The pandemic has changed how we think about travel. And not in the way you might think. While changing public health guidelines, quarantining requirements and travel bans have affected travel trends the pandemic also brought other issues to light.
Many tourists, some for the first time, are now very likely to consider the environment when planning the next big trip. In a recent survey, 61% of travelers said that the pandemic has made them want to travel more sustainably. With the health of the planet on more minds these days, the travel industry is responding. We’re seeing more eco-travel options and sustainability-focused programming from businesses around the world.
So dust off your luggage, and let’s take a look at the biggest upcoming sustainable travel trends for 2022.
If you knew exactly how many carbon dioxide emissions your next trip would produce, would that change your plans?
Carbon labeling is the process of stating the carbon dioxide emissions involved with a particular product. They can be applied to an experience like a spa stay or the creation of an object like single-use cutlery.
Carbon labels, more common in manufactured or farmed products, broke out in the travel industry in 2021.
To continue to appeal to eco-minded travelers, we can expect to see more businesses using carbon labeling in the coming year.
Travel Less Often but for Longer
A recent survey of 1,000 U.K. citizens indicated that 33% of respondents have already booked trips for two weeks or longer. Longer trips with fewer destinations mean fewer plane take-offs and landings. These are two of the biggest sources of emissions on many trips. Spending more time in a destination gives you a chance to truly experience a place. In the wake of the pandemic, many have felt the importance of slowing down and savoring the moment.
When booking your next stay, consider choosing a location that has lots to offer to minimize the need for travel between destinations.
The LJS Raxtó or Cap Rocat, both in Mallorca this kind of vacation gem. They both offer historic architecture for the culture buff in your group, have extensive grounds to explore, and are amid a nature reserve.
Travel Trends Involving Fewer Flights
We can expect fewer flights in 2022 for a number of reasons. Certainly, COVID-19 has made some wary of spending lots of time in a plane. But for others, reducing emissions also plays a role. An airplane flight emits six times more carbon dioxide than a train trip. We know that avoiding flights can make a significant difference in the greenness of our trip, but doing so can be challenging.
There is reason to hope though. We are seeing movements around the world to lobby for the use of less carbon-intensive means of travel. In many places, the aviation industry is under-taxed and underpriced. Groups like the International Council on Clean Transportation and the Campaign for Better Transport in the U.K. are fighting for policies to make aviation costs reflect air travel’s environmental impact.
For your next trip, consider what transportation options you’ll use. Explore options like the Coco-Mat Athens BC in Greece where you can see the city using the hotel’s wooden signature bikes.
More Stays Closer to Nature and Culture
The pandemic kept many of us indoors more than we would have liked. In 2022 we can expect to see people around the world reconnecting with nature and losing themselves in local culture when travelling. Glamping options are also on the rise. These provide travelers with an opportunity to stay comfortably in non-urban environments.
Travel companies are responding to our desire to connect and explore. We are seeing more hotels partnering with local guides and nearby parks to offer authentic experiences to visitors. Expect to see an increase in the number of local experiences – from art classes to ghost tours to local trail walks – offered on booking services.
If you are looking to get closer to nature and culture on your next trip, consider a location like the Six Senses Douro Valley in Portugal. This beautiful hotel is located in a UNESCO World Heritage site with incredible views of verdant valleys and the Douro River.
Offsets Are Here to Stay
Love them or hate them, carbon offsets are here to stay.
Many eco-conscious travelers are familiar with the guilt of planning their next trip. We’re ready to explore far-away forests, cities and seas, but the stress of considering our carbon footprint weighs heavy on our shoulders. Offsets are presented as an option to help mitigate both the guilt and the carbon produced by our actions. By investing in green projects that remove carbon the considerate traveler can cancel out the carbon produced by their flight.
Offsets are controversial. Many question the morals behind spending money to ‘make up’ for our environmentally costly choices. Not to mention, there are dodgy for-profit companies that offer offset projects but don’t have a standard certification that demonstrates their impact.
But there are many legit offset programs out there as well. Organizations like the Green-E, a North American group that oversees a certification program, can help you find worthy projects if you are considering purchasing offsets for your next trip.
Sustainability and Your Next Trip
As more people consider the planet when trip planning, those of us who have been eco-conscious all along are going to benefit as well. In addition to the travel trends identified above, 2022 will no doubt bring more eco-friendly options across the travel industry, from transport to stays to excursions.
As you think about where to stay on your next Europe trip, we encourage you to check out our hotel listings. Each of these hotels is handpicked, and our partners put sustainability and quality at the forefront of their actions.
Did we spark your wanderlust? Get planning, and get in touch if you have any questions about eco-travel or one of our hotels.