There’s nothing more wholesome than a vacation. Spending quality time with loved ones, whether they’re friends or family, and enjoying the thrill of exploring new places together. But all too often, these precious moments take their toll on the environment. Unfortunately, flying to exotic destinations causes a massive amount of greenhouse gases to be released into our atmosphere, which has been proven to be a leading cause of global warming.

A view of the wing of an airplane in the sky.

So, why not plan your next vacation a little closer to home? With staycations trending in recent years, as people look for more sustainable holidays, it’s easier than ever to enjoy your break whilst also being kind to the environment.

This article will lead you to experience an environment-friendly vacation. Let’s dive into our top tips for a vacation that will give you everything you need, and keep our planet protected.

Look closer to home

There are a number of amazing places to explore in our own countries, and although they may not offer the shock-value of dramatic new landscapes, they’re well worth considering. You may have a national park, campsite or coastal resort nearby which will offer better value for money and plenty of the same opportunities as you’d find abroad.

The benefits of a staycation include less expenses and stress travelling, not having luggage restrictions, and being able to easily bring pets along with you. Remember to check your fridge before you leave for items you can take, and pack snack boxes for the kids to save having to stop on the way.

Pack responsibly

Even if you have your heart set on travelling further afield, there are ways to pack responsibly to reduce the environmental impact of your trip. Using reusable and recyclable food and drink containers, and dispensing your beauty products into smaller, reusable containers rather than buying travel bottles is a good place to start.

If you can avoid it, try not to use the hotel shampoo and conditioners, as these are often made with unrecyclable plastic and will end up in landfill. Also, ask to not have fresh towels and bedding every day unless you really need them – this can help save around 30,000 gallons of water each year.

Leave no trace

Whenever you’re out and about in nature, whether it’s a park, beach or woodland, it’s vital to try and leave no trace behind you. This is one of the best ways to protect our environment, as litter is hugely detrimental to our outdoor areas and the wild animals who live there.

When camping, set yourself up at least 200 metres away from streams and rivers to protect the waters from any soaps you use, and so as to not disturb wildlife. Minimise the impact of your campfires by using fire pits and keeping them off the grass, and always put them out completely before you leave.

Environment-friendly vacation for sustainable planet

Respect the wildlife

When exploring places of natural beauty, stay respectful and aware of the creatures around you. Although you may not see them, you’re a visitor in their natural habitats.

Always observe from a distance, and never try to provoke or interact with any animals you encounter – especially if they are a potentially dangerous species. It is important for an environment-friendly vacation.

If you’re bringing your dog, be sure to keep them on a lead to avoid them disturbing any wildlife and always follow the rules of the local rangers.

Seek out volunteering opportunities

Across the globe, charities are undertaking various projects to help support the future of our planet. When you travel, an excellent way to keep your itinerary sustainable is to volunteer your time by supporting one of these organisations. Whether it’s a conservation project, like helping to protect the local forests or an eco-tourism scheme, there are plenty of ways you can help out while still enjoying your travels and getting to know more about the local area.

Better still, if you’re looking to connect with locals or other like-minded travellers while on holiday, joining in with a volunteering scheme is a great way to meet other people with similar interests.

Offset your carbon emissions

If you have to fly to reach your destination, one of the most effective ways to limit the environmental impact of your vacation is to offset the carbon footprint of your travel. Lots of airlines now offer customers the opportunity to pay a little extra when booking a flight which will go towards a carbon offsetting scheme.

If this isn’t offered, you can calculate the carbon footprint of your flights yourself and find a scheme you want to contribute to. While it will always be the more efficient approach to simply reduce your emissions in the first place, where air travel is the only option, offsetting your flights is a great alternative.

A person standing on edge of mountain facing palm tree

Find sustainable accommodation

Despite your best intentions, if your accommodation doesn’t promote sustainable policies, it will be extremely hard to enjoy an entirely eco-friendly adventure. That’s because your choice of hotel or apartment will have a huge impact on the carbon footprint of your travels, with some accommodation options being more sustainable than others.

When doing your research, look for places that promote sustainable practices and be sure to check their eco credentials. Hotels that are committed to supporting sustainable travel will often share any certifications or policies they have on their website, so travellers can easily identify green options.

Enjoy your next sustainable stay

With so many different factors affecting the environmental impact of a holiday, it can feel overwhelming to try and stay on top of it all. But as you can see, it’s possible to have a wonderful vacation whilst also staying responsible and being kind to the environment.

Make sure your commitment to sustainability informs the planning process as well as the itinerary once you arrive. This way, you’ll cover all aspects of the trip, leaving you to enjoy a guilt-free adventure. After all, we only have one planet, so it’s up to us all to do our part to protect the beautiful places we have the opportunity to explore.