It's summer!! The official holiday season has arrived, so people will be traveling all over the world to the most beautiful places on earth to enjoy their freedom. Do you perhaps wonder how you can travel as sustainably as possible this summer? Well, you’re in luck because we have put together a list for you with ways to ensure that your ecological footprint is as small as possible this summer.
- Where you choose to stay has a major influence and, of course, camping is without a doubt the most sustainable option. With only a tarp above your head, a small gas burner to cook on and, if you’re lucky, power connection, you live as primitively as you can. It goes without saying that this is the most environmentally friendly holiday housing.
- However, that is not to say that all houses or hotels are environmentally harmful. In recent years, air conditioning technology has been optimized to use a lot less energy. However, travelers continue to use air conditioning in an inefficient way, causing lots of wasteful energy loss. If you go out during the day, turn it off and keep the curtains closed so that the cold air stays inside. If you get hot, consider opening the window for fresh air and keeping the curtains closed to block the sunlight. Saves a lot! You can also consider packing your own breakfast and choosing a hotel without a breakfast buffet. A lot of excess food is thrown away, which of course is a huge waste. Do you want to stay in a sustainable hotel? Then check if they have the Green key label, this is THE quality mark for sustainable tourism.
- Pay attention to the activities that you choose during your trip, and always remember that you are a visitor in someone else’s home! This may seem obvious, but unfortunately we still see people forgetting this. Safaris in the Savannah, snorkeling or boat trips in coral reefs, motorbikes through the dunes... all of these are great activities that may not necessarily produce a lot of CO2 emissions, but they are very disruptive to the local ecosystems. It hurts the quality of the environment, which in turn affects the biodiversity. Of course, you should be able to continue doing fun things on your vacation, but always try to be conscious of the environment you’re in and leave it how you found it!
- Support the locals! This actually applies to everything: housing, groceries, activities and rentals. Avoid large chain companies and help the small local businesses stay alive. You will get a more authentic experience, and they often use much better local products. You don’t go to Italy to eat imported tomatoes!
- In addition to your destination, you can also be aware of what you are leaving behind. Make sure you have turned off all the lights at home, minimize heating and eat the foods that can spoil in the fridge so you are able to save energy and turn it off. After you turn it off, make sure to open the doors to air it out, otherwise there will be bad smell when you get home!
- Take the time to find a nice destination. For example, look for white beaches in Spain, Albania or Greece. There are countless websites with recommendations for the most beautiful hidden gems. Also, don’t forget that Scotland is called the New Zealand of Europe. These beautiful rugged landscapes are ideal for the adventurous vacationer! Why would you fly all the way to the other side of the world if you haven't even discovered the most beautiful places on your own continent?
- You can no longer ignore the fact that flying is the most polluting means of transportation. If you are going to visit faraway places such as Asia or America, there simply is no suitable alternative. If you are going to a country within Europe, consider the bus or train. Traveling by car is also better than flying. Do you still have empty spots in your car? Then put your ride online on BlaBlaCar and let others ride with you. Nowadays you can even request a small amount of money for it, which means that you also save on your own gasoline prices. And the best thing is that you have fun company during your ride! This also applies if you are looking for transportation and do not have a car available: see if there is someone available you can carpool with!
But of course, don't forget to enjoy! A holiday is for relaxation, so make sure to fit this in (especially because your environmental impact is actually the smallest if you do nothing at all!). Be lazy in your hammock, read a book and enjoy your freedom!