Tips for a sustainable Christmas
It’s that time of year again! Every year around Christmas, people embark on their long awaited and well needed holidays, each year swearing to do things better than the last. May this time you’ll plan ahead, travel more responsibly or seek out a more authentic experience. We’ve thought of eight tips that will help you to keep last year’s resolutions:
1. PACK LIGHT
Planning the holiday and packing the luggage are quite possibly the hardest tasks. Making a decision as to which dress/shirt and pants to bring and which shoes to leave at home isn’t always easy. Yet, travelling with light baggage will not only save you a fortune when you avoid excess-baggage charges but also let your holiday become a lot greener as you will reduce your emissions by reducing the weight carried on the journey.
2. BE OPEN TO NEW THINGS
When booking the holiday or trying out a restaurant, people often tend to go with the familiar option, as they know what they can expect. However, sometimes it’s nice to try new things and choose the little family owned business over the internationally recognised chain. This will not only open your horizon for new delights, but you’re also supporting the local economy and allowing yourself the opportunity to get to know the local and experience their culture.
3. THINK A STEP AHEAD
To avoid stress and worry, plan your journey in advance – it helps to be prepared whether you are travelling with children/family/friends or by car/train/plane. It is always a good idea to pre-download movies and music as these will keep you distracted in moments of need. Furthermore, booking transfers, hotels and car rentals prior to travel will prevent hiccups along the way and secure your place during the busy holiday period. Planning and booking ahead also allows you to research the best and most cost effective options, so you can take into consideration your carbon footprint and find the most sustainable options.
4. A LITTLE CONSIDERATION GOES A LONG WAY
Just because you’re on a well-earned break doesn’t mean you should take a break from your usual habits to conserve water and electricity. Try to behave as you would be at home; turn off the tap while you brush your teeth, switch off the TV when you don’t need it, consider whether you really need your towels and linen changed every day, turn off the lights when you leave a room, and remember to switch off the air conditioner, or set it to a timer, when you leave your room or apartment.
5. BE MINDFUL OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS
While you are on your holiday and enjoying daily activities, be mindful of where you are and the impact you might be having on the environment. When bush walking or 4WDing, stick to the trails and watch where you are stepping or driving. Check your boots and tyres for seeds to ensure you’re not transporting any weeds to new areas. When snorkelling, be careful not to kick or stand on coral or increase turbidity by disrupting the sand with your flippers.
6. SAY NO TO SINGLE-USE PLASTIC
It’s easy to use more plastic when travelling, with impromptu purchases when browsing shops and markets, or buying bottled drinks on a hot day. But you can significantly reduce the plastic waste you are producing by taking along reusable bags, drink bottles and food containers, and even saying no to that plastic straw in your cocktail. If you must purchase plastic, be sure to reuse and recycle where possible.
7. LET THE WILDLIFE BE
The local wildlife may be adorable, but it’s important to let them live naturally. That means no touching and no feeding, and be sure to give them space to go about their business so they don’t become distressed. Wildlife that are fed often by people begin to rely on people for food, and feeding human food to birds and animals is not healthy as their bodies often can’t process it properly and it will make them sick. When it comes to people and wildlife, sharing is not always caring.
8. LEAD BY EXAMPLE
The best way to encourage and teach good habits is to lead by example. By following these tips you’ll encourage others in your party to do the same. If you’re really happy with an experience or a place that you stayed, or if you’re impressed by service or sustainability efforts made by a business you’ve encountered, write a review for them. By spreading the work and encouraging good habits, collectively, we can make a difference.
Alongside all of these recommendations, the most important thing to remember while traveling during the holiday period is not to forget your Christmas spirit!There may be times where things don’t go to plan; businesses are busy, staff are stressed, and fellow travellers might be tired, every now and then there will be a hitch but it’s important to remember that these things happen sometimes, and Christmas is a time for peace and joy. Spend some quality time with your loved ones and have fun!