Travelling whether its long-distance or just a short hop, always takes its toll on the environment. In Sweden, thankfully, there’s a lot of awareness about this issue – nearly half of all Swedes travel with the environment in mind. We’d like to share a few simple tips that can help make your vacation a little more sustainable. Everyone can’t do everything but everyone can, as you know, do something.
What you eat, what you drink and the equipment you use to carry your things, all add up. So does the impact of the airplanes, cars and buses you ride in, the electricity you consume at your hotel, even the souvenir vendors you buy things from. If you care about the future, you need to start thinking about reducing the adverse environmental impact of your travels. We have put together a list of simple things you do to make your vacation sustainably as possible.
1. Travel Sustainably
We all know that air travel is not good for the environment. Try to pick a vacation spot you can travel to by train or by bus. Once you reached your destination, it is a good idea to try walking or riding a bike as much as possible. If you’re not in the mood to exert yourself, you can rent an electric bike and travel without the slightest effort.
Also, try to use the local public transport. In Halland it’s easy to travel between towns by train. From spring until autumn we have hop-on hop-off buses that start in Varberg and take you to lots of lovely destinations across the countryside.
2. Keep the environmental thinking going on your vacation
Just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean you have to skip the small, everyday environmental-friendly habits you practice when you’re home. Recycle the garbage, save on the water, turn off the lamp when you leave the hotel room, eat whatever’s in season, have meat-free days, etc.
3. Buy locally produced and locally grown
In Halland, it is easy to find excellent locally produced food. We have dozens of farm shops from where you can buy organic vegetables, cheese, meat, fish and other locally produced goods.
4. Support the local tourist industry
Rent a bike or canoe on site. Eat at local restaurants or cafes, stay at B&Bs, hostels, hotels or campsites owned and operated by those who live locally on the land.
5. Buy sensibly and sustainably
Sustainability is not just about choosing green, eco-friendly articles. It is also about supporting the local stores by buying from them. This way, you can ensure they continue to remain in business. If you’re buying from large chain stores, you can buy garments made from organic cotton, garments that are GOTS-certified and of course choose cosmetics that are not tested on animals. When shopping at smaller, independent stores, keep an eye out for products and clothing that are Fair Trade, ecological and Swedish-made and of good quality.
6. Choose environmentally-friendly accommodation
Choose accommodation that is labelled eco-friendly and try and ensure the owners are working actively with environmental issues. It’s a bonus if they also serve food that’s organic and locally produced.
7. Avoid paper; go digital
It’s rare that you will need to print out tickets and bookings acknowledgements, today. Thankfully, one of the advantages of the digital age is that you can carry most everything on your phone or your computer. Apart from being better for the environment, you also have fewer papers to keep track of.
8. Show that you value sustainable thinking
When you’re at a restaurant enquire politely where the meat comes from, buy local produce in from farm shops and delis, compliment local shops and cafes that you appreciate the fact that they work with local produce.
9. Protect nature
In Sweden, everyone has the right to enjoy nature. But this comes with great responsibility. We should ensure that we don’t destroy nature, break off twigs from living trees, pluck flower or light fires and BBQs where it’s forbidden. Try and take care of nature in the same way it takes care of us.
10. Avoid bottled water
The tap water we have in Sweden is among the safest in the world. Make it a habit of carrying an empty bottle in your bag. You can refill it as many times as you like instead of buying a new bottle every time you’re thirsty. This way, you save both money and the environment.
11. Discover local attractions
Explore your natural surroundings. Go for a swim, build a sand castle with the kids, climb trees, read a book, have a picnic in a grove, cycle or simply go for a long walk. There are lots of activities that don’t impact the environment.