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Sustainable holidays provide all the benefits of getting away with your loved ones whilst managing our impact on the environment, resources, and local communities. If you’re wondering how to be more sustainable on holiday, our guide is worth a read!

There are numerous ways to make your holiday more eco-friendly, and even choosing one of our tips can make a difference. And if you’re booking a staycation in the UK or Ireland, you’re already halfway there!

Get inspired by our top 10 tips for sustainable holidays…

1. Save on Electricity

Changing a lightbulb

One easy way to make your holiday more eco-friendly is to save on electricity. Rather than leaving things on standby, you can switch off and unplug TVs, appliances, and chargers after use.

It’s something we all tend to forget, but switching off the light when leaving the room is another small action that can help the planet! Many holiday cottages have thermostats, smart meters, and energy-saving light bulbs installed.

Switching off electric appliances is not only a good practice for sustainable holidays but is also great to adopt during your everyday life. By doing so, you can not only help save the planet but also save money on your energy bill.

2. Holiday Close to Home

Couple walking on the beach

Here at Sykes Holiday Cottages, we are strong advocates of staycations and exploring our local areas. With a variety of landscapes, history, and local delicacies to enjoy, our holiday travel guides can help you discover a great spot near you that you may not have even known existed!

You could even save money on your getaway by choosing more budget-friendly destinations. Whitby, Brighton and York are just a few of the best value staycation spots you can enjoy in the UK.

Staying close to home is also a significant way to holiday more sustainably. Not only will you boost local economies, but you can also visit attractions that celebrate local heritage and culture.

You’ll also spend less time driving or flying and have the option to take public transport, such as buses, trains, or coaches, which leads us to our next tip…

3. Use Public Transport

Train travelling through the countryside

Using public transport is a great way to enjoy more sustainable holidays and reduce carbon emissions. Whilst helping the environment, you can cut costs by buying a railcard and having a more relaxing journey without the stress of bank holiday traffic.

There is a selection of cottages near a train station to make your journey even easier! With the likes of Wales, Yorkshire, Scotland, and Cornwall all reachable by rail, why not savour the sights on your way?

Several sleeper trains operate around the UK as well, so you can look forward to catching some shut-eye during your journey. Why not catch The Caledonian Sleeper from London to the likes of Inverness and Fort William? Alternatively, board The Night Rivier Sleeper to Penzance.

4. Use Eco-Friendly Search Engines

Couple using a mobile device

Looking after the planet can start before you even go on a sustainable holiday! There is a range of ‘social impact search engines’ that empower users to have a positive impact. Examples include giveWater, and Ekoru, all of which donate their profits to charitable partners.

Ecosia is another great eco-friendly engine for you to use during a sustainable holiday. Did you know that the Ecosia community have planted over 172,300,000 trees? Wow!

Users can help raise money to plant trees, build better water facilities, and renewable energy resources. Whenever you search for the nearest shop, pub or historic site, you’ll be supporting a social business, making the planet greener for all.

5. Support the Local Economy

Woman buying from a market stall

For eco-friendly holidays in the UK and Ireland, consider shopping locally while you’re away. You can buy food from local farm shops, pick up a handmade souvenir at the local market, and dine at independent eateries.

Not only will you find unique products, but shopping locally also preserves the heart of the community.

Supporting local high streets creates more jobs and a healthy economy, whilst you get a taste of home-grown produce. These products have a smaller carbon footprint because they are often sourced locally. You can go the extra mile on a sustainable holiday by bringing your reusable shopping bags!

Volunteering is another great way you can support the world around us. If a beachfront getaway is on the cards this year, why not partake in a beach clean with the Marine Conservation Society? You can also find a variety of volunteering options at the Scottish Charity, John Muir Trust, and across the UK with NCVO.

6. Calculate Your Carbon Footprint

Man hiking through a forest

If you’re looking for more guidance on reducing your impact during sustainable holidays, measuring your carbon footprint can help identify ways to adapt your lifestyle. The results show how much carbon emissions you produce and offer ways to reduce them.

The WWF Carbon Footprint Calculator is an excellent tool to visualise your impact. The short questionnaire includes food, travel, home, and products. Although small, these lifestyle changes can have a great impact and encourage others to follow suit.

At Sykes HQ, we’re also working to reduce our carbon footprint. One of our pledges in our 2022 Impact Report is to decrease our carbon emissions by at least 50% by 2030.

7. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

People using eco-friendly waste management

A great tip for sustainable holidays is managing your waste. When you arrive at your holiday home, check for recycling, plastic, and food waste bins. This will help you keep waste to a minimum whilst going about your holiday.

Bringing reusable bags, bottles, and containers to avoid single-use items is another easy way to reduce waste. You’ll have everything you need to pack a homemade picnic for that coastal or woodland walk!

When it comes to buying items for your holiday wardrobe this year, you could make a sustainable change by purchasing secondhand clothes. Depop and Vinted are a couple of great apps for this.

8. Be a Responsible Explorer

People exploring the Giant's Causeway

An exciting part of any holiday is getting to know the local area. However, tourism can have a negative impact on local communities and environments. Spending locally can help boost the community, whilst walking or cycling reduces traffic and is an eco-friendly way to enjoy the sights.

When exploring national parks and rural areas, sticking to footpaths, keeping dogs on leads, and never littering keeps the local wildlife safe.

And if you want to escape busier hot spots and crowds, there are a variety of remote cottages on offer. You’ll find lesser-known destinations and reduce the load on popular holiday locations.

9. Try a Digital Detox

Family reading together

Alongside saving on electricity, why not switch off your screens altogether and enjoy time with your loved ones? Sustainable holidays are an opportunity to take a break from social media, work, and devices.

Whether that’s bringing a book, board games, or simply admiring the views, not only will this contribute to your eco-friendly holiday, but also limiting screen time gives your busy brain a much-needed break.

There are several secluded getaways you can choose from where you can enjoy a digital detox away from the hustle and bustle. Glamping breaks and shepherd’s huts are other great options for sustainable holidays; you can really escape it all during these breaks.

10. Choose an Eco-friendly Holiday Home

Couple arriving at their holiday home

One of the best ways to learn how to holiday more sustainably is by booking an eco-friendly holiday home. From rustic lodges and shepherd’s huts to classic cottages, there is a range of eco-friendly holiday homes to choose from. The properties are built to reduce their impact on the environment.

This could be by using sustainable building materials, eco-friendly products or interior designs that are energy efficient.

For example, you may find a lodge made of locally-sourced wood. Or a cottage that uses a natural energy source and Smart heating. A sustainable home makes it even easier for you to look after the planet and provides a unique holiday experience.

At Sykes Holiday Cottages, we want to do our bit to create a cleaner, greener and fairer future for all. Find out how we’re becoming a better business in our Impact Report 2022.

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