Taking a sustainable approach to holidays

Jersey-based travel expert Juliet Twena shares her top tips for planning environmentally responsible travel adventures

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SINCE the beginning of the pandemic, news of the positive effects the lack of air travel has had on the environment has made me much more aware of the consequences my beloved industry has on the world.

With the release of David Attenborough’s moving and thought-provoking documentary ‘A Life on Our Planet’, I felt it important to bring attention to this subject.

Sustainable travel is a much more complex issue than one might think. My hope is to educate and encourage people to think when making travel plans.

Here in Jersey we are making great headway towards becoming carbon neutral by 2030 and work on the strategy is due to resume fully this month. Talking to friends in the Island there is a lot of interest in environmental issues and living a more sustainable life.

When it comes to travel there are three areas to consider:

The environmental pillar – focusing on reducing negative impacts on the environment and wildlife from travelling.

The social pillar – this is our impact on local people and communities.

The economic pillar – when it comes to travel, this is about using our money to positively contribute to the local economy.

Here are some tips I have put together to help you to implement some changes to your travel to make it more sustainable.

1. Offsetting your carbon emissions

Around a third of airlines have some sort of carbon-offset programme where you pay a fee which is donated to their scheme.

The good news is that, by 2021, airlines that fly internationally will have to offset any extra emissions under the UN scheme agreed in Montreal in 2018.

Also, many tour companies have an option to pay a small fee to offset carbon emissions too.

Just ask your trusted travel adviser for more information.

2. Trains, not planes

While I appreciate that living in an Island makes it more difficult to eliminate flying completely, there are other options you can think about when it come to your onward travel plans.

For starters, direct flights produce fewer carbon emissions, which gives you the perfect excuse to pay that extra to go direct.

Once away, consider taking the train rather than a domestic flight. It’s more fun, often less expensive and makes for more exciting stories.

3. Electric-car hire

We are now beginning to see the option of hiring electric cars. Granted, this is not available everywhere and for some trips electrical vehicles are not practical. However, it is something to consider if appropriate.

4. Accredited eco-friendly accommodation

It is hard to believe there are over 200 eco labels in the hotel industry. The biggest and most widely known and used is Green Globe.

Active since 1999, the certifying standard takes environmental, social and economic and cultural aspects of tourism businesses into account. Ask your travel adviser to offer accredited hotels for you where possible.

5. Pack eco-friendly travel essentials

This is something everyone can easily do for both travel and day-to-day life. These days there are several companies making biodegradable deodorants, toothpastes and brushes and shower, shampoo and conditioner bars.

The list is endless and affordable.

6. Avoid all-inclusive when possible and eat out locally

By booking your accommodation on a bed-and-breakfast or room-only basis, you are more likely to eat out in local restaurants, drink in local bars and generally add to the local economy.

There is also a better chance that if you leave the resort, you may participate in cultural activities, again supporting local tourism and jobs.

7. Only participate in responsible wildlife tourism

While in Egypt, my passengers regularly participated in camel and donkey rides and I am proud to say that, while in Luxor, we worked with the Dorothy Brooke Foundation, now simply known as Brooke. Wildlife tourism covers a broad area and it is essential you do your homework before participating in any activity involving animals. If in doubt, don’t be afraid to ask or decline.

8. Snorkel and scuba dive responsibly

As an avid diver, I urge anyone planning to snorkel or dive to read up on how to participate safely. I have seen first-hand the damage mass tourism can do to the reef in both Australia and the Red Sea. Restrictions and legislation are being put in place to prevent this but it is also our duty to understand how we can play our part. For more information about safe snorkelling visit tropicalsnorkelling.com/snorkeling-etiquette.html.

9. Ask for more sustainable travel

Sounds easy? That’s because it is. Just ask your travel advise and, if they can’t help, find a new travel adviser.

10. Share your travel experiences

I would love to hear your suggestions and feedback on this subject.

Juliet has picked some of the best eco and sustainable travel products on the market to help with packing.

Jersey Skin: Shower bars, shampoo bars etc. See etsy.com/shop/jerseyskin.

Pela Vision: Bio and compostable sunglasses. See pelavision.com.

Wild Refill: Sustainable deodorant. See wearewild.com.

Skinnies: Reef-, ocean-safe and water-free suncream. See skinnies.co.nz.

Tropic Skin Care: Reef- and ocean-safe.See tropicskincare.com/collections/sun-care.

Batoko Swimwear: Visit batoko.com/collections/swimsuits.

Tropic of C: Swimwear and beachwear. See tropicofc.com/collections/sustainable-styles.

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