A green holiday: easy tips for a more sustainable holiday.26-07-2019
The environment is a big topic and a great thing to be aware of in your everyday life and during your travels. In this blog, you can find some smart changes you could make to easily make your holidays more sustainable and fun! Being green by going on a holiday? Yes, please!
Exactly what is sustainability?
Sustainability is trying to lessen your impact on the world around you, as to preserve nature and resources and to preserve the world for future generations. This can mean to use less plastic and try to emit less CO2 than you currently are. It can seem like a lot, however, it can be quite easy to implement a few easy changes in your holiday: You could opt to take a different means of travel and stay at a more eco-friendly accommodation and also eat locally.
How to eat more sustainable on your holiday?
The food says so much about the country and it’s inhabitants, often it is one of the best parts of your holiday experience. Of course, if it is sustainable food it tastes even better.
One of the best and easy tips for your sustainable holiday is to eat locally and seasonally. You could go to a restaurant with a local cuisine where they most likely will use local produce. Another easy way to eat fresh and local food is to go to the local (farmers) market. Most markets have local products, which means that it doesn’t have to travel too much, thus saving on CO2. It is a bit more environmentally friendly and furthermore, fresh fruit and vegetables are simply delicious. To find out where you can find such a local food market, you can always ask a local or a local tourist office. There are also loads of organic supermarkets popping up, like Naturalia in France and Belgium or Marqt in the Netherlands.
The second food tip is to eat a bit less meat. Opt for a vegetarian/vegan restaurant for a change. Why is it more sustainable to eat less meat? Because the meat industry seems to be one of the most polluting industries for the planet. If you eat it less often, less meat will have to be produced and that is good for the environment. There are a lot of nice vegan restaurants nowadays, check out these amazing vegan Amsterdam restaurants or one of these great vegan Parisian options.
Last but not least: check if the tap water is drinkable from this country. If it is drinkable, simply bring along a bottle of your own, which you can refill. If the water is not drinkable, buy a bottle that filters water. By filtering the tap water instead of buying a lot of plastic water bottles from the supermarket, you save on a lot of plastic.
How to sleep more sustainable
Sleep more sustainable? How is that even possible? The accommodation you choose to sleep at can certainly make a difference for the environment. You might imagine that accommodation which uses solar panels, reuses their water and is built from recycled material is more sustainable than accommodation which does not have that. Hereby you can find a few ways to give your sleep a sustainable lift.
If you are planning on going camping, that is great! Camping is for sure one of the more sustainable ways to spend your holidays. An easy way to make it even more sustainable is to go to an eco-camping. The easiest thing to do is to Google “eco-camping” plus the city, country or area where you would like to camp. For France, you will, for example, find the Eco-friendly flower campings, which gives you a great overview of eco-campings.
A lot more hotels are more conscious nowadays as well, check out these Paris eco-friendly hotels for example. It is always a good idea to Google ‘the name of the city you are going’ and ‘hotel’ followed by ‘green’, ‘sustainable’ or ‘eco- friendly’ to find the more conscious hotels in a city. When doing this for Amsterdam you can find some of the following hotels:
The Conscious Hotel in Amsterdam is one of the first hotels to focus on sustainability and it is Green Key Gold certified. Here they have furniture from recycled materials and energy from renewable sources. They are planning to plant a tree for every guest who is staying in their hotels.
The Java Eiland hotel with it’s Indonesian influenced style is completely made from recyclable materials, it is a luxury hotel with an amazing view and an indoor garden.
The QO Amsterdam reaches 22 floors and is partly built with the old concrete from the old ADAM Tower, it is a gorgeous hotel with revolutionary climate control.
The Mercure Hotel received a Green Key Award, they have four hotels in Amsterdam and recycle pretty much everything.
The Hyatt hotel is also very involved in sustainability, with a focus on water and waste reduction and even encourages its employees to volunteer more.
Sharing and other options
A cool initiative is also to swap homes or to stay in an Airbnb. This already saves on building costs and is a way to optimize space-usage of homes.
Which activities are more sustainable?
When thinking of sustainable activities there are a couple of great things you could do to make it a bit more green. Think mostly of nice outdoor activities which do not involve more emissions: you could go kayaking, hiking, shopping at local stores or simply visit a nearby town by bike.
To make it even more responsible, you could find an activity where you can give back to the community or the environment of the place you are staying. In Amsterdam, you could, for example, go on a canal tour, but you could also cruise the same water and in the meantime fish plastic out of the canals with Plastic Whale.
How to travel more sustainable?
If you decide you want to travel, it is best to focus on other means of travel than by plane. Planes are a very bad emitter of CO2. Besides, it is a lot of fun to travel in a different way: When was the last time you travelled to a different country by train? Or by car? Or by bike?
Travel by train
It becomes easier to travel by train, more train tracks are built every year and it doesn’t have to be that expensive. You could buy a Eurorail for a couple of hundred euro’s and use this to travel around Europe. If the countries are neighboring countries or only have one country in between, chances are there is a great connection by train. From Paris to Amsterdam, for example, is only three hours by train with the Thalys.
Sustainable car travel
If the train is not your cup of tea; you can also travel by car. Did you know that if you are traveling with multiple people, you can already save on a lot of CO2 by traveling by car instead of by plane? You could even do a sustainable road trip while you are traveling to your final destination.
If you travel alone, however, it will cost more emissions by car than by plane. In this case, it is advisable to either take a plane or better yet: look for some people to join you on (part of ) your trip. You can easily do this by registering your ride on BlaBlaCar. You can thereby save emissions for multiple people and earn some extra cash.
Electric is the way to go
In both cases, a great way to make your car travel a bit more environmentally friendly is by driving an electric car. You can easily rent an electric car nowadays through bigger rental companies such as SIXT and Europcar
When renting an electric vehicle, it is important to know where to find charging points along the road. You can do this by using Chargemap, where you can easily plan your route. On some national route planners you also have the option to filter on electric charging stations and plan your route in one go, such as the Dutch ANWB.
Reserve your parking upfront
On average, people spend 20 minutes a day looking for parking, which is 20 minutes of extra emissions. By booking in advance, you can save on a lot on emissions and at the same time have a nice experience with a local.
If arriving by electric car, it is also possible to filter on parkings which hava an electrical charging station. So be sure to reserve one of these if you are looking to parking during your travels.
Besides the tips given in this blog, it is of course also possible to find a lot of other great sustainable tips out there. Be sure to Google around a bit and see which tips suit you the best. After all the planning and arranging, the most important thing is to have fun and enjoy your holiday possibly even with your friends and or family. Laugh and relax, you
Sharing is caring! The more people living a bit more sustainable the better. And of course, have fun!