Let's be honest, the covid travel restrictions have been a total pain. But one positive to come out of the pandemic is that many of us have taken the opportunity to holiday closer to home and to explore the hidden gems on our doorsteps.
This summer we decided to cycle around Portugal. As we live in Madrid, there were no planes involved.
Cycling is an incredible way to see a country and of course, it's a great way to reduce your carbon footprint.
Fancy travelling more sustainably too?
Here are our top tips.
1. Avoid planes
The aviation industry is responsible for around 5% of global warming which might not sound like much but when you consider that only 3% of the global population take regular flights, if you’re a regular flyer you’re having a disproportionately huge impact on the environment.
Mile for mile, flying is the most damaging way to travel for the climate. A return flight from London to San Francisco emits around 5.5 tonnes of greenhouse gases per person – more than twice the emissions produced by a family car in a year, and about half the average carbon footprint of an adult living in Britain.
Trains and coaches are the lowest carbon means of travel so before you book your next flight, why not consider whether another means of transport is possible? If you’re driving, make sure you have a full car because cars emit lots of CO2. Also, if you’re renting a car, consider renting an electric car.
Make travel part of the holiday – we think of travelling to holiday destinations as being a chore but do your research and you might find that a beautiful train ride is one of your holiday highlights.
If you are going to fly, pack as little as possible because planes emit a lot more CO2 if they’re lugging your suitcases around the world.
2. Get on your bike
We’ve been on lots of cycling holidays and it honestly is the best way to see a country. In our experience, local people appreciate you making the effort and are incredibly welcoming when you’re on a bike. You can also access remote spots that are inaccessible to cars.
When you’re biking, camping is a great option if you want to be close to nature or if you like your creature comforts, stay in hotels, most have somewhere for you to store bikes overnight.
3. Go plastic free
More than 8 million tons of plastic ends up in the ocean each year so why not bring sustainable, plastic free toiletries with you on holiday?
Ever used a mini bottle of shampoo in a hotel once then thrown it away? Or bought a full sized bottle of body wash at the airport, used some of it, then thrown it away?
For most of us, the answer to these questions is yes, and that needs to change.
There are lots of plastic free alternatives that you can bring with you on holiday to reduce the amount of plastic waste you create when you’re away.
Finally, plan ahead and don’t buy drinks in plastic bottles. Bring water bottles with you which you can fill up and if the water where you are isn’t drinkable, use a filter or purifier, there are lots of good value options available online.
4. Buy local
When you’re abroad, try to buy locally sourced, sustainable products that are made by the locals. This way you’ll be doing your bit to support the local economy.
5. Turn off the tap
We’re English so we tend to travel to hot countries to escape the terrible weather. Water is scarce in hot countries so make sure to use as little water as possible – turn off the tap whilst you’re brushing your teeth and whilst you’re in the shower foaming up your hair with your object shampoo bar.