What’s better than a lovely, relaxing getaway? Whether it is to enjoy some glorious sunshine on the coast or to admire snowy landscapes in the countryside, vacations are always a great way to unplug from everyday life. While breaks can aid our well-being and mental health, they can have a potentially negative effect on something else: the environment. From polluting transport transfers to ‘harmful’, common holiday habits, it is very easy to have a detrimental impact on our surroundings.
In this respect, favouring a local vacation over a trip abroad can be an effective solution. You may not have the chance to taste a Neapolitan pizza at the feet of Vesuvius or sip some sangria outside a bullring in Valencia, but it’s not all bad. Quite the contrary, actually. From historic landmarks to national parks and vibrant cities, the UK has an array of splendid spots to offer. By the end of your getaway, you will see your country with truly fresh eyes.
Therefore, we take a look at some of the benefits of staying local when travelling, while highlighting how it can help safeguard the well-being of our planet.
Ditch the plane
One of the most obvious advantages of opting for a British vacation is that you are not forced to hop on a plane. Some may like the excitement of taking off in one country and landing in a completely new continent, but it’s not an eco-friendly process.
International aviation has been identified as one of the fastest-growing sources of emissions actively contributing to climate change. In fact, figures show that over the past two decades its emissions have increased by almost 130%.
Flying to New York from London, for instance, produces 2.1 tonnes of CO2 per passenger. To put things into perspective, there were 81 countries in the world in 2017 that had lower annual per capita emissions than this flight. If you fancy a trip to the spectacular acropolis in Athens, you’d be responsible for one tonne of CO2. Even a simple flight from London to Edinburgh would produce 0.3 tonnes of CO2 for each passenger, and its total in 2017 would have been higher than the annual per capita emissions of 25 world countries.
When considering that Heathrow alone, Britain’s busiest airport, welcomes an average of 80m passengers per year, it becomes scary to envision the impact that consistent air travel can have on the planet. But, while flying may sometimes be inevitable, local travelling does not require plane trips to reach your coveted destination.
Trains, cars, and buses have a significantly gentler impact on the environment. Not only will you be reducing your carbon footprint, but you will be able to take in some fantastic views along the way too. Just look out the window and enjoy your greener, more eco-friendly journey.
Deciding what to take on holiday is usually among a traveller’s biggest dilemmas. If you’re unsure about what weather to expect in a foreign country, it is easy to fall into the trap of packing more than you actually need. Some may argue that it’s always better to be safe than sorry, but it’s also true that every additional kilogram you transport adds to how much fuel you are consuming.
If booking a staycation in the UK, you are more likely to predict what type of climate awaits you. This means that you will pack only what you truly need and keep your weight down. Ultimately, with lighter trolleys and luggage, you will both help protect your surroundings and spare your back from excessive strain.
Plan more itineraries and get around easily
Staycations and getaways that are closer to home are certainly easier to plan. If you have a very busy workload and do not have much time to get out and about, local travelling is the perfect solution for taking a reinvigorating break from time to time. With the chance to rely on more sustainable means of transport, as opposed to planes, you can also comfortably visit more than one place in a single trip. You can book a splendid city centre hotel in Newcastle, as well as other 4-or 5-star hotels across the country, and enjoy a short, low-impact road trip.
Furthermore, getting around and exploring new, stunning locations will be way more straightforward. There is no hiding that organising an excursion to a foreign country is a real challenge. Instead, conscious of how the UK transport system works and with useful apps on your phone, you already have a good understanding of how to travel from A to B. This will also allow you to contemplate your alternatives and confidently arrange greener forms of transport.
When lodging in a hotel, it is tempting to just go somewhat wild and disregard all your housekeeping rules. If we behaved the way we do in our own home, however, we would be doing both the hotel staff and our planet a huge favour. In fact, there are several tips you can follow to make sure your stay is as sustainable as possible.
For instance, why get your towels washed every single day? If they are not dirty, just hang up them back up as a sign that you do not need them changed yet. Moreover, leave the ‘do not disturb’ sign on the door even when you’re not in your room. This will save on chemical cleansing agents, the washing of bedding, and electricity used for vacuuming the floor.
Of course, you should follow these small, green steps wherever you are lodging in the world. That said, if you are enjoying a British staycation, there is really no excuse not to abide by these rules. With no potential language barrier, you can personally inform both reception and your hotel cleaners that your room is fine as it is.
There is no denying that travelling is simply wonderful. The joy and excitement of visiting a new location is incomparable. The good thing, though, is that you don’t need to move far from home to enjoy an unforgettable experience. With its gorgeous panoramas and enviable cultural sites, Britain has something for all tastes.
As we have just seen, UK vacations can be way more eco-friendly than international travel. Ultimately, as climate change continues to put our ailing planet to the test, it might represent the best solution to indulge in a well-deserved local break while also protecting the environment.