Not so long ago I came to a point of realisation that even if I had two holidays per year in the UK for the rest of my life I still wouldn’t get to see all of the places in my own country that would fascinate me. Therefore why go further afield so often when there is so much yet to explore on my doorstep?
For destinations beyond the UK there are still so many that are possible via train and ferry, not just the obvious ones of Ireland, Holland and France:
For travel arrangements check out The Man in Seat 61 who offers a wealth of experience and top tips on how to get to where you want to go in the cheapest and easiest manner. It may take a little longer to travel via land and sea than it does by air, but that adds to the holiday experience! By travelling through rather than bypassing the places along the way you get to take in so much more.
For days out check Good Journey first.
As Mike Berners-Lee sets out in his book, There Is No Planet B:
“There is no denying the massive carbon footprint [of flying]. For perspective, London to Hong Kong and back economy class is about a quarter of the average UK person’s annual carbon footprint. That’s not me trying to beat you up, it’s just a fact. Whether it is worth it depends on why you go and what you make of your trip. It’s a trade off.”
He goes on to say:
“If you do fly, at least treat it as a very special occasion and extravagance.”
Look to Improve your Climate Shadow
Climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe puts it that the most important thing we can do to fight climate change is to talk about it. With that in mind if you do fly you can at the very least talk to everyone about how you feel about that in relation to its environmental impact. It’ll make everyone you speak to think more about their impact too.
Have a read about the concept of our Climate Shadow – presented by Emma Pattee as a more realistic evaluation of our environmental impact than our carbon footprint – to better understand how unquantifiable actions such as talking about climate change can make big impressions.
It’s not to say that talking about your impact is a simple way to go feel guilt-free and balance out your emissions, but if you have to do things like take a flight then one thing to help minimise its impact (and improve your climate shadow) is to talk to everyone about how you wrangled with the decision due to the environmental impact of the flight.
Whether you’re going local or travelling long distance, getting in to the habit of offsetting can also help. Again this is by no means a complete solution or an excuse to travel to excess guilt-free, but offsetting can be one way to counter part of the impact of your movements.
Hopefully one day our technologies and infrastructure will be set up in such a way where those movements and activities have no negative impact on the planet. Whilst they still do, carbon-offsetting is one way to ensure our negative impact is countered to some degree by positive initiatives. And it can be cheaper than you might imagine.
I am partnered with Ecologi who plant trees on my behalf to offset the running of this website. I also use Climate Impact Partners to calculate and offset my transportation. Click here to learn more about their offset tool and see how easy and cheap it is to offset the carbon emissions of your next trip.
For greater detail on options available for ethical and sustainable holidaying have a read of Ethical Consumer’s guide where they look at the carbon impact of flying and alternatives, accommodation eco-labels, the impact of holiday homes (including Airbnb), alternative sustainable holiday options and more.