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Luxury Travel

How to be a Greener Guest

You've done all you can to reduce your carbon footprint travelling to your holiday, but what about once you're there? Richard Hammond shares his suggestions for how to be a greener guest at your accommodation.

This is a feature from Issue 23 of Charitable Traveller.

These days, hoteliers are quick to flag up what they’re doing in terms of being an eco-hotel, but it’s less clear how you can individually make a difference to reduce the impact of your stay on the environment and benefit the local economy. Here are a few tips for being a more mindful guest:

CAMPING
Away from the trappings of modern living, camping is often considered a low-impact holiday, but if you stay a while on-site, it’s easy to accumulate piles of rubbish. Where possible, use compostable or recyclable cooking and eating equipment, and take a large water container that can be refilled on-site, rather than buying lots of plastic bottles. If you’re taking extra supplies of toilet roll, check whether the campsite requires it to be biodegradable, and buy from ethical suppliers, such as uk.whogivesacrap.org. Sort your rubbish
and put it in relevant recycling bins on site before you leave. If you have camping gear that you no longer need, rather than sending it to landfill, consider sending it to organisations such as Gift Your Gear and the Continuum Project, or share it on Freecycle.

SELF-CATERING
It’s all too easy to forget about what food you’re going to need for a self-catering break until the last moment, at which point you make an emergency dash to the nearest supermarket, buy everything in bulk, and then end up throwing the surplus food and associated packaging in the bin at the end of the week. Far better to plan ahead and buy fresh, seasonal food, or order it from a local supplier who can deliver it to you before you reach your accommodation. Increasingly, farm shops are providing local delivery services – there’s a handy guide to over 8,800 farm shops across the UK at bigbarn.co.uk; these are places that pride themselves on the quality of artisan food. There may well be local schemes, such as localfooddirect.co.uk, which delivers fresh, local and ethically sourced food across Somerset, shropshiresown.co.uk, which delivers throughout Shropshire, and food4myholiday.com, a family-run service specifically for self-catering guests in Cornwall and West Devon.

HOTELS
On entering the room, read the information pack to understand how you can support the hotel’s eco-initiatives, for example, by preventing your laundry from being washed every day or making sure you sort your rubbish in accordance with the hotel’s recycling scheme. Also, look out for any tips on how you can support the local economy, such as where you can eat locally. Turn off the air-conditioning unit/heating or adjust it to a sensible temperature: personal preferences vary, but generally somewhere between 21 and 23ºC (70–74ºF) is comfortable for most. On leaving the room, turn off the air-con, heating or other electric devices that are on standby (if the hotel hasn’t given you a key card that does this automatically). On check out, give your hotel feedback on how eco-friendly you think it is; if you think it could do more, encourage the hotel to go greener in the future.

Happy green travels!

Next issue: Sustainable food and drink

This is a feature from Issue 23 of
Charitable Traveller.