If you’ve been browsing for holidays recently, you may well have noticed terms such as “eco-friendly”, “sustainable”, “conscious travel“ and “responsible travel”.
But what do these terms really mean? And why should you care about them? Why choose an eco-friendly and sustainable mini-break or holiday? I’ve compiled a list of eco-travel tips so that you can check if your holiday is eco-friendly.
We all need to be taking steps towards more sustainable travel and thinking of the impact our travel has.
Eco-travel tips| how to tell if your holiday is eco-friendly
All of these phrases above refer to an ethical approach to tourism, which reduces any negative impacts such as damage to the natural environment, local community or the economy.
As we continue to learn more about the negative effects of our lifestyles and behaviours on the planet, it is becoming more apparent how important it is for us all to do our bit in limiting our carbon footprint and supporting local communities.
From the accommodation you book and what you eat to where you choose to buy your souvenirs — every aspect of your holiday should be carefully considered if you wish to become a “conscious traveller”.
But how can you know if your travel plans are environmentally friendly? I’ve put together a few eco-travel tips to consider before you book and while you’re on your holiday if you’re keen to think about how “green” your sustainable vacation is.
Does It Look Eco-Friendly?
After browsing through a stream of websites, you’ve finally found a holiday that looks perfect for you. But is it eco-friendly? What are the very first impressions from the information you have? If a gallery is available, swipe through the images and ask yourself the question: “does it look eco-friendly?”
If you’re not sure how to judge this, look for some telltale signs. Does the building have solar panels? Does the architecture of the property interfere with nature?
Can you find an energy conservation or sustainability policy on the website? If it’s hard to tell from the images and content on the site, get in touch with the hotel, tour operator or retreat provider.
For many of us, a getaway is a rare treat and we want it to be just right. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and always make sure you know what you’re committing to before you hand over any money.
Does the Resort or Hotel Have a Sustainability Policy?
If the accommodation you’ve chosen commits to sustainable travel, this should be clear from their website and marketing literature. Always take the time to read through the sustainability policy and try to understand what their ethos is.
If there is no policy relating to eco-friendly, green or sustainable practices, conduct your own research by checking out guest reviews and seeing if the accommodation appears on any “green” websites. If the hotel or property-owner make sustainability claims on their website, were these backed up by the experience of guests?
Do They Have an Eco-Friendly and Sustainable Ethos?
The best way to gain an understanding of a company’s ethos and to determine whether they value sustainable travel is by reading a few of their webpages. Do they mention any actions they take to promote eco-sustainability?
Perhaps they support local environmental campaigns? Look for badges and icons on the website’s homepage. If a hotel is making these efforts, they’ll be keen to shout about it!
Don’t forget to check out the blog page, if they have one. Read through a few articles. Is their approach genuine and authentic?
Do They Serve Local and Organic Food?
Choosing locally sourced organic ingredients can benefit our health and often tastes delicious. However, sourcing ingredients from local growers also positively impacts the local economy.
It demonstrates a commitment to supporting the local community, a sense of responsibility and goodness in the company ethics.
Check the menu and food brochures of your chosen hotel or resort. If they use local suppliers, it’s likely that they will make this a point of pride and advertise it on the menu.
Are There Any Certifications or Accreditations on Display?
Although there is no industry standard for sustainable travel, there are numerous schemes which aim to help guests identify if their chosen holiday accommodation is eco-friendly.
This will help you to understand what standards are required for a business to achieve the award.
Are There Any Details of Energy Saving Measures?
One way for hotels to operate more sustainably is to implement energy saving measures. Reducing the use of energy can minimise the impact on the planet.
From energy efficient windows and LED light bulbs to energy efficient appliances, there are many ways your holiday accommodation provider can show a commitment to sustainable and eco-friendly operations.
Do They Ask Guests to Support Their Commitment to Sustainability?
Holidays are a time for people with busy lives to take a break from their daily routine, relax and have fun. However, this doesn’t mean that hotels cannot expect their guests to help them in their journey toward sustainable tourism.
Hotels and resorts which are truly committed to eco-sustainability will ask guests to support this ethos by providing such facilities as recycling bins and asking guests to reuse towels rather than expecting them to be washed after a single use.
That’s a Long eco-friendly Checklist, Why Should I Bother?
We are the first generation to witness and understand the consequences of human behaviour on our environment. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that there is a world to travel for ourselves and the next generation.
Travelling is not inherently bad. It can afford people amazing personal experiences and it can enrich local cultures. If not undertaken responsibly, it can also damage local communities, economies and natural environments.
No-one is expected to sacrifice the holiday luxuries they enjoy to tick every sustainability box. But if we all do our bit — that is, take small steps towards a sustainable ideal — collectively we will make a huge, positive impact.
Running a few checks to ensure that the next place where you spend your holiday time is committed to sustainable travel, is a small step we can all afford to take.