Green Glossary

Sustainable Travel: 6 tips from eco luxury travel expert Juliet Kinsman

From carbon offsetting to picking pioneering hotels, now is the time to start travelling in a more conscious and meaningful way

Sustainable Travel

Juliet Kinsman has been a journalist, broadcaster and speaker for more than 20 years, criss-crossing the world to share her insight on luxury travel. Keen to start the conversation about travelling more responsibly, she now uses her considerable expertise to steer more conscious globetrotters towards holidays with a positive impact, socially, environmentally and economicallyHere are her tips on how to navigate travel with more consideration

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Dig deep when choosing a destination 

Think about what matters to you and what your values are, then pick a country that reflects this. Choosing a destination with a heart and head for sustainability and conservation is one way to steer yourself to greener getaways. 

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Shinta Mani, Cambodia

Cambodia, for example, is worth considering thanks to the charity work of its hotels, such as the Shinta Mani group which supports disadvantaged students; while Rosewood Hotels is a benefactor of Room to Read helping girls continue their education in Siem Reap.

Think carefully about carbon offsetting

When looking into carbon offsetting, remember that the Gold Standard seal is given to the most credible programmes, with the highest levels of assurance that outcomes have been achieved with certifiable impacts on UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  

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Tree Sisters

And while planting trees is a wonderful thing to counter carbon, consider what trees are planted where, for the maximum sequestering of carbon from the air – all the better when there is a socio-economic benefit like TreeSisters, a charity facilitating female tree-planting projects. 

Pick a pioneering hotel

Lessen your carbon load by supporting energy-efficient hotels, particularly hosts who harness the power of solar energy. Some businesses aim to achieve ‘net-zero’, where they’ve measured all their emissions and balanced them out through offsetting or by buying carbon credits. 

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Fogo Island Inn, Greenland

Fogo Island Inn – a design hotel on a tiny, far-flung rugged isle south of Greenland in Newfoundland, Canada – is a game changer. Founder Zita Cobb promotes awareness and transparency around business practices, provenance of goods and sustainability. It’s a blueprint for a new model of luxury hospitality.

Investigate ethical travel insurance

There are insurance companies out there who care for people and the planet, not just profit. Do your homework around underwriters. What you need to look for is whether they have an ethical policy on investments. 

You could consult – this coalition of NGOs calls out the heroes and zeroes in this sector. Consider supporting companies that are transparent around their investments, prioritise the greater good and contribute to their tax system.

Become an environmentally-conscious spa-goer

When it comes to wellbeing there’s such a disconnect between concern for our own health and that of the planet. It’s just not relaxing to see so much treated water and energy expended, with spas often spilling over with pre-packaged, single-use products. 

Choose hosts who invest in water-saving tricks, such as low-flow showers, and that use all-natural therapies. And there’s nothing wrong with turning down the fluffy white robe or disposable slipper. That way you spare landfills and laundry.

Be low maintenance and minimise waste

The essence of green travel is to conserve natural resources. But when you cut down on energy and water use, look at the context. If everyone went Do Not Disturb on hotel housekeeping services, someone who really needs the work could be out of a job. 

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Bambu Indah, Bali

Zero plastic is always a worthy target, especially in places without municipal waste management or where rubbish might end up in nature. At Bambu Indah in Bali, owner John Hardy sets off every day at 7am to collect trash and he’s not shy in pointing out how we could all be living greener lives.

From The Green Edit: Travel by Juliet Kinsman (Ebury Press, £9.99)

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