How to Have a Sustainable Staycation
With border closures, lockdowns and restrictions on travel still happening in places around the world, a staycation in your own city or local area is a great way to satisfy your travel cravings.
Although the official definition of a 'staycation' varies, it is generally agreed that a staycation is a vacation at, or close to, home. So instead of jumping on a plane or travelling hours in a car, you create a vacation in your local area.
Staycations are rising in popularity (image by Toa Heftiba via Unsplash)
The humble staycation has risen in popularity all over the world as a result, with many taking the time to rediscover their hometown, find cosy cabins for weekend stays, and explore places just around the corner that they might never have been before.
But whether you're travelling across the globe, or just an hour up the road, you can still make sustainable travel choices and ensure you are treading lightly wherever you go. From the accommodation you stay in, to the transport you use, the food you eat, sights you see and activities you participate in, here is our guide on how to plan a sustainable staycation.
Choosing sustainable accommodation
The first thing you can do to ensure your staycation has a minimal impact is to choose an eco or green hotel. There are a number of factors you can look out for when selecting your hotel to determine if it really is low-impact. Accommodation providers that really are implementing meaningful sustainability measures are likely to have information available on their websites, answering questions about things such as:
- Where their water comes from and how they minimise usage
- The type of energy used, and how they reduce energy consumption
- Recycling plans and waste reduction strategies
- Where their produce and food comes from
- Participation in community or environmental projects
There are a number of global certification programs out there that independently assess and certify accommodation providers to determine if they are meeting different sustainability criteria. This can be a great place to find certified sustainable accommodation options. Here at The Sustainable Traveller, we recommend EarthCheck. They have a handy interactive map to help you identify certified providers.
But of course, here at the Sustainable Traveller, we can book sustainable stays in Australia for you! You can be sure we've done the work to confirm that the accommodation options we offer are all operating in a way that is environmentally, socially and economically beneficial for our planet. We do this via your own personal travel advisor, who can expertly plan any hotel stays for you.
Some of our favourite eco-hotel options around Australia you can book with us:
Melbourne - alto Hotel on Bourke
Sydney - Ovolo Woolloomooloo
Brisbane - Crystalbrook Vincent (just opened!)
Adelaide - Mayfair Hotel
Perth - COMO The Treasury
Canberra - Ovolo Nishi
Hobart - The Old Woolstore Apartment Hotel
Cairns - Crystalbrook Flynn
Crystalbrook Vincent in Brisbane CBD (image via Crystalbrook)
Considering your transport
Transport is the biggest cause of emissions in the tourism industry. Thinking about how you are going to get to your destination and travel around once you're there is an important step in ensuring your staycation is kind to the planet.
Can you get to your destination by public transport? Once you're there, can you walk around, or hire a bike? Using public transport vs your own individual car is an easy swap, and many cities around the world offer free public transport options, like the trams in Melbourne and boats in Brisbane.
Research how you can get around, and avoid planes and cars as much as possible as these are the biggest causes of harmful emissions.
Free trams in Melbourne (image by Daniel Pelaez Duque via Unsplash)
Where to eat and drink
Eating local is the best way to keep your staycation low impact for more reasons than one!
If you choose to eat at locally-owned restaurants and cafes and visit local markets you can be sure your dollars are staying within the local community you are visiting, and directly support their economy.
But choosing to eat local cuisine and produce that is in season from the area also means your meals are more environmentally friendly. By not eating food that has travelled miles to land on your plate, clocking up a ton of carbon emissions and usually using a lot of harmful chemicals to keep it fresh. Plus, locally grown produce from just up the road from where you are eating it always tastes far more delicious! Try to find some farm to table style restaurants to visit, or look out for restaurants with a seasonal menu.
The Farm Byron Bay is a great example of paddock to plate dining (image via The Farm)
Sights to see
When deciding what sights you want to see during your staycay, try to include some local and cultural attractions. Taking the time to visit a local museum, or regional gallery can provide some valuable insights into the local area and its history. This is a great way to support the local community, by demonstrating you are interested in learning about their destination.
Activities and tours to participate in
In the same way you should check the eco-credentials of the accommodation you want to stay in, it's important to find an eco-certified tour company if you want to participate in any tours on your staycation. Sustainable tour operators should have policies on reducing waste, ethical interactions with animals, reducing emissions, employing the local community and contributing to community or environmental projects.
The Sustainable Traveller only partners with certified sustainable and ethical tour companies, and booking tours via us gives peace of mind your tour will have a positive impact.
Some of our favourite day tours around Australia are you can book with us:
Adelaide - Adelaide Day Tour with Tour de Vines
Craft Beer Lovers Tour with Urban Adventures (image via Urban Adventures)
With a little planning and some careful consideration, you can have a staycation that benefits the environment, the local community and the economy!