Even with the balmy weather we've been enjoying, studies tell us that 73 per cent of Brits plan on taking a holiday abroad in 2013, up from 66 per cent last year. And, who can blame them? Consistent sunshine, soaking up the culture and savouring local delicacies are something we should all enjoy after another difficult year. Before hopping on a plane though, it's worth considering the environmental impact of our choices and what easy steps can be taken to offset carbon created by travelling.
It may not be the most glamorous of subjects, but making green choices this holiday season is high on the agenda for many of us and certainly makes that first piña colada even more enjoyable.
With that in mind, I've gathered some eco-insight and tips to make 2013's trip the most sustainable yet!
Getting to the airport - Over the last few years, airports up and down the country have invested heavily in infrastructure so that public transport is a more viable option. Consider the differences in cost and carbon by choosing the bus or train to travel to the airport over the family saloon; in some instances, depending on its efficiency and how many people are loaded into it, the car might be the greenest choice!
Choosing the right airport - Airports too are dedicated to cutting emissions and if you have a choice of airports within the vicinity all offering similar fares, choose the one that is greener than the other. All green details should be listed on their website. At the end of 2012 the centrally located East Midlands airport was named the greenest airport in the UK, thanks to its carbon neutral commitment which saw the installation of two wind turbines (producing 5 per cent of the site's energy and saving 300 tonnes of CO2 a year), ground pump heaters and water recycling facilities.
Who to fly with - According to eco directory Greenopia, Air France is the greenest airline in Europe. Lufthansa, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic followed shortly after thanks to their fuel conservation practices, progress on alternative fuel types and recycling programmes.
Where to stay - With plans to 'unplug' itself from fossil fuels by 2050, Iceland is one of the most sustainable countries in the world and the beautiful city of Reykjavik has been cited as one of the greenest. Other green places topping the eco-friendly charts include: Vancouver, Canada; Curitiba, Brazil and for somewhere a bit closer to home, Barcelona, Spain and apparently the whole of France!
Live like a local - Hiring a car when holidaying overseas can be an expensive hassle and often utilising local bus services, trains and tubes are not only cheaper but allow you to get a better feeling of the place. Obviously they're better for the environment too and don't involve laborious map reading and trying to negotiate directions from a native who can't speak English!
Wherever you decide to go this summer and even if you choose to stay in the UK, going green doesn't need to be difficult or complicated and certainly shouldn't be to the detriment of your trip. Bon voyage!
Follow Douglas Stewart on Twitter: www.twitter.com/green_energy_uk