Ani Talwar explores different ways of green travel, a more sustainable way of getting to your holiday destination this summer.
With the world tentatively opening up again, everyone’s mind is now occupied with making plans for the summer holiday. After months of being told to stay at home, even the thought of being abroad has everyone excited. However, the sudden increase of planes in our sky, cars on our road, and other popular means of travel, can cause quite the environmental stir. With this in mind, what are the ways we can travel around the world but also be mindful of the world?
For the keen adventurers among us, backpacking is a great and sustainable way of travelling. Choosing land travel, where you can, and packing lightly helps reduce waste, especially when packing non-plastic reusable items. As a fully immersive way to interact with nature, backpacking might be for more seasoned travellers, but it does allow you a more intimate travel experience with the great outdoors.
Ever thought about Interrail?
Although flights can be quite cheap when you get the right deal, they’re not very environmentally-friendly. With Interrail, you can travel around 33 different countries and 40,000 different locations by train, using an Interrail pass. Interrailing gives you the opportunity to travel through beautiful cities, with sites right outside your window, and with a sixth of the greenhouse gas emissions! For example, a journey from Berlin to Prague releases 1073kg of carbon dioxide if you travel by plane, and only 171kg if you travel by train.
This method of holiday travel is also far more sustainable than travelling by car, as cars have become the biggest contributor to summer smogs, releasing 425kg of carbon dioxide for the same journey from Berlin to Prague. Not to mention the added benefit of no traffic, quicker travel time, and no need for a designated driver who does the tiring work.
Furthermore, a lot of European cities don’t have specific coach stations, which means reduced availability for passenger service and increased chance of delays. With a train this is less likely to be the case. Plus, who doesn’t love to marvel at the beautiful architecture of the train stations at some of these cities, and of course their delicious cafes?. There’s no need to worry if you’re running late either (which tends to happen when on holiday), as with Interrail travel, a single ticket covers the whole journey, allowing for flexibility in the case of delays or unforeseen circumstances, something a bus ticket may not allow.
Of course, the excitement currently is that finally we can go abroad, but over lockdown, we weren’t just prevented from going abroad, but also from going anywhere within England. If you’re excited for a holiday, there are a surprising variety of beautiful places you can visit without having to leave the country.
The Lake District is a spectacular place. Take for example Keswick: close to the town centre and on the foothill of the mountains, the area is filled with beautiful hiking areas and beautiful picture spots near the lakes.
Buxton in the Peak District is another recommended area for nature lovers and hikers. What’s more, it even has a lot to offer if you’re more into relaxing on holiday as it is also a ‘historic spa town,’ featuring St Anne’s Well which still pumps water to this day!
However, if your perfect idea of a holiday includes strolling through ships and eating a lot of cake with a brilliant view, you could also try Stow-on-the-Wold in Gloucestershire. As a market town in the Cotswolds with local delicacies on sale like Lardy Cake, it is also an area of natural beauty in the UK, featuring a 102-mile hike known as the Cotswold Way Trail that you can walk.
However, if you do prefer to get away from England altogether, opting to travel abroad instead of Interrailing, or a staycation, it’s still possible to do this sustainably.
Iceland for example has ‘one of the cleanest cities on the planet,’ Reykjavik, which uses its geothermal potential to power itself, making the entire country the greenest globally. A holiday here allows you to explore nature, the Northern Lights, or the hot springs.
Listed as one of the most sustainable destinations globally, the Azores Islands are another sustainable holiday destination. Owing to the conservation acts of wildlife and green energy use, including wind and biomass energy generation, activities are monitored to ensure there are little unsustainable effects.
On the subject of renewable energy production, Costa Rica is yet another example, with 93% of its electricity generated renewably and a strict protection in place of local wildlife as the area holds roughly 5% of the whole planet’s biodiversity. Activities include cycling tours, even from one coast to another, and national parks such as the CATIE Research Centre or Manuel Antonio National Park.
However you chose to spend your holiday, enjoy nature whilst protecting it by making brilliant memories in the most sustainable way possible.
About the Author: Ani Talwar is the Deputy Wildlife and Environment Editor at WILD Magazine. Ani can be found at @Mischief.weavers, she wrote the book ‘ATRO- CITY THE FLOOD’ and cares passionately about sustainability.