I just got back from the most wonderful hiking holiday in Sweden. (Keep your eyes peeled for loads of Sweden posts and photos!) Spending two weeks in the beautiful Scandinavian wilderness really highlighted to me how incredibly important it is to look after our environment. I’m pretty sure by now we all agree that climate change is real and one of the most detrimental issues of our times.
Part of looking after our planet is to take a look at our lifestyles and revaluate our actions. And unfortunately – I know we don’t really want to hear this – flying to exciting holiday destinations is one of the biggest issues. Don’t get me wrong, I like to travel at least as much as the next person, which is why I have started to look into more sustainable travel options!
Flying is horrible for the environment, there’s just no way around it. There’s no ‘technofix’ or environmentally friendly fuel in sight that could possibly reduce the environmental impact significantly enough to make a difference.
I’m no expert, so here is an article by environmental author George Monbiot: On the flight path to global meltdown.
But now enough about the grim side of traveling and on to the exciting part. There’s lots of great alternatives to flying and some happen to be a lot more fun, too. Whenever I go on holiday I try to make the journey to the destination part of the adventure. This time we took a coach from London to Kiel in Germany and then a overnight ferry to Gothenburg in Sweden. On the ferry we headed up on deck to watch the sun set on the horizon, painting the sky orange, pink and eventually a deep plum purple and then slept in our own cozy little cabin.
I mean, just look at that sunset… Doesn’t that make you want to spend a night on the high seas?
Here are my top 5 ways to make your next holiday more environmentally friendly:
- Train – taking the train is a comfortable and reasonably fast way of getting to your holiday destination, especially when going on city breaks. If you live in London for example, you can easily take the Eurostar train to Paris or Amsterdam. And if you book nice and early, it’ll be fairly cheap as well. Next time you’re planning a trip check out the website The Man In Seat 61, which has information about pretty much everything and anything you could ever want to know about train travel. So far every time I wanted to take the train to a city in a different country, Seat 61 had plenty of tips and train options for my destination.
- Bus – buses and coaches are usually the cheapest option and if you don’t mind snoozing on a bus overnight, it’s a great alternative to flying! I’ve taken Eurolines/NationalExpress and Flixbus in Europe and Greyhound in Canada and the US. When you’re planning your travel, take in consideration that depending on the traffic coaches can have delays.
- Ferry – taking overnight ferries is my new favourite way to travel. It’s fun, exciting and I’ve been lucky enough to see dolphins twice already. If you book a cabin, it’s one of the most comfortable ways to travel and feels more like part of the holiday than just a means of getting to your destination. I’ve taken Stena Lines to Sweden and Brittany Ferries to Spain and very much enjoyed both journeys. There’s food (even some vegan options!), cocktails, live music and sometimes even cinemas.
- Cycling – going by bike is an option I’ve not done myself yet. However, friends of mine and my parents absolutely loved it. So if you’re a keen cyclist, why not cycle to your next holiday destination? My friend Hannah cycled all the way from England to Scotland, Spain and Morocco. And usually you can request to take your bike on trains, coaches and ferries as well.
- Staying local – we often feel the need to go far away whenever we’re off for a week or more but why not spend some time exploring places more local to you? I live in London and love going on little weekend getaways to the British countryside, coast or other cities. Chances are there’s plenty of places near by that you haven’t visited yet.