Top tips to keep your holiday green

Travelling is hard on the environment.

You only have to visit an airport once to whiff the aviation fuel and know that there’s a lot of emissions, even if the plane is idling on the tarmac, much less thousands of feet in the air.

As Australians, it’s difficult to avoid flying if you want to travel, but there are a few tricks to keeping your travel as ‘green’ as you can.

Keep it short

There are plenty of travel opportunities in our area that don’t require two days of air travel and a lengthy stopover.

South-East Asia, the Pacific islands and New Zealand offer plenty of scope for all styles of travel, from laid-back-by-the-resort-pool getaways to jungle adventure treks.

Read more: Make your next holiday all about being ethical

Sure, they don’t have centuries of European culture behind them, but neither does Australia and we still seem to attract plenty of tourists.

Adjust your expectations, you don’t need to go overseas. Pick a spot on the map you have always wanted to visit just a few hours from your home and you might surprise yourself with what you discover.

Keep it grounded

You might have to use a plane to get to your destination, but you don’t have to use one to get around once you get there.

Rail, bus, ferry, biking or even hiking are ideal alternatives to flying and you may get to see more of the country at ground level.

Rail and buses also have the advantage that they often terminate in urban city centres, saving you many hours that air travel requires for check in, bag collection and transfers. 

It is often also possible to buy week, or even month-long bus and rail passes at a fraction of the cost of a flight.

And cycling and hiking burn plenty of calories, providing the perfect excuse to enjoy the local food and wine more.

Read more: Four bucket list adventures to explore in New Zealand

Keep it local

Large, internationally branded resorts have their appeal, but often there is a more authentic experience booking a smaller, locally owned hotel or even Airbnb and the money often goes back to the local community.

Think Bali, it’s an Australian favourite, littered with huge resorts and hotels, yet a lot of the population still lives in poverty. Where does that money go? For a large part, not to the locals, many of whom work in the hotels for a pittance.

Wouldn’t it be better if you could support the community directly?

And if you don’t feel like doing all the research into finding ‘green’ accommodation that’s fine, try It’s a social enterprise committed to helping people choose accommodation that goes that little bit further to support their environment, their people and the communities they live in.

But don’t expect recommendations on being green for the sake of being green. surveys and audits properties to keep a close eye on any dodgy claims to provide honest advice on ‘green’ credentials.

Read more: Can you name this country?

Keep it simple

A few simple tips can make your trip much greener.

Bring your own water bottle, don’t litter and pick up other people’s litter, don’t buy cheap clothing or accessories, use a reusable mask.

Other good ideas are; do some research for local tour operators, choose an eco-friendly car for road trips, take shorter showers – especially where water is at a premium – carry a cloth shopping bag and only buy what you need.

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Written by Jan Fisher

Accomplished journalist, feature writer and sub-editor with impressive knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income, issues that affect Australians planning and living in retirement, and answering YLC members' Age Pension and Centrelink questions. She has also developed a passion for travel and lifestyle writing and is fast becoming a supermarket savings 'guru'.

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