Travel is a force for good: It can open our hearts and expand our minds, give us a broader understanding of the world, inspire us to change stale habits -and that’s not to mention provide us with amazing Instagram content!
Tourism, however, can also do a number on Mother Earth. And though we cannot control the carbon emissions of the planes we fly in; or the plastics used in the souvenirs sold in our destinations of choice; there’s a number of things we can do to minimize the environmental impact of our travel. Bottom line is that going green with smart, simple choices leaves us with more positive impressions of the places we visit and allows us to have more meaningful experiences along the way.
Going green while on holiday is pretty easy. Here’s how to make travel better for everyone:
Choose an authentic destination
An amalgam of pristine, exotic beaches, rugged coastlines, steep gorges and ravines, snow-capped mountain peaks, vibrant historic towns, ancient monuments, Ottoman and Venetian remains, Byzantine monasteries, and quaint, sleepy villages- Crete is the opposite of your typical Disneyland-like resort.
Boasting a striking, diversified scenery, year-round sunny weather and a wealth of infrastructures that make life easier, Greece’s largest island invites you to venture out and explore, preferably off the beaten path. After all, going green is all about getting immersed in the local culture and cadences, and in Crete, this is what you’ll most certainly enjoy.
Choose a green hotel
Just 9 klm from the iconic old town of Chania, the stunning seaside Agia Marina-Platanias -a long, sandy strip with blue flag awarded waters, overlooking Thodorou island, home of the protected Kri-Kri species– is one of those places that get under your skin. This is the abode of the Oscar Suites & Village; A locally owned, locally staffed eco-hotel that has been going green since its comprehensive renovation in 2013.
For its sustainable practices, the Oscar Suites & Village has gained a host of world-class environmental distinctions and certifications, including the ISO 14001:2015, in effect since 2016.
Going green in practice. Not just Greenwashing
Yet going green at the Oscar Suites & Village isn’t just about earning another grass colored sticker to put in the lobby window. Rather it means that this family-style, family-run hotel abounds with energy-efficient technology and eco-friendly materials; while in most cases hires staff locally to give back to the community and enhance the local economy.
Throughout the premises, solar energy is used for electricity and hot water. Composting and water conservation systems are moreover in place; whilst waste recycling is unfalteringly practiced.
Oscar’s Suites & Village buildings have been constructed from local natural materials; whilst they are surrounded by colorful gardens with luscious trees and plants: Beautiful to look at but perhaps most importantly thoughtfully providing, all-natural protection from the heat and the scorching sun.
Eat locally sourced food
Support the region’s farmers, get a more authentic taste of the local cuisine and cut your carbon footprint even more. Packed with goodness the Oscar Suites & Village bio breakfast, made with select, locally sourced ingredients is a great start to the day. You’ll also sample traditional Cretan delicacies at the special Greek Breakfast Corner featuring seasonal, local treats, certified by the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels.
If you are staying at one of the Oscar Suites & Village luxurious self-catering units, make sure to include at least one local ingredient in every meal; or even better experiment with authentic Cretan recipes. Just ask it nicely from the family chef!
On the other hand, if culinary adventures are not your thing, Valentino pasta & grill is right on your doorstep; and its renowned chef ready to dazzle you with homemade specialties or Italian inspired pasta, invariably prepared with the freshest regional materials.
Use public transport, bike or walk
Apart from doing good for the planet, this is a great way to meet locals and experience their lifestyle in a slower, more detailed way. Τake a walking tour or view the countryside by bike; swim across the 2km length of Agia Marina-Platanias beach, visit the hilly village of Agia Marina on foot. At the end of your action-packed day, you’ll have an eco-friendly, superbly comfortable Coco-Mat pillow and mattress waiting for you back at your studio, apartment or suite at the Oscar Suites & Village.
And while you’re inside the hotel’s thoughtfully designed, snug premises, how about drawing inspiration from their green ethos? Keep showers short, and shut off the water while brushing your teeth. Turn off the TV, lights, and heat or air-conditioning whenever you leave the room. Consider even reusing sheets and towels instead of having them changed every day. All this might seem insignificant on an individual level, but if practiced collectively it does make a difference!