Becoming a local tourist

Time to fly off again? Think again!

After months of being in lockdown and with travel restrictions being lifted, many of us are itching to jet off and get that holiday we’ve been dreaming of for months. However, the truth is all of our little trips add up and can potentially have a devastating impact on our planet.

While travel restrictions that were implemented across the world have been effective in reducing the number of people contacting Covid, there has been a significant spike in cases now borders have opened up again. Travel at the moment is not safe; not only does it massively increase our chances of catching and/or spreading infection, it also has the potential to impact many of our loved ones. One thing Coronavirus has taught us, is that many things are likely to never be the same again, and it’s looking like tourism is one of them. The future of travel and tourism is very likely to change for good, or at least for the foreseeable future. While this isn’t the best news, there are many ways to enjoy what we have close-by and travel locally.

As justice seekers who care about our planet, this is a great time to discover how we can make our travel sustainable. Whether it’s a short walk to the beach and a swim in the sea, or going for an extended bike ride, there is so much potential to reduce our reliance on cars and planes. Reducing our carbon footprint is also one of the simplest ways we can do our bit to help protect the climate. Plus, traveling domestically can also save money that you may otherwise spend in expensive airport bars or cafes, and time otherwise spent queuing or waiting for a delayed flight.

Local getaways

Many of us are blessed to have wonderful local sites we can visit in the UK. I have lived in Wales for over three years and I cannot recommend it enough. If you’re a mountain lover you should definitely spend a week camping out in North Wales summiting Cader Idris or Snowden. If you love the sea, you are spoilt for choice! I was lucky enough to live a short drive away from the Gower Peninsula, and was there whenever I could be. Whether you want a remote, quiet beach or you want to visit the famous Worms Head off Rhossili beach, you’re sure to find something perfect for you. If you want an adventure, the Ceredigion Coast is the place to go, being the most unexplored area in Wales, with their dramatic yet stunning cliff views you can find many a remote beach to spend the day at.

As much as I have been hyping Wales up, it is not the only place to go to in the UK. Devon and Cornwall are also known for their beautiful beaches where you can swim, surf, scuba dive, and afterwards enjoy a pint and pie at the local pub. One last place to mention is Scotland – full of beautiful cities where you can visit castles, lochs and more. There is always something magical about visiting there. While traveling locally in the UK may not be what we think of as having the ‘getaway holiday’, there are so many amazing places to see.

A sustainable itinerary

It’s also important to remember that we can continue to be sustainable as we travel, either in the UK or abroad. A simple way to do this is bringing your reusable mug. This not only reduces the need for disposable cups, but also saves you money as many cafes will give you a discount. If you love to get a takeaway while on holiday, bring your own cutlery with you to reduce your plastic waste. Finally, make sure to support local and do your shopping at the independent, ethical shops if they’re available.

I for one love a little getaway, and try to go on a small holiday when I can. After spending five months of lockdown in Wales, surrounded by many beautiful beaches, I feel my opinions on this have changed. I remember wondering to myself ‘why would anyone need to travel to Greece, if they have this close to them?’ While I understand not everyone will be as lucky as I was to live so close to a beach, travelling locally and sustainably can be positive for both us and the planet. So while no one knows when the travel industry will return to ‘normal’, I recommend getting out there and exploring what the UK has to offer anyway.

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