ALL this week The Sun’s Green Team campaign has revealed how we can all play our part in tackling climate change – and the travel industry has a big part to play.
While carbon emissions from transport and the effect of over-tourism on natural environments should not be overlooked, the sector is a major player in global economies.
This week, travel association ABTA launched Tourism For Good, a plan to help holidaymakers and the industry rebuild in a more sustainable way after the pandemic.
There are many small, significant changes we can make that WILL have an impact.
Here are our top ten tips for travelling greener.
Pack a refillable water bottle and reusable coffee cup
As well as the obvious environmental impact of less plastic waste, this is a win-win for tourists, as it will save them cash too.
With water fountains ever-more accessible in airports and cities worldwide, there has never been an easier time to ditch plastic water bottles in favour of a more sustainable alternative.
If you can’t survive without a caffeine fix, a reusable coffee cup is a great way to help the planet and go easier on your wallet.
Use public transport instead of taxis
This is an obvious way to cut your carbon footprint and gives you the opportunity to see your destination as locals do.
It offers a slower, more intimate way of exploring — and more of an insight than climbing aboard a transfer coach or tour bus.
It saves you spending money too.
Walk or hire a bike
Again, as well as being more eco-friendly this is the perfect way to experience a destination up close.
If you are planning a trip to a villa or apartment in a beach resort, ask yourself if you really need to hire a car.
If your destination guarantees good weather, cycling or walking lets you ease to a more relaxed pace — just what you want on any escape from the rat race.
Don’t expect, or ask for, sheets and towels to be changed daily
When staying in a hotel, this is the easiest and best way to help reduce water and energy waste.
We don’t wash our towels and sheets each day at home, so why expect the same on our hols?
Get in the habit of hanging towels up when you use them
Most hotels will replace them if you leave them on the floor.
Turn off lights and electrics when you leave your room
It is easy to be lazy about this when you are not paying the leccy bill in your holiday accommodation.
But consider the environmental impact of leaving lights on and appliances plugged in.
Switching things off is a good step in the right direction.
Changing habits like this has a great impact in the long term.
Join The Sun’s ‘Green Team’ & save the planet
MAKING simple everyday changes can add up to a BIG difference to the planet.
And we want you and your family to join The Sun's Green Team – our eco revolution.
It can feel overwhelming to know how to play a part in reducing greenhouse gasses, but we will be showing you the practical steps we can take to curb climate change – with the help of the global ‘Count Us In’ initiative.
And our easy measures will even help you SAVE money so your household budget goes further.
We'll help you to reduce food waste, insulate your home, create tasty planet-friendly meals and take simple steps to trim your carbon footprint.
We want you to go online to sign-up to as many of our special Green Team pledges as you can manage and a special calculator will show you how much carbon you will personally save.
It won’t cost you a penny but the total you and your family will save will be added to the global ‘Count Us In’ total and the platform will support you every step of the way.
So tap here to pledge.
Reuse small hotel shampoo bottles
Many hotels had started to move towards larger, fixed bottles of shampoo and shower gel in bathrooms before the impact of coronavirus.
The deep-cleaning involved means many are supplying single-use plastic bottles again
If you use these, consider taking them home with you and using them again on short trips.
Many are the perfect size for hand-luggage toiletries that need to be under 100ml.
If you don’t use them, consider donating unopened ones to a charity on your return.
Don’t just sunbathe on the beach, clean it!
For many destinations, the impact of tourism on the natural environment is a serious issue.
Doing your bit is easy — and if most of us do it, we can all reap real rewards.
When you leave the beach, take not just your own rubbish but any other litter you see lying around.
Often, you can even take part in organised beach clean-ups.
For how to help here, head to mcsuk.org/beachwatch/greatbritishbeachclean.
Go to local markets – but steer clear of tourist tat
Shopping in local markets is the perfect way to reduce your carbon footprint and make a positive impact on the local population
Pick up food grown nearby — and if you are looking to contribute to the local economy by buying a souvenir, consider buying a practical everyday item you will use again, such as a bag, rather than an object that will only gather dust on a shelf.
Check the greenest flight options
There is no way of getting around the fact flying has a big impact on global carbon emissions.
But by choosing the right type of plane and route, you can reduce that.
As a rule of thumb, new planes are far friendlier to the environment — one reason airlines are ditching their cumbersome 747 jumbo jets.
Skyscanner has a Greener Choices search option, giving you not just the cheapest or quickest flight but also the one that emits less CO2 compared to the average.
Another simple way to help.
The less you pack, the less weight on a plane, the less energy and fuel required for the flight.
When packing, I lay out everything I expect I will need — then remove at least 25 per cent of that.
Use mobile boarding passes to avoid printing out documents and consider an e-book reader instead of heavy books.
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