With the trans-Tasman bubble between Australia and New Zealand set to open later this month, we’re simultaneously grabbing our diaries to find some time for a real-life, overseas holiday. After a year of isolation and restrictions in 2020, the thought of getting on a plane across an ocean is pretty damn exciting.
While we plan our next trip, whether it be overseas, interstate or regional, it’s important to keep in mind the impact COVID-19 has had on us and our environment. Some industries have suffered, others have thrived and our internal dialogue and research into things has been deeper than ever before.
Taking this into account, we’ve put together some non-negotiables for holidaying more mindfully in 2021. Better for you, better for the environment, this is how we’re planning to rewrite the weekend away from now on.
1. Stay in eco-friendly accommodation
At least one bright side to lockdown measures was the positive effect on the environment. With fewer people driving on the roads and making the most of their local environments, there has been less pollution both in the air and on the ground.
Additionally, a new focus was placed on buying small and supporting local businesses, when perhaps we weren’t always doing so before. Through lockdowns, we learnt to live with less, go back to basics, appreciate the smaller things and educate ourselves on current crises in our environment. Coming out the other side, sustainable living is on the rise, becoming more accessible and less intimidating.
One easy way to implement sustainability into your lifestyle choices, is to stay in eco-accommodation. Type ‘eco-villa’ and the name of where you’d like to go into Google, and you’d be surprised just how many places are operating with zero-waste and reusable energy. See here for our favourite eco-villas in Australia.
Not only does staying in eco-accommodation provide a guilt-free stay, where the luxuries are not at the expense of the environment, but they’re almost always aesthetically beautiful, set in luscious greenery and everyone knows that plants are good for our mental health.
2. Take the time to actually do nothing
Last year taught us that doing nothing is really good for our mind and body. Being so excited to get back out and travel, it’s easy to be attracted to overbooking ourselves but it’s important to slow down and appreciate our surroundings.
Try not to stack up your itinerary with bucket-list must-do items, otherwise you’ll likely return from your trip feeling burnt-out and unmotivated to go back to work. Make sure you allow a few hours each day to go for a walk, have an afternoon nap, utilise some of the luxury offerings at your eco-accommodation, or read that book you brought along ‘just in case’. Take some time to be quiet with yourself.
3. Support local tourism
Local tourism needs us right now in the absence of international tourists. As one of the industries hit the hardest last year and will most likely take a while to rebuild, supporting local tourism is a total must. With many of our holiday opportunities being within Australia in the next year, it’s the perfect chance to look outside the box at what local tourism offers at your destination. Plus, there are some incredible incentives such as Queensland’s travel vouchers and Qantas’s Mystery Flights to help get us started.
Regional Australia may surprise you with its vast offerings to enjoy the region’s rich culture and history in new and adventurous ways. For example, did you know that you can ride horses through Australia’s Alpine region?
Local tourism is affordable, boutique, and may take you out of your comfort zone to teach you more about this beautiful country we call home. The way we see it, everyone’s a winner, baby.