Our planet is home to incredible destinations and taking time out to visit them is one of life’s great joys. However, it’s no small secret that global travel can have a detrimental impact on the environment, from producing waste and pollution, to using precious resources.
Taking a more mindful approach to future adventures is something we can all do to help minimise environmental harm and climate change. And it’s easier than you may think. Planning ahead and making a handful of simple, sustainable switches will ensure your next holiday is enjoyed by both you and the planet.
THINK ABOUT TRANSPORT
According to the International Transport Forum, travelling by train produces 10 times fewer carbon emissions than travelling by plane. In fact, trains are one of the most efficient ways to cover distance. They’re also an opportunity to embrace slow travel and connect to the landscape you’re passing through, so it’s well worth checking if your journey can be done by rail.
When travelling to a destination that can only be reached by air, fly non-stop to minimise the excess emissions caused by the landing and take-off of non-direct flights. You can also choose to fly with airlines taking steps to become more sustainable such as Virgin Atlantic and Delta, which are refreshing their fleets with fuel-efficient models. Since 2019, Air Canada has removed 47.8 single-use plastic items from its planes, while Cathay Pacific has focused its onboard menus to centre around sustainable ingredients.
PICK PLANET-FIRST HOTELS
Staying in luxurious accommodation is one of the highlights of a holiday. Thanks to the growing number of premium hotels guided by sustainable principles, it can be a planet-friendly experience, too. Look for places with authentic eco credentials, such as Olas Tulum, Mexico which uses solar energy and serves locally-sourced, organic food. Or Es Racó d'Artà, Mallorca, which recycles grey water and uses non-toxic cleaning products. Take time to research establishments and check claims are substantial before committing to a booking.
Keep single-use plastic to a minimum while travelling by pre-packing snacks in reusable containers, rather than buying plastic-wrapped food on the go. Take a refillable water bottle and reusable straw for the journey, and use them once you’ve arrived at your destination instead of single-use alternatives. You can also pack a keep-cup for takeaway coffees and a canvas tote to use on shopping trips.
Travelling sustainably isn't just about protecting the natural landscape. Supporting communities by spending locally is also an important way to ensure your favourite destinations thrive. Eschew chain stores and shop at artisan markets and boutiques that sell and celebrate local craft instead. Book local guides and activities run by those who live in the area, and seek out restaurants and cafes which serve fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. Not only does this keep money within the local economy, it means you’ll avoid tourist traps and get a more authentic feel for the place you’re visiting.
Being mindful with toiletries will help reduce your impact on an area’s natural environment. Rather than buying plastic miniatures to pack into your suitcase, try decanting products from larger bottles into reusable travel-sized ones. Solid soap and shampoo bars come paper-wrapped and use less water than liquid formulas, plus they won’t spill in your bag. If you’re travelling somewhere sunny, pack an ocean-friendly sunscreen that doesn’t harm marine life and contribute to coral bleaching when washed into the water. Avoid chemical sun creams, which are often full of preservatives and parabens. Instead, look for mineral formulas with non-toxic ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which effectively block UV rays without causing any damage.
ENJOY LOW-IMPACT ACTIVITIES
Keep your footprint light while exploring the local area by choosing activities run in an environmentally-conscious way, such as walking and biking tours rather than car tours and electric boats over fuel-powered ones. Look for conservation projects which allow local wildlife to be seen fairly and safely, and when exploring the ocean through diving or snorkelling, always follow best practices to ensure no harm is caused. Follow certified guides such as the Green Fins code of conduct. Get around the local area using public transport, on bike or foot as much as possible.
Heavy bags require extra fuel to transport, in fact every kilo makes a difference. So it pays to pack lightly. Curate a capsule edit of versatile pieces that can be mixed and matched together and worn in multiple ways. Choose quality fabrics with sustainable credentials, such as ECONYL®, which is produced from up-cycled ocean waste and used to make every one of our swimsuits. Wear your favourite Kōraru styles on the beach, then use them as layering pieces underneath linen shirts and high-waist skirt and trousers.
DISCONNECT FROM TECHNOLOGY
A mobile phone is often a travel essential, but minimising usage while away is well worth considering. Cloud storage is predicted to soon overtake the airline industry as a source of greenhouse gas, and using phones abroad often increases cloud storage due to more photo-taking and sharing. While leaving your phone at home might not be practical or safe, try switching off apps, taking sustained screen breaks and allowing yourself to disconnect and absorb the area around you.