Travelling on one aeroplane flight can produce more emissions per person than an SUV makes in an entire month. In spite of that alarming statistic, there are ways that savvy and environmentally conscious travellers can offset their carbon footprint while still indulging in all the fun of a classic holiday.
There are many ways in which travellers can make a positive impact when choosing where to stay. Many chain hotels offer features to guests that are environmentally conscious. Guests can opt to reuse towels and bedding, rather than have fresh linens every day. If a hotel does not offer this option, guests can request that their linens not be changed. Many hotels also have recycling receptacles that guests can use when throwing away their bottles and trash.
Common sense habits like turning off all electrical appliances before leaving the room, taking short showers and packing a reusable cup help to lessen environmental impact while travelling.
There are thousands of bed and breakfasts scattered from one end of the U.K. to the other. These make excellent choices for green travellers who wish to support local businesses. They are also far more accommodating than impersonal chain hotels and many of them offer green choices as well as sourcing local produce for meals.
There are wonderful campgrounds to be found in the U.K. as well. This option ensures an environmentally friendly holiday, as campers can choose to move from place to place on foot, carrying all of their essential items in backpacks.
The U.K. is ideally suited for green travellers because of the popularity of its hikes. There are 879 miles of hiking trails in Wales alone. A green holiday could consist of following one of the longer U.K. hikes for several days or even a week or more.
England also has thousands of miles of canals that can be used for travel by the jaunty narrowboats, as they have done for centuries. While these boats do consume fuel, they are more efficient than automobiles and are a wonderful way to experience the countryside.
The U.K. has an excellent rail system within its borders, as well as links to cities all over continental Europe. Public transportation is a good way to travel green in the U.K. and is far cheaper than car rental. If renting a car is unavoidable, travellers may have an option for hybrid or electric cars. If not, smaller fuel-efficient cars are a good choice.
Larger cities like London have excellent bicycle rental schemes. Barclays Cycle Hire allows customers to swipe a credit card and for a mere £5 an hour, take a bicycle for up to a day at a time. There are no reservations required and the bikes are offered from any one of 400 locations in London.
The U.K. has maintained its centuries-old tradition of hosting weekly markets in most cities. This is a wonderful opportunity for travellers to pick up local produce and items, supporting family businesses and organic farms while saving money and lessening their impact on the environment.
The U.K. also offers many restaurants that cater to green customers. Organic, locally sourced and seasonal produce can be found at many restaurants in the U.K., as popularity for sustainable, earth-friendly living has increased in the last few years.