The summer months are coming and travel restrictions are gradually reducing so it’s time to enjoy some sun, sea, sand, and land. Looking for eco-friendly holiday destinations? We’ve got you covered!
Whether you’re an eco-tourism newbie or you’ve been indulging in sustainable travel for a good few years, we’ve found some great sustainable locations to visit when you next go away.
We cover how to make more sustainable choices to get to your destination of choice and suggest some off the beaten-track holiday destinations that will help you fall in love with nature while not costing the earth.
How to travel sustainably
There are lots of ways to reduce your impact on the environment whilst jetting off on your holidays - even to get to your final destination!
If you plan to fly, choosing direct flights means that you spend far less fuel on your journey. A lot of airlines give you the option to pay to offset your emissions, so why not budget in some carbon emissions when you plan your summer getaway? It goes without saying that the shorter the flight, the lesser the impact so try looking for destinations closer to home.
Once you’ve arrived, and before you get sat on your sun lounger, organising travel to and from and while you’re there is an important choice. Rather than hiring a car, using a bike or public transport is great for local air pollution levels, as well as saving you money (and paperwork). Plus, you’ll get an authentic local experience!
Another great way to make your holiday more sustainable is to re-think your accommodation. If you don’t want to stray too far from the comforts of a hotel room, you could support a local-owned hotel rather than a resort. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could always go camping and be closer to nature.
Whether you stay in a tent or a suite, these travel destinations are full of sustainable options so that you can really relax when you’re away.
The wilderness around Scotland’s highlands is beautiful, and has some great camping spots, in fact, in Scotland you’re even allowed to wild camp in most unenclosed spaces. Easily accessible by train from most parts of the UK, there are tonnes of outdoor pursuits you can enjoy while in Scotland.
As one of the greenest countries in the world, Scotland is amazing for cycling, hiking, canoeing, and even skiing.
It was the first country to sign up to Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency, committing to make positive changes in its travel and tourism sector. Plus, Scotland’s Green Tourism certification makes it easy to find eco-friendly accommodation - regardless of your budget.
EcoVibe recommends: Why not visit Britain’s only herd of free-roaming reindeer? The Cairngorm Reindeer Herd have been grazing on the hilltops of the Cairngorms for 70 years, after being extinct from the area for over 800!
As well as being the most biodiverse country in the world, being home to almost 6% of all the world’s species of animals, Costa Rica was one of the first countries in the world to promote sustainable, eco-friendly tourism. More than a quarter of the country is set aside as national parks and nature reserves, and it’s rich with ecolodges that are designed to minimise your environmental impact.
Lapa Ríos is one of the leaders in sustainable accommodation and has protected 1,000 acres of rainforest since 1993. The organisation uses tourism as a tool to aid in conservation, rather than it being corrosive to conservation efforts.
One of the most exciting activities on offer in Costa Rica is the zip lining tours throughout the Monteverde Cloud forest. These are the longest ziplines in the country, spanning over 770m, and are definitely a unique way to experience the beauty of the natural landscape.
All that ziplining sounds like fun in the sun!
EcoVibe recommends: Mineral sunscreen to keep yourself safe and your skin healthy whilst you whiz over the forest. It’s completely vegan and plastic free - so even if you do go through it all whilst on holiday, you’re not leaving plastic behind.
Insert Mineral sun cream
Looking for a holiday a little closer to home but desperate for a green retreat? You’re in luck. Over 50% of Slovenia is protected natural landscapes, making it perfect to unwind and explore. Plus, the Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism makes it really easy to fill your visit with sustainable options.
If you like to do something a bit different, Slovenia is famous for its incredible subterranean landscape as well as its above-ground greenery. The most famous of Slovenia’s caves is the Postojna cave - the Slovenian tourism website suggests that you visit this and the Predjama castle on the same day, which looks like it’s straight out of a fairy-tale.
Slovenia is also famous for its amazing food - eating locally is far more likely to directly support local farmers, and trust us, you don’t want to pass up the opportunity to eat at local businesses rather than chains.
EcoVibe recommends: Try EatWith - an app which lets you find local hosts to dine with. They’ll introduce you to their favourite meals and you might even learn a thing or two.
The Caribbean Islands are infamous for their sun, sea, and sand, but their tourism initiative encourages visitors to explore the wider culture of the islands as well. The Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism encourages nature and community focused tourist experiences.
If you enjoy immersing yourself in the art and music of other cultures, the Gallery of Caribbean Art is committed to bringing together pieces from throughout the region, and regularly has new exhibitions that highlight local talent. Another amazing view is thanks to the incredible Atlantis Submarines - you can peruse the reefs and get an up-close look at the stunning sea life around the islands.
EcoVibe Recommends: Barbados has some excellent opportunities for voluntourism, too - the Barbados Sea Turtle Project helps one of the island’s most endangered species, and you get to help baby sea turtles whilst they find their way to the ocean.
Your own doorstep
Is packing your least favourite part of going on holiday? Why not have a super eco-friendly staycation in 2022? All of us see something locally and decide to save exploring it for a rainy day - whether it’s an art gallery, a hiking trail, or the book you’ve been meaning to get around to reading for the last few months.
This can be a great way to get back in touch with your local natural hotspots, too. Staycations offer you a well-needed opportunity to disconnect, spend quality time with your family and friends, and check in with your mental health.
EcoVibe recommends: For any mischief makers who are a part of your staycation plans, a woodland den is just as much fun as a theme park, with a far lower price tag and carbon footprint!
* insert woodland den kit*
Ready, steady, holiday!
Whether you’re planning to sun yourself in your garden or looking to explore an exotic destination, there are loads of ways you can make more sustainable choices when you travel.
From offsetting your flight’s carbon footprint to adventuring on local transport, we’ve covered our top eco-tourism tips. We’ve also suggested some of our favourite eco-friendly holiday locations. From staying local, heading to the Scottish highlands, or exploring new destinations such as Slovenia and Costa Rica, we’ve covered what makes these destinations top of our eco-travel list.
Got a favourite eco-friendly hotel or campsite you’d love to recommend to the EcoVibe community? Let us know in the comments below.