We live in an incredible world and thanks to the wonders of modern technology, many of us are only a hop, skip and a jump away from exploring beautiful places and incredible cultures. However, for many eco-conscious travellers the impact our journeys have on the planet can take some of the joy out of the experience. But it doesn’t have to...
Thanks to an evening of #BathIndieChat, where Ecojam Bath Manager, Bex, asked the Bath community to share their views and experiences of Green Travel, we are delighted to share a handful of helpful ideas and tips* to help you go green on your travels.
Tip no. 1 - Travel slow
“Make travelling slow part of the holiday. When I travelled to Asia by train I saw amazing places that I would have otherwise missed, and met some extraordinary people”
We know that flights are bad news for carbon emissions and our fight against climate change. But the good news is that by travelling slow (i.e. by road, rail or boat) you can not only help the planet but also yourself, as along road, rail and river you’re likely to discover and experience far more than if you had travelled by plane.
Travelling by train
- The best train journeys in the world - if you’re in need of some inspiration to ditch air travel and hit the romantic rail, then take a wander through the ‘Great Rail’ guides, which showcase the best train journeys both near and far.
- Planning your epic rail journey - travelling by rail may take a bit more planning, but with Seat 61 you can take the stress out of the process. This comprehensive website has everything you need to know about travelling by rail in the UK, from the UK and further afield.
- Winter holidays - for any of our ski fanatics, Snow Carbon helps you plan your trips to the slopes via rail too.
Travelling by boat
- Explore Europe’s canals - perfect for friends, family, kids and pets - relax and explore the beautiful English countryside or fascinating sites of Europe, and beyond. With so many trips to choose from, why not delve into the Grand Canal Journey with Faulty Towers’ Prunella Scales. It may well give you the inspiration you’re looking for!
- Go green at sea - it’s quite tricky to be truly eco-friendly at sea, as many journeys across our oceans involve cruise ships….notoriously bad for our environment. However, we have found a few useful resources that highlight some of the best cruise companies to travel with if you wish to limit your carbon footprint. Check out this piece from Global Traveller USA and also this helpful article from Cruise Critic, which showcases the green initiatives that have been implemented by some of the biggest cruise companies.
Travelling on foot
- Get those boots ready - if you’re looking to give your walking boots a holiday, then check out local company, Foot Trails, which offers a range of walking holidays around the South West.
- Adventures abroad - for our travellers looking to explore beyond Britain, then have a look at the walking holidays offered by Responsible Travel. This ethical travel company also offers a huge range of trips, from dolphin watching, volunteering with animals to tracking snow leopards.
Tip No. 2 - Bring your own
“I always thought going plastic free when travelling would be difficult, but as long as you get the basics before you set off, it’s actually quite easy”
For many of our local Ecojammers, one of the simplest ways to make a difference on the road is to bring your own reusable containers and package free products. In the rising tide of the plastic free movement, there are more products available to make your ‘bring your own’ mission an easy ride. Here are some of the products that made it into the top tip list:
- Pack a lunch - traditional Tupperware is always a good option, but if you need to save on space then why not try these awesome reusable beeswax wraps, which help you avoid non-recyclable packaging when you’re away.
- Refill your own water bottle - airports, rail stations, restaurants and bars are now far more open to you filling up rather than buying a single-use plastic water bottle. We love FRANK Water, who have launched their #PledgetoRefill campaign - and all proceeds will go to the Frank Water Safe Waters programme. To start your plastic free & refill journey, check out this gorgeous 2018 Pledge to Refill water bottle.
- Reusable bags - since the 5p plastic bag fee, the use of plastic bags in the UK has dropped by 85%! Many countries around the world have gone one step further, by planning plastic bags altogether. So don’t get caught out and pack some reusable bags in your suitcase.
Tip No. 3 - Stay local
“We met people on our travels who said New Zealand looked just like Scotland….and we realised we may not have had to travel quite so far!”
One of the most effective ways to reduce your impact on our planet is to keep your travels local and to enjoy no-fly holidays. Luckily for us, there are a number of stunning destinations just around the corner from us here in Bath. So why not make 2019 the year of the #staycation?
Wonderful eco-friendly destinations in the UK
- Canopy and Stars - UK and beyond - part of Sawdays’, this boutique travel company brings you all of the best tree-houses, yurts, shepherd’s huts and other quirky spaces in the UK and abroad. These unique properties give you the chance to bring your own, get off the grid, and be with nature. One of our favourites is this treehouse as featured on George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces.
- Eden Project Cornwall - One of the UK’s best-loved visitor destinations is nestled in a huge crater. Here, massive Biomes housing the largest rainforest in captivity, stunning plants, exhibitions and stories serve as a backdrop to striking contemporary gardens, summer concerts and exciting year-round family events. Stay on site in their shipping container accommodation from £39 per night (prices subj. to change and availability)
- Centre for Alternative Technology Wales - With over 7 acres of hands-on displays and gardens and with over 40 years of experience in sustainability practice, the CAT is an inspiring place to visit. The Centre overlooks the Snowdonia National Park, renowned for its stunning scenery and outdoor activities.
Tip No. 4 - Gift your time
For many of the Bathonians who contributed to the fascinating discussion on Bath Indie Chat, it was clear that one of the best ways to go green when travelling is to gift your time to an environmental project. Some of the tips included:
- Volunteer with animals - with humans increasingly coming into conflict with wildlife, there are many organisations that need the support of passionate volunteers. But be sure to do your research and book your place with a reputable organisation. Organisations including Responsible Travel, The Great Projects, GVI and International Animal Rescue are worth checking out.
- Work Away - this global platform advertises opportunities to give your time in return for free accommodation and food. There are often environmentally focussed projects in need of support. However, be sure to do your research, as Work Away does not ‘guarantee’ that the hosts are reputable.
- Clean up our beaches and oceans - since Blue Planet II raised global awareness of the impact of plastic pollution, we have seen community action to clean up our mess increase dramatically. If you like to holiday in one of our country’s beautiful coastal areas, why not take some time to get involved with a local Marine Conservation Society beach clean.
We know there are lots of other ways and means to go green when exploring our planet, but we hope this selection inspires you to explore new routes and options when planning your next trip.
If you have any helpful green travel suggestions that you would like us to add to this feature, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Please note that we do not officially recommend any of the companies mentioned in this article - all content and tips are meant to be helpful suggestions for our Ecojam community. As always, we recommend that you do your research and contact a travel specialist to check before you make any bookings.