abroad”
- Embrace Sustainable Practices Abroad
Recycling shouldn’t be limited to your home. It’s equally crucial to prioritize recycling while travelling abroad. However, it’s important to note that each country may have different recycling rules and regulations. Some countries have a more extensive range of waste categories compared to the UK, making it essential to educate yourself before you embark on your journey.
Moreover, it’s not just about recycling. When you’re on holiday, there are other environmental considerations to keep in mind. For instance, refrain from collecting shells from the beach, as this may disrupt the natural habitat of marine creatures and harm the delicate ecosystem. Additionally, in certain countries like Greece, it’s recommended not to flush toilet paper due to limited pipe capacity. Being aware of and adhering to these guidelines will contribute to responsible and sustainable tourism.
- Champion Local Businesses
Supporting small businesses is just as important abroad as it is in your hometown. While opting for the convenience of familiar fast-food chains like McDonald’s or Burger King may be tempting, consider exploring local establishments instead. Even in popular tourist destinations, numerous independent businesses are likely waiting to be discovered. Although they might be a bit more challenging to find, reaching out to hotel staff or browsing local online forums before your trip can unveil hidden gems. Not only will you experience authentic local flavours and products, but you may also save some money in the process. Alonso also adds that this is a great way to pick up gifts for friends and family.
- Embrace Public Transportation
Navigating an unfamiliar transportation system in a foreign country can be daunting, leading many travelers to opt for taxis. However, it’s worth noting that numerous countries boast excellent public transportation networks that can efficiently take you wherever you need to go at an affordable cost. Even if you’re staying at a beach resort with limited public transport options, many hotels provide regular shuttle buses to nearby towns, allowing you to explore the area easily and sustainably.
However, if you’re in an area not well-serviced by public transport, or you’ll be travelling a lot and still want to use a rental car, Alonso advises “the lower the carbon footprint per mile for each person. Also, today electric and hybrid vehicles are becoming a more popular means of transportation, however, remember that they are generally more expensive to rent, and you need to charge most of them occasionally, which is slightly less convenient. I always suggest renting the smallest vehicle available that suits your needs to eliminate its emissions”.
- Pack Thoughtfully and Minimize Waste
While shopping for holiday essentials can be thrilling, it’s crucial to pack only what you truly need and avoid leaving behind items that can’t be responsibly disposed of. Opt for travel-sized toiletries in reusable bottles, which you can also utilize for future trips. If you plan on bringing items like inflatable pool floats or beach toys, ensure they can fit back into your suitcase for the return journey. By packing thoughtfully and minimizing waste, you’ll contribute to reducing your environmental impact while enjoying your vacation.
If you’re deciding what to pack, Alonso suggests “consider taking essential items only. For example, pack clothes that mix and match well and can be layered. Not only will it make your life easier, but it will also help reduce your overall emissions footprint. Since your luggage is likely to be lighter, it will take up less space and will be easier to transport regardless of whether you’re taking a plane, train, car or boat.”
- Travel Outside Peak Times
When it comes to travel dates, consider going abroad outside peak summer months to avoid overcrowding popular tourist destinations. Also, I suggest staying in one place for longer and choosing accredited eco-friendly accommodation that puts money back into the local economy. Alonso suggests “If you want to further reduce your own footprint, try to find local activities that give back to residents, instead of the most popular tourist attractions. One of such options is going to destinations that are being rebuilt after natural disasters like hurricanes or earthquakes. Travelers can help locals by volunteering in environmental and social projects to rebuild devastated communities, clean beaches etc. That way you can combine new experiences with environmental benefits”