Our Expert Tips for Eco-Friendly Travel
A look at the best ways to travel without affecting the environment
Perhaps the pandemic has made us a tad more mindful of the frailty of not only our own health, but that of the planet. Climate change is slowly (or quickly depending on your levels of panic) changing the face of the Earth, and most of us want to stop it…though not at the expense of our lovely holidays, let’s not be hasty. So, it looks like both climate change and holidays are here to stay – particularly as we’re all desperate to get travelling after more than a year of pandemic, lockdown and health crises. The best we can do, then, is to make our carbon footprint slightly less noticeable (or at least make ourselves feel a tad better). That’s where eco-friendly travel comes in. Eco appears to stand for ecology, but could also mean Encyclopaedia of Chess Openings or Elite Combat Operatives…so make sure you get the context right. We at Plum Guide have thought of all sorts of things you can do to help the planet a touch, from ridding yourself of plastic bags and travelling within your own country to holidaying in small groups and drinking local beers.
Pack lightly and put the plastic aside
The first big no-no, as far as the planet is concerned, is plastic. So, try not to pack stuff in any plastic bags. That said, if the plastic bag is already in your house, it’s hard to see how it can do much harm being used in your packing. Just don’t go out buying a bunch of new plastic bags and bottles and what-not, because that is bad (we think – we’re not scientists, but the scientists say it’ll all be bad, and we have decided to take their advice on board). However, it’s not just about the plastics. We can help the planet by all packing a little lighter on our trips away. The more the plane weighs, the more fuel it uses; so your extra pair of lead pyjamas are doing more harm than good. Many of us tend to overpack, out of fear we’ll find ourselves in all sorts of situations (what if it snows in the Costa del Sol? Better bring the old woolly hat and coat). It probably won’t snow, and if it does – you can buy a coat on one of your trips to the Banus Marina Mall or the various markets of Andalusia.
Avoid air travel and stick to the roads
As you probably know by now, one of the least eco-friendly travel options is air travel. And, if you live in the UK or the US, like many of our customers do, then you’ve got so many top destinations on your doorstep. You could hang out in the Hamptons or jaunt through the Joshua Tree National Park on either side of the States. Or, in the British Isles, come to Cornwall, drive to Dorset or suffer silently in Suffolk (just kidding, that should have been ‘saunter’ or ‘stroll’, really). In any case, we have exclusive homes spread across the UK that are every bit as appealing as those in lands far-flung. You’ll help the environment, but also learn more about your home country, not only at the destination, but as you’re travelling through the countryside on the way.
Try and travel in smaller groups
Evidence appears to suggest that larger groups cause a greater (in the negative sense of the word) carbon footprint, so if you really care about that environment, stick to solo or couples travelling. We have countless homes around the world that are just perfect for individuals or pairs. Then, once there, treat the home as you would your own, saving energy on things like the heating, gas and electricity usage. Do you really need that long shower, and must you change that towel every time you use it? It might be that your answer is yes, and that long showers and new towels in large groups are integral to your enjoyment of a holiday. If that be the case, perhaps you can focus more on the other suggestions in this article.
Eat local to do your bit for the planet
Eating and drinking local products, such as beer, can help cut down what is known as the ‘beer mileage’. You’re contributing, however slightly, to the reduction of travel required for that beer to go from the brewery to your lips. It may seem like we’re encouraging you to be more nationalistic and anti-social: ‘Stay in your own country, drink local, pack less and travel alone.’ We don’t really expect you to do all of those things all of the time. But if you are worried about your carbon footprint, and really care about eco-friendly travel, those are some of the steps we can take. We can also avoid bottled water, take public transport, and stick to the walking trails in places like the Joshua Tree National Park so as not to erode the rest of the park with your clumpy feet.