Moments of Inspiration

Green, Clean Holidays: 5 Tips to Protect the Planet

Green, Clean Holidays: 5 Tips to Protect the Planet

Written by
Sarah O'Neill
January 2017


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We travel because we love our planet, and we want to discover more of its wonders. These 5 tips inspire you to protect the planet once you’ve arrived at your holiday destination.

In the article Green, Clean Travel: How to travel with a carbon-free conscience, we looked at how you can reduce your carbon footprint when travelling on holiday.

Here we consider how that green, clean mentality doesn’t have to end when you arrive at your destination. After all, unspoiled nature is worth the journey, and protecting the environment preserves the spectacular scenery that we travel to see. So how do we continue the process of protecting our planet once our feet have touched foreign soil?

1. Eat like a Local

If you’ve chosen sunnier climes for your holiday this year, take advantage of the fresh, local fare. Food that otherwise has to be freeze dried, or picked long before it’s ripe in order to make it to your table back home, can be grown here on the farm next door: ripe and ready, sun-soaked and bursting with flavour.

Whether it’s trout freshly fished from the stream, oranges plucked ripe from the tree or potatoes straight from the farm, the Corissia Hotels have compiled a range of day trips that take you straight to the source of your delicious food. Or let the delicacies come to you, with delicious hotel buffets full of organic fruit, vegetables and olive oil cultivated locally.

Eat like a local, and not only will you benefit from the incomparable taste of truly fresh food, you will also reduce your carbon footprint, because the furthest your food has travelled is from the farm up the road to the table.

Avoid the temptation to buy packaged products flown in from home when you’re on holiday. If there’s an edible home comfort that you simply can’t go a day without – pack it in your suitcase and bring it along yourself, rather than buying expensive imported goods. Like nearly 50% of Brits, I always pack my own personal stash of tea bags...

2. Picnics and Plastic Bags

Plastic bag use may have plummeted in Britain once supermarkets started charging for them, but travellers will quickly discover that not every shop in the world has gone reusable.

Still, being on holiday doesn’t mean you have to give up your green principles. Not only do all those throw-away plastic bags create so much harmful waste, but it costs a great deal of energy to produce a single plastic bag for one-time use. So why not pack one or two reusable shopping bags to take with you on holiday?

In our family, we like to take one cloth bag and one collapsible cool bag. It’s useful for any kind of shopping, but it’s also great when we’re out and about on a hot day and want to keep our water or fruit chilled, or when we’ve bought chocolate...

Another tip is to pack some plastic containers. My husband likes to tessellate shampoos, gels and other items that would be rather messy if they opened in our suitcase, and pop them in a plastic lunchbox. Once you arrive, these little boxes then come in handy for picnics and snacks. No fuss, no waste.

3. Use Public Transport

In many European capitals, a car is more of a hindrance than a help. With limited and expensive parking; narrow, winding streets, and pedestrians, bicycles and trams to watch out for, it’s often less stressful and less time consuming to leave the car behind.

Many cities have a welcome card that includes museum entries and some of the main sights, as well as free use or reduced rates on public transport. Ask at the local tourist information office, or research before you travel. Often, you can also purchase transport cards that offer you cashless, hassle-free use of the system, like the Oyster card in London.

Bear in mind that the transport systems in big cities are often idiosyncratic with their own quirks, and a little research goes a long way. The local buses in Dublin, for example, will only accept coins and do not give change. In London, all buses are cashless, and you must purchase a ticket or charge your Oyster card in advance. Train tickets in France must generally be validated before use. Find out how the system works for your destination before you travel!

4. Rent a Hybrid

Many destinations simply cannot be explored without your own set of wheels. But when you do decide to rent a car, there is still the option of making greener choices.

Think realistically about the size and engine that you need. Choosing a smaller, more energy-efficient car is better for the environment, not to mention saving you plenty of money on petrol. In some countries, gas-guzzlers carry hidden costs: New Zealand levies a Road User Charge on diesel engines; London has congestion charges for most non-electric vehicles in the congestion zone, and if you’re planning to visit Berlin, ensure your rental car has a green, low emissions sticker, or you will not be permitted to drive in the city centre.

Booking a rental car can be an opportunity to take something new for an extended test drive, so why not experiment with some new technologies? Amsterdam and Tokyo are the perfect cities to try out an electric car, offering an abundance of public charging points. Charging an electric car can be an overnight process: unlike fuelling, it often takes hours rather than minutes, so plan accordingly.

Or why not rent a hybrid on holiday? These cars combine an electrical motor with regular gasoline or diesel, allowing you to reduce carbon emissions without the worry of finding a charging station when your battery is low. If your destination allows, take the opportunity to experience emission-free city driving for yourself.

5. Choose the Right Hotel

Most of us don’t want to worry about a guilty conscience when we use hotel amenities, like the pool or the Jacuzzi, and the good news is, EPA findings show that pools account for less than 1% of water consumption in US hotels. So you can swim to your heart’s content. There are, however, some simple steps we all can take to ensure that resources aren’t being wasted when we’re not using them.

When you leave the room, for instance, take a quick glance that the lights and fans are switched off (the bathroom is often the main culprit). The Corissia Hotels have an electronic system that automatically turns off the air conditioning if the balcony door is open. Otherwise, all of that refreshingly cool air is literally going out the window.

The linen reuse sign – towel on the rack vs. towel on the floor – has become a familiar sight in hotels around the world: and it brings results, reducing laundry loads by 17% according to the National Geographic. Few of us wash our towels daily in everyday life, so why, then, should it be necessary when we stay in a hotel?

The right choice of hotel can also be the right choice for the environment. Check out the green credentials of your hotel the next time you book. You could look for the label of a “green certifier”. These are external accreditation agencies that award hotels a green certification for their environmental policies. Not every “green hotel” accreditation fulfils the same list of criteria, because not every agency sets the same standards, so it’s worth knowing which agencies are reputable, or better still, visit your hotel website to find out what they are actively doing for the environment.

At the Corissia Hotels, for example, protecting the natural resources on Crete is one of their greatest priorities. From the state-of-the-art geothermal energy system and solar power in the Corissia Princess and Harmony Hotels, to LED light bulbs and environmentally-friendly cleaning products, they have some smart ideas on making luxury holidays sustainable. They protect their Blue Flag waters with a modern, biological water treatment plant and use eco-friendly, recyclable packing for the fresh, daily deliveries of regional fruit and veg.

You can find the Corissia Hotels’ environment plan here, but regardless of where you stay, here are some basic questions you could ask of your hotel:

  1. Where does your food come from?
    Is it fresh? Is it locally produced? Is it organic? Are meat and fish sourced sustainably?
  2. What happens to your waste?
    Does the hotel recycle? Do they have a compost scheme?
  3. How energy-efficient are you?
    Are the hotel buildings well insulated? Does the hotel have an energy-efficient heating system? Do they use LED light bulbs? Does the hotel use renewable energy sources?
  4. How do you prevent waste?
    Does the hotel reduce food packaging? How do they manage waste water? Do they have systems to prevent energy being wasted?
  5. How do you benefit the local community?
    Is the hotel a source of employment for the community? Do they support local farmers, businesses and projects? Do their work practices provide safe, fair conditions for their employees?

Many of us travel because we love our planet, and we want to discover more of its wonders. We hope these 5 simple tips help you to protect the planet when you’re on holiday, so that its beauty can be enjoyed by future generations.

Written by Sarah O'Neill

A passionate traveller, linguist and writer, Sarah has visited over 20 countries around the globe. She loves immersing herself in new cultures, learning the language, and getting to know the local people.

Would you like to be an author at Moments of Inspiration?
Do you have an original idea for a guest blog post or interest to write regularly as an author for us? Send us your article or simply contact us at:

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