How to make your summer vacation more planet-friendly

Sun, sea and…sustainability? If you haven’t thought about how eco your summer getaway will be, it’s time too! Read out 8 simple tips in our latest blog post.

Summer. Wonderful, isn’t it? Sun, sand and sea aplenty. Staycations, vacations and road trips make these months ones to remember.  

If you’re heading off somewhere exciting, try not to let your sustainable values slide. It’s easy to forget about the impact we’re having when we’re exploring all the world has to offer, but it’s important that we do our bit to keep things eco while we’re making plans to get out there. 

Many of our favourite travel habits come with damaging effects on the environment. A study by Nature Climate Change found that between 2008 and 2013, tourism alone accounted for 8% of the world’s global greenhouse gas emissions. That’s higher than the entire emissions of India in 2018 (6.5%)!

So what can you do? 

While the most eco-friendly thing you can do is stay home, we know that’s not the answer you had in mind. So, here are some things you can do to enjoy your summer without leaving a negative footprint. 

1. Choose a spot that focuses on ethical tourism 

Thankfully, there’s been a boom in ethical and sustainable tourism, meaning it’s now much easier to find accommodation and packages that work towards minimising environmental impact. 

Sites like Kind Traveller offer experiences and holidays that give back to local communities, and if you’re planning to stay in the UK this summer, check out The Greenhouse Hotel in Bournemouth. The seaside retreat is passionate about sustainability and can even guide you (not in a preachy way) on how to make your stay as green as can be.

For more luxe staycation inspo, we listed 10 amazing places in this blog post.

2. Carbon offset your flight

Annually, commercial flying produces over 900 million metric tons of CO2 emissions.

But there are ways you can compensate for the amount of carbon you create when flying, by investing in schemes that actively reduce carbon emissions and ‘balance out’ your impact: carbon offsets., has a nifty calculator that helps you see how much carbon your round trip will create, and how much it will cost to offset. They’ll use that money to support reforestation, as well as renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.

It’s important to note that carbon offsetting doesn’t mean ‘cause huge emissions and just offset them later’. It’s always better to aim to not produce emissions in the first place!

3. Pack light 

Speaking of the impact of flying, heavy luggage requires more fuel to get you from A to B.

By packing lighter, you’re not only reducing the oomph needed to take off, but you’ll often save precious pennies when checking in, too. 

Use a smaller bag (if you’ve got space, you’ll fill it!) and bring clothing that can be mixed and matched to squeeze more outfits out of each piece.

For toiletries, choose refillable travel bottles (or better yet, solid cleansers) instead of full-size shampoos, conditioners and the like.

4. Travel locally, when possible

If you’ve yet to decide where you’re heading this summer, don’t feel the pressure to look overseas. 

There are plenty of local treasures here in the UK ready and waiting to be explored, from rugged Welsh coastlines to sandy Cornish beaches and rolling Lake District hills bursting with wildflowers.

Plus, travelling locally means you can make the most of trains and coaches, which will drastically reduce emissions compared to a car or plane.

5. Be respectful of local culture

Tourism in itself can never be 100% sustainable, there are too many factors at play for that to happen. But, tourism is a great way to support the local economy, and there are ways that we can be more mindful when we’re abroad.

Many countries have different ways of living, so respect the culture and enjoy new experiences! Always be considerate when interacting with locals, ask before taking photos and dress appropriately for the culture you’re in.

6. Say no to animal exploitation

Steer clear of excursion companies offering to take you on ‘adventures’ involving animals. Many of them – like riding elephants – cause harm to the animals and partaking in them only increases demand. 

When looking for a wildlife experience, do your research to make sure it’s ethical, first. If ‘performances’, baiting, or opportunities to cuddle tigers are involved, it won’t be.

If you want to see the local wildlife, look for tours that show you their natural habitats, usually in National Parks led by conservationists, that put the animal’s welfare first.

7. Prioritise eco self-care

IE HN CandlesWe’ve got a theory that when you’re feeling good, you’re more likely to do good, too. 

But self-care while you travel needn’t mean expensive spa retreats (there are plenty of eco options though if that’s what you’re after!).

It simply means packing something that helps you unwind, feel confident, or gives you that comforting feeling of home.

Our Nomad size candles (available in all mood packs) are a travel-sized jar of happiness that can fit easily in your bag. Choose from many of our signature scents to bring the power of aromachology, and up to 15 hours of blissful burn time, anywhere your feet take you. We also have the same scents in our travel-friendly screw top diffusers and room mists.

They’re cruelty-free, vegan, and won’t add much weight to your luggage, either. 

8. Eat local

To round up our list: food. 

It’s an integral part of any trip, we’d, say, but to make your foodie experience as good for the planet as it is for your tastebuds, opt for locally grown or sourced wherever possible.

Doing this will give you the chance to sample delicious new flavours, and will minimise the travel emissions needed to ship ingredients across the globe. 

‘Food miles’ (the distance food travels to get to our plates) is thought to be responsible for 6% of the world’s global emissions. That doesn’t sound so tasty.

Ready to get going? Before you run out the door, make sure to read our blog post of 10 eco-essentials to pack in your luggage! 

We can’t wait to see what you get up to, so tag us in your halcyon holiday snaps with us @HalcyonNaturalsUK.

Sources: | Tourism global greenhouse gas emissions

Carbon Brief | Tourism responsible for 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions

C2ES | International emissions

The ICCT | CO2 emissions from commercial aviation

Carbon Fund | Individual carbon footprint calculator

Stuff | How to pack light to cut carbon emissions

BBC | Elephant tourism is ‘fuelling cruelty’

Pebble Mag | How to have an ethical wildlife experience

The Guardian | Climate impact of food miles

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