Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do here at Habitat Escapes. Our eco-friendly estates were founded on the principle of holiday homes that work in harmony with Mother Nature and the result is luxury lakeside holidays with a conscience.
Our hope has always been to create a place where having a more sustainable holiday comes naturally. With that in mind, here are some of our favourite ways to do your bit to protect the planet, even when you’re away from home.
Opt for a staycation
The environmental benefits of choosing a staycation over a foreign trip are huge; plane travel has been shown to account for 2% of all man-made carbon dioxide emissions, making it one of the biggest contributors to global warming.
We don’t have to shun our long-haul escapes entirely, but balancing them with more local stays can help lower the carbon costs considerably. You just might find that holidays are much more fun without airport queues and jet lag, too!
Staycations also tend to see us use public transport more than we do in unfamiliar countries. Both of our eco-friendly estates, Lower Mill and Silverlake, are just a few minutes from local train stations. With bike rental, mile upon mile of walking trails and even watersports equipment for hire, you can get out and about in the great outdoors without giving the car a second thought.
Cut back on plastic
Holidays tend to mean more picnics and coffees to go, but there are some really simple ways to make sure that doesn’t mean more single use plastic. Even the most simple tweak like carrying a reusable cup can make all the difference.
If you’re planning a picnic, take any litter back to your holiday home with you and make use of the onsite recycling at the Estate rather than using general bins while you’re out and about. Better still, bring your own cloth napkins and reusable cutlery for ultimate eco kudos.
Never before have we all been so keen to know where the food on our plate is from. Choosing restaurants that put a focus on ethical farming is a great way to do your bit for the environment while on holiday. Local, seasonal food has a much smaller transport footprint, having come from a handful of miles away as opposed to hundreds. Ballihoo is our very own ‘field-to-fork’ restaurant, where produce from our allotment meets other locally-sourced ingredients in delicious dishes for guests of our Lower Mill Estate.
Another eco-friendly holiday tip is to think about meal planning before shopping for your stay. The British Heart Foundation estimates that Brits throw away an incredible 7 million tons of food and drink every year; making a loose plan will help cut waste right down.
Leave nothing but footprints
At Habitat Escapes we put nature at the heart of holidays and our homes are nestled in hundreds of acres of green space. We’re passionate about protecting it and there are plenty of ways to help make sure it stays there for generations to come. Stick to marked paths to protect delicate flora and fauna, and if you have your four-legged friend with you, please keep them on a short lead.
Avoid feeding wild animals in grazing areas, and try to leave shells and driftwood on the beach where it belongs; it might make a pretty decoration at home, but at the coast, it contributes to an important ecosystem.
Choose an eco-friendly sunscreen
Our oceans are sensitive and they’re going through a lot, so it’s important to lessen any further damage. You’ll need sunscreen even if you’re staying in the UK and a non-toxic version will be as kind to your skin as it is to the planet.
Pack and travel light
Transport is the biggest contributor to your personal carbon footprint, so when it comes to having a more sustainable holiday it pays to rethink how you might reach your destination. If you’re travelling as a group, could you minimise the number of cars taken? Better still, could you travel by train?
Even if the logistics of taking the train instead of driving don’t quite work out this time, you can still do your bit by choosing to bicycle or walk wherever possible once you’re there. Don’t forget public transport too; embrace the joy of slower travel and somebody else doing the driving.
When it comes to packing, think minimal. There’s a beauty to travelling with a capsule wardrobe and choosing to stick to the essentials means less weight in your case. Less weight in your case means less fuel required to get it wherever you are going.
We’ve all been tempted to splash the cash on a case full of new ‘holiday clothes’ as we count down to our time away and want to feel our best, but it’s worth shopping your own wardrobe before hitting the rails in-store. If you do need new bits, try to source pieces that have been produced ethically and think quality over quantity. Remember the old adage of ‘buy well, wear forever’.
Choose sustainably minded travel companies
In considering how to have a more sustainable holiday, it pays to choose a travel company that shares your ethos and puts its own heart and soul into protecting the environment too.
Our parent company, Habitat First Group, has pledged to become a carbon-neutral business by 2030 and we’re constantly working towards meeting that goal already. Our first two sites – Lower Mill Estate in the Cotswolds and Silverlake in Dorset – were each awarded excellent status for their green infrastructure, thanks to a carbon-neutral build approach and features including air-sourced heat pumps and solar panels.
Earlier this year, we also introduced Climate Positive Booking. Created in partnership with sustainability organisation Play it Green, the scheme gives you the option to offset the carbon footprint of your trip by donating £3 when you book. Every £3 will plant six new trees and see thirty pence regifted to local environmental charities close to the Estate at which you are staying. It’s a great way to do good before your holiday has even begun.