expat network

Take The Climate Guilt Out Of Your Holiday With Our Top Travel Tips

top travel tips


The pandemic scuppered international travel for many of us, and understandably the nation is looking forward to getting away for a change of scenery. However, with the climate crisis a growing consideration for everyone, even when we’re away, OLIO’s co-founder Tessa Clarke shares her top travel tips for holidaying as sustainably as possible.



  1. When you’re choosing your holiday, consider where you’re going to travel to and how you’ll get there. The average carbon footprint in the UK is over 10 tonnes per person per year, and we need to get this down to 2.5 tonnes by 2030 for global heating to remain within 1.5 degrees. Unfortunately, one of the most carbon intensive things we can do is hop on a plane. A return flight to Rome is 1/4 tonne, to New York is 1 tonne and to Perth is 3 tonnes. This is in contrast to going vegan for a year which saves 0.8 tonnes. So that flight you’re thinking of taking… why not check out a train or ferry instead?
  2. Suncream is a must-have for all of us. Consider buying coral-friendly suncream before you go so that the harmful chemicals do not bleach the sea’s precious reef builders! There are many more eco-friendly brands than there used to be, including high street favourites.
  3. Before you go, make sure that you share any food you have in the house that you won’t be able to use. If you can’t give it to a family member or a neighbour, consider sharing it on the OLIO app, which is easy to use and the majority of food listings are requested in less than half an hour. Ensuring that food gets eaten instead of binned before your holiday is an easy way to cut your own carbon footprint. The same goes for when you leave your holiday to return home. If you have a self-catering apartment or AirBnB – you can share any leftover food like olive oil, jams, cheese or fresh fruit on the OLIO app to be collected anywhere in the world!
  4. Take reusable water bottles with you! Most countries in the EU have safe drinking water, so you can fill up in your apartment or hotel which is better for the environment and your pocket. If the country you’re travelling to doesn’t have fresh drinking water, it’s still better to take a reusable bottle, and fill up from a larger one each day rather than buying multiple small bottles of water. It’s estimated that around 8m metric tonnes of plastic ends up in the sea, and it takes 450 years for every plastic bottle to decompose – let’s not be part of the problem. I really recommend the Grayl water bottle which filters pretty much everything from any fresh water source, and I estimate it’s saved at least 500 plastic bottles since I bought it.
  5. Don’t be tempted to buy everything you need for your holiday brand-new. As the saying goes, the most climate-friendly fashion is the outfit you already have in your wardrobe. The same goes for buckets and spades, towels and everything else you might need. If there are some items you want but don’t have – like inflatables for the kids or camping equipment, consider trying to source them second hand or borrow them from a library of things or the OLIO app.