With these 11+1 tips, or by compensating for the footprint created by your travel, you can make a small contribution to restore the world to how you yourself would like to experience it when you travel.
Eco-Hotels - relaxation for you and the environment
For the longest time, eco hotels have been stereo-typed as being accommodation for hippies or those who choose to live "off the grid". The new eco hotels put as much value on relaxation as they do on beautiful architecture. Wood, felt and cotton characterise the modern interior design. On the breakfast buffet, you'll find delicacies from the local area - all organic, of course. And talking about organic: why not have a holiday on a farm with the kids?
Re-usable material bags instead of disposable plastic bags
In many countries, some stores still offer free disposable plastic bags at the till, which are used in abundance. Why only use your re-usable material bags when you shop at home? They are easy to take with you: they weigh next to nothing, take up hardly any space and fit it any suitcase or bag - and these days, with all the modern designs available, they can also be used as a fashion statement.
Less plastic: Re-usable instead of disposable plastic bottles
Do you quickly drink up whatever is left in your bottle before you go through security, or get annoyed that you're having to throw half a bottle of your drink away? Does it not annoy you that you can't take a drink on a plane with you, even on long flights, and then during the flight you get given a tiny bottle with just a few mouthfuls of water - which you sometimes even have to pay for? It doesn't have to be like that. Take a re-usable stainless steel bottle with you. Take the empty bottle with you through security and then once you're through, you can fill it up at a water dispenser or from the sinks in the toilet.
As well as saving money that you can put to better use whilst on holiday, it will make the journey better, thus improving the overall holiday experience. Just think about it: who wants to have that first, long-awaited dip in the sea, only to be surrounded by floating plastic bottles that have been dumped on the beach? If we stop using the disposable bottles, we can avoid this problem altogether.
Tap water is also free, so you'll have even more spending money for your holiday. And think of it this way: what kind of style statement does a disposable plastic bottle from a supermarket make?
With a glass "Soul" bottle, you can also convey a message: these bottles are decorated with cool illustrations and slogans. For those who want a robust and flight-approved bottle, there are also stainless steel bottles available in every colour from the likes of 24Bottles, Klean Kanteen, Kivanta and many other brands.
Outdoor living is just better with bamboo
Using plastic is as much an issue whether you're camping or having a BBQ party. Glass and porcelain aren't very practical. A sustainable alternative is crockery made out of bamboo and cornflour. Bamboo is a very fast growing, renewable raw material. Biobu by Ekobu and Zuperzozial have colourful sets available. With these, you can have your favourite meal on your favourite coloured crockery.
Flying: If you're doing it, make it worthwhile
There's good news and bad news: Flying has the biggest negative impact on the environment than other type of travel. Just one flight to Mallorca puts as much strain on the environment as driving a car for a year. The good news: If you do fly, then make it worthwhile. If you're travelling less than 700km, it's better for the environment if you travel by train or coach. For such a short distance, it's also usually quicker. If you're going further than 700km, you should plan to go for at least 8 days. If you're travelling more than 2,000km, then it's recommended that you go for at least 15 days. Unfortunately, we don't have any tips on how to persuade your boss that you need to take a holiday that's longer than the permitted 2 weeks!
Discover life without transport
The bus or train aren't always practical alternatives to your own car. Those who want to go biking or walking, or those who are taking camping equipment, would also need a Butler to carry everything for them. That's also a factor when flying. Sometimes we just want a change of scenery and to discover a different culture, and we don't want to miss out on a flight abroad.
But what would it be like if you didn't take a hire car when you got there? Even if you travel there by car, you can still escape everyday routine: leave the car in the hotel carpark and go out and mingle with the locals! Most things are close by and can easily be reached on foot - and on holiday, there's no rush. Be honest: no one dreams of getting into a baking hot car on a hot summer's day. Who wants a sauna in their car at the height of summer? By leaving the car behind, you can avoid the stress and aggravation of trying to find a parking space, as well as saving the money you would use on parking fees for other, more enjoyable alternatives, such as ice cream - which, incidentally, is also easier to eat when you're walking rather than driving.
Looking for a restaurant in the evening can also be done on foot, and has the added advantage that you can try all the delicious beers or wines they have to offer, without having to restrict yourself. And if you skip the taxi home, you could end your evening with a romantic moonlight stroll instead.
Whether short or long-distance outings, it's much more relaxed to discover the local area using public transport, as well as saving you from the typical "hop on/hop off" buses. Travelling with public transport will give you a much deeper look into how the locals live. You don't need to worry about finding your way - the locals on the buses will know the area as well as the drivers.
You can also take your time and discover a town on a bike (or on foot). Many big towns or cities even have high-quality bikes for hire, which you can pick up and take back to various locations around the town. Instead of getting on and off the bus at one sight-seeing location after another, you can often find interesting places on the way to and from them, such as nice, undiscovered neighbourhoods off the main streets with interesting photo opportunities, little boutique stores, as well as cafes or bars. All these things give you a different perspective on the town.
Being on holiday means being away from everyday life! In particular, this means getting away from the norm - particularly when shopping and when you go out for a meal. It can be exciting to find local specialities and to try something new. This saves on shopping deliveries and gives nature a break too.
When you go to the supermarket, purchase the local brands rather than the humdrum brands you know and trust, which are often more expensive. Sometimes you'll find new favourites that you can take back home with you to keep that holiday feeling, even if only at meal times. You can also do this at restaurants: ask for the local fish and try the local wines. By purchasing fruit from the local market or by eating at a traditional bar or from a street stand, you can avoid the energy-guzzling air conditioned shopping centres, and maybe have a holiday experience worth telling folk back home about.
Eco-friendly suncream: good for the skin and for the environment
Have you ever asked yourself what happens to all the suncream that you can smell on everyone on a busy beach?
Mineral suncreams from natural cosmetic manufacturers, with no added nano-particles, are the current preferred method of protection, particularly when it comes to sun protection for the skin and protecting the environment. They don't contain any undesired chemical substances, which are believed to be destroying coral reefs, as well as damaging our skin. Suncreams made from natural cosmetics are also free from Microplastics. However, nano-particles are also believed to be having a negative impact on the eco-system. Anyone choosing this option should there fore take a look at the film that these creams leave behind and either just accept it, or take the time to do a bit of research and product tests. The effort will be worthwhile - and not just for the environment.
Water, a costly luxury
Many of us live in paradise, even if we don't realise it, and we always think our holiday destination is a real paradise. For many of us, flowing, clean water is a given and we assume that that's the case everywhere. However, in many regions, water is a valuable resource. The residents in these areas often don't have access to water at all, and it's a constant struggle to get it. When you stay in big hotels and clubs, you're not aware of this. The standards for the tourists are usually upheld wherever possible, often to the detriment of the local residents. To avoid leaving the locals without water, do a bit of research before you go on holiday and check the situation where you're going, and try to avoid using water unnecessarily. Here are a few tips on how to do this:
- Keep your showers short, for example, just 3 minutes instead of the usual 5 - most of the time, you've spent all day in the water anyway.
- Turn the water off whilst you brush your teeth.
- Dive straight into the sea in the morning, instead of having a shower. ;)
- Cool off in the sea, rather than in the pool
- You don't need to use the beach showers every time you get in or out of the sea.
- Use your hand towels for several days before putting them for the wash.
Keep a check on how much electricity you're using
You can save electricity as well as water. Power grids aren't always as stable as they are in Europe. For example, in Mexico or Africa, power cuts are a part of everyday life. Of course we should treat ourselves on holiday, but that doesn't mean we have to be wasteful. For example, we should always turn the lights out when we leave a room, just like we do at home.
Pay particular attention to how you use the air-conditioning in the room, as that is the number one electricity-guzzler. Don't cool a room unnecessarily. Moderate cooling is perfectly adequate. Turn the air-conditioning off whilst you're out during the day; whilst it cools your room, the world is heating up - due to global warming. Big temperature differences between being inside and outside are also not good for your circulation. And apart from all that: who wants to have a holiday in an igloo?
Harness the power of the sun
Mobile phone, laptop, cool box, speakers, Sat-Nav or fitness trackers - on the beach and on holiday in general, there are numerous gadgets that use electricity. Thankfully they don't all run on disposable batteries anymore. These days many of them use rechargeable batteries, which can be topped up by plugging them in or using a USB port. These gadgets are a first step in the right direction, but on holiday in some countries where the power grids aren't as stable, it's not an adequate solution. As a backpacker or camper you want to be independent and not leave your gadgets unattended in a public bathroom. In all these cases, you can harness the power of the sun.
These days there are lots of smart and fun ideas how you can live without using energy or travel with less impact.
11 + 1 - Reduce and Compensate
Because it's not possible for us to not use any resources at all, even small measures to reduce or compensate for the impact are important. When we travel, and especially when we finally take off for that long awaited holiday abroad, our ecological footprint increases even more. As well as all the options to reduce the impact you have on the environment, you can also compensate for it.
In order to restore your personal eco balance and compensate for the resources you have used, we can plant trees for you. Calculate how much CO2 your journey generated and compensate for your personal footprint!
Alternatively, you can support one of our projects with a donation in an amount of your choice:
Lyoness Europe AG/Projektkonto Lyoness Greenfinity
Bank: Unicredit Bank Austria
IBAN: AT05 12000 51860173106
Payment reference: "Footprint"