Family holidays can be both green and fun. And if you stay close to home, they’re likely to be cheaper and more eco, too. (however, it's not always possible, so don't worry, here we are going to share with more some alternative ways to make yourself less quilty)
Take the train
Staying local is the simplest way to make your family holiday kinder to the planet.
Taking the train from London to Lanzarote instead of flying to Marbella cuts your carbon footprint by 2.4 tonnes for a family of four people.
If you have to drive
If you do drive to your destination, park the car and leave it. Local initiatives like West Cornwall’s ‘Boot, bus and branchline’ make it easy for visitors to explore the area by public transport.
The National Cycle Network offers over 12,000 miles of walking and cycle routes on traffic-free paths, quiet lanes and traffic-calmed roads. To find a local route, visit Sustrans: www.sustrans.org.uk.
Greener places to stay
Find greener accommodation
Consider where you’ll be staying – the simpler the accommodation, the greener it’s likely to be. Look for places that:
The Green Tourism Business Scheme lists over 1,400 environmentally-friendly places to stay and visit in England and Scotland. Go to www.green-business.co.uk.
Feed the animals, eat home-grown produce or help with the fruit-picking – Featherdown Farm offers B&B or self-catering accommodation in idyllic rural settings and a chance to learn more about the countryside and the people who work in it.
The ultimate ecofriendly holiday, and a great budget option if you get back to basics with sleeping bags and primus stove. Search for a camp site, read reviews and share tips on life under canvas at www.ukcampsite.co.uk. For camp sites with great locations or spectacular views, try www.coolcamping.co.uk
There’s a great range of camping equipment at Tesco direct.
Staying under canvas doesn’t mean giving up your creature comforts. For a taste of ‘glamping’ (glamorous camping), Featherdown Farm offer luxury tents in traditional working farm settings.
Not just for hikers and backpackers, youth hostels cater for families, too. Many are being revamped with en-suite rooms replacing dormitories. The newly built YHA National Forest eco-friendly hostel in Derbyshire is a great base for exploring the great outdoors.
Narrowboat holidays have a small carbon footprint and with constantly changing scenery, locks to work and plenty of wildlife to watch, they have bags of kid-appeal. Did you know that you can spend your Clubcard vouchers on a canal boat holiday? Find out more at here.
Greener holidays abroad
If you’re holidaying in Europe, think about taking the train rather than flying or driving.
Northern Spain, the South of France, the French Atlantic coast and even Sicily have some of the best beaches in Europe and can easily be reached by train and/or ferry. For information and tips on booking train travel in Europe (and beyond), visit www.seat61.com.
Keep an eye out for the leaf-shaped Travelife logo in mainstream holiday brochures – it’s awarded to hotels and travel companies that follow good green practices.
The Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO) also promotes responsible tourism through a star-rating system – there are nearly 30 members with the top three-star rating.