After two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s only natural that we’re looking forward to 2022 with cautious optimism, eager for our annual escape to the sun.
Pre-pandemic, the importance of sustainable travel was becoming ever more obvious, with many destinations suffering the effects of overtourism (though luckily not our peaceful, unspoilt Dodecanese islands). The recent UN Climate Change Conference, known as COP26, further heightened our awareness of the benefits of travelling sustainably.
While many people are aware of the looming climate crisis, it’s easy to feel a sense of helplessness, a feeling of ‘well, what difference can I make?’
Luckily there are plenty of small adjustments we can all make that collectively make a big difference. Here are our tips for how to travel more sustainably in 2022.
Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
There’s no getting away from the fact that air travel is carbon intensive, so carbon offsetting has become increasingly popular in recent years. While this doesn’t get rid of the carbon dioxide produced from your flight, the idea is that you make up for it by contributing to projects that reduce carbon emissions elsewhere, such as forestry projects or renewable technologies.
Ditch the Single-Use Plastics
Plastic pollution is an ever-increasing problem, but there are plenty of sustainable alternatives out there. Travel with a trusty reusable water bottle – stainless steel is a great option – and fill your bottles at water fountains. This may be tricky on islands like Halki, which has a lack of natural water sources, but you can still reduce plastic by filling up from larger bottles or using a water bottle with filter.
Ditch single-use plastic bags in supermarkets and travel with a tote instead – like our much-loved Nissia bags. And if you like to take a picnic to the beach or on a hike, bring some lightweight Tupperware and travel cutlery to reduce waste.
Be Mindful in Your Accommodation
When it’s so hot, it can be tempting to leave your air-conditioning running so it’s cool when you return. Please don’t – switching off lights and air-conditioning whenever you go out (and heating in cooler weather) helps to keep energy usage low.
With water in short supply on some small Greek islands, be mindful of water usage. Take short showers and always turn the tap off when brushing your teeth.
If you’re staying in a hotel, ask the maid to reduce the amount of towel/sheet changes to minimise laundry. You probably don’t change them every day at home, so why do this on holiday?
Respect the Local Community
Sustainable travel isn’t just about protecting the environment; it’s about being respectful to local communities, too. Buy local produce, respect local rules and customs, use recycling facilities where available, and make sure you leave no trace behind when spending time at the beach or going on a hike. It always helps to learn a little of the local language too, and be mindful of how you dress when entering churches and other religious buildings.
Choose Your Destination Wisely
Try to avoid destinations that suffer from overcrowding, and look for places with good sustainability credentials. This is where our little Greek islands really shine.
Tilos is particularly forward thinking in this respect, earning the moniker of the most eco-friendly island in the Mediterranean, thanks to its commitment to being powered entirely by wind and solar energy. It also has a zero-waste project and solar-powered electric car charging station, amongst other fantastic initiatives.
Not to be outdone, Halki is working towards being an eco-zone with the introduction of electric cars for the police and coast guard.
Tilos, Halki and Nisyros offer a slower pace of life and remain unspoilt by mass tourism, offering the perfect opportunity to really get away from it all. They offer fantastic walking and an abundance of wonderful wildlife to spot.
Embrace Sustainable Travel with Nissia Holidays
If you’d like to get off the beaten path and explore our beautiful unspoilt islands in 2022 – and get your hands on one of our popular Nissia Holidays tote bags – have a look at our accommodation in Halki, Tilos and Nisyros.
To book your holiday, contact Nissia Holidays on 01455 289421 or email us: email@example.com.