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How to be more sustainable when you travel

What you can do to travel sustainably and the spas that will help you.

Most of us want to know that we are doing our best for the planet in our everyday actions, and especially when we go on holiday. However, it isn’t always easy to know what to do to make a difference. In addition to looking to the hotels and spas themselves to make responsible and sustainable choices, there are small things that are within our own power to control, and that can contribute to making a difference.

Buy local produce and gifts

Buying local means the money we spend on holiday goes to the local economy. That might mean using local companies if we venture out beyond the spa, buying locally-made produce and souvenirs, and going to local bars, cafes and restaurants to eat local dishes made from local produce. It sounds obvious, but sometimes checking the labels and the provenance of a product will surprise you!

Buy green

In the spa industry, lots of spas are now making a conscious effort not only to limit the damage that’s done to the environment, but to be proactively sustainable and eco-friendly, so one way is obviously to choose hotel and spa destinations based on their environmental policies. The Sustainable Spa Association supports spa destinations to improve their sustainability factors, and you can see those with particularly high eco credentials listed on with the Sustainable Spa icon. If you swim in the sea on sunny days use eco-friendly sun cream, mosquito repellent and other toiletries, and remember it’s ok to ask questions. For example, order sustainable fish dishes (you can check the MSC’s Good Fish Guide).

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Keep your footprint small

We all do our bit at home to manage the amount of rubbish we produce, and we might even monitor our water and energy use. We can help spas and hotels to do the same with a few basic actions. For example, take shorter showers instead of having baths, reuse towels, turn down/off heating and air-conditioning in your room on overnight stays, and turn the lights and appliances off when you leave your room. Also, although very few places hand out plastic bottles anymore, consider using a reusable water bottle rather than plastic ones.

Respect local wildlife

There are so many naturally beautiful parts of the world, and the UK and spas are often surrounded by spectacular landscapes. From beaches to countryside, remember to respect the landscape. If you’re going for a hike through farmland, make sure you stick to the paths, take any picnic rubbish away with you and if you’re on a dog-friendly getaway, make sure they don’t upset any sheep or cattle.

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Use environmentally friendly products

We’ve mentioned suncream, but being mindful of sustainable skincare in general can help prevent damaging products from being washed into the water systems. Before you travel you can even look into buying swimwear that’s better for the environment.

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