‘Be surprised’: Expert shares tips for greener holiday – ‘you don’t need to travel far’

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A holiday may be the thing that keeps Britons going through day to day routine but flying overseas isn’t the most sustainable travel option. While Britons dream of white sand beaches and winter sun, talks of carbon offsetting, climate change and unsustainable practices may put a damper on holiday plans.

Sustainably-minded Britons, however, shouldn’t give up on their holidays to save the planet.

There are ways to make a holiday a bit greener.

Booking.com Director of Sustainability, Marianne Gybel, said sustainable travel isn’t one big decision, but “a continuous choice of action throughout your trip to make a positive impact”.

She defined sustainable travel in a broader sense than just looking at carbon footprint.

She said: “There’s a lot of talk about net zero, but we shouldn’t forget about protecting natural resources and supporting local communities is an essential part of sustainable travel.

“Instead of saying sustainable travel is looking at energy, waste, water, carbon gas and combine that into a very difficult formula, I think it comes back to the essence.

“Where does travel have a positive impact on its environment and local communities?”

This is good news for holidaymakers everywhere, as it means they can still have a positive impact, even if they flew to their destination.

Marianne said: “You can have an opportunity to sustainably travel during what might not be a really positive on the environmental sustainability side. It’s still possible to make sustainable travel choices while you’re there.

“So even if you took a flight to get there, it doesn’t mean that your trip is unsustainable and therefore it doesn’t matter what you do now.”

With this in mind, Marianne had some tip for holidaymakers who want to make a positive impact on their destinations, while still having the best time possible.

Choose your destination wisely

Marianne didn’t believe everyone needed to stop flying, but she did think holidaymakers should be mindful of where they go.

She said: “I think Covid showed us with all the travel restrictions that there are beautiful areas to explore at home.

“You don’t have to travel to the other side of the world. I don’t say don’t ever do that anymore, but just be conscious about it.”

Book a sustainable hotel

Marianne and Booking.com have launched a Sustainable Travel Badge that lets holidaymakers know their accommodation is on the “sustainable travel journey”.

Marianne said: “At least it gives you an indication that this facility has done a lot of things to get on the sustainable travel journey, they’ve looked at multiple factors on how they run their accommodations and will do anything it can to help you reduce your footprint.”

She also reminded tourists to “lean into all the things that hotels offer you”.

She said: “Don’t change your towels every day, do you really need them cleaning?”

Keep up with your habits

Most people will be guilty of going on holidays and throwing all their good habits away.

Marianne said: “At home, we have our reusable water bottle and when we go on a trip, we start buying plastic every day.

“Why do we do that?

“At home we get very good with recycling and then on holiday, that good habit goes out the window.”

Support local

Once at their destinations, tourists can have a fantastic impact on the local economy, and it isn’t very hard to green up their holiday by making better choices.

Marianne said: “Are you open to trying the local food? Are you asking reception for a great local tour guide?

“Instead of just following the mass, try to go off the beaten path, and be surprised by what the destination has to offer.”

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