Making Our Summer Adventure Holidays More Sustainable


In our previous blog on sustainability and climate change we looked at commuting and it was amazing to hear all of your comments and feedback! This month we are looking at the effects of holiday travel on the environment, the different impact of each mode of transport and what we can do to contribute towards protecting the planet.

Once again, we are running a competition to win some great prizes from our partners. More info on how to take part at the end of this blog.

Holiday Traffic

Millions of us go on summer holidays each year, chasing warmer weather and adventures in new destinations. In 2017, UK residents took 72.8 million trips overseas¹ and in 2018, 43% of Brits took a holiday both in the UK and abroad².

Unsurprisingly, all of this holiday travel has a significant environmental impact. A report issued last year in Nature Climate Change found that between 2009 and 2013, tourism's annual global carbon footprint increased from 3.9bn to 4.5bn tonnes of CO₂ . This is four times more than previously estimated and accounts for about 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions³.



So what causes the biggest impact? Well, for a journey from London to Tignes, France, the CO₂ figures for different transport types are:

  • Plane = 82kg of CO₂ (per person)

  • Car = 57.25kg of CO₂ (per person)

  • Train = 14kg of CO₂ (per person)⁴

Clearly, when travelling abroad for our holidays, going by train is a better, more sustainable mode than car or plane.

Going by car or plane on holidays overseas is the more popular option however, taking up 82% of tourism transport⁵, but why is this? The popular misconception is that train travel takes much longer than flying because the actual flight time itself is only a couple of hours.

When it comes to testing this out, the travel time door-to-door can often be very similar and when you take into account the extra time and hassle at the airport, compared with the relative stress-free travel on the train, it seems like we may have our priorities the wrong way round!

Check out this video of a plane vs train race from London to Meribel:


So, what services are out there to enable us to actually plan our train travel?


holidays at home

Going on holiday at home, or staycations, have boomed in popularity over the past few years and it’s also a great way of reducing our travel and therefore reducing our holiday emissions.

When looking for summer break within our own countries, there are plenty of sustainable options on what to do and how to get there. As well as train travel mentioned above, here are a few others:


There’s something extra special about a holiday that involves only what you can carry on your back! Whether you’re leaving straight from home or from a new destination, a backpacking trip is going to be full of adventure and new experiences.

To help you plan how far you can get to in a given time, try out our latest feature - the Travel Distance layer. Set your starting point on the map and use the duration slider to view exactly how far you can go (currently available for hiking but coming soon for other activities). The layer takes into account geographical properties like slope steepness and even shows when the sunrise and sunset is!

The Travel Distance Layer in action, try it out on the  FATMAP website

The Travel Distance Layer in action, try it out on the FATMAP website



Naturally, using a mode of transport that doesn’t emit any emissions is an ideal form of sustainable travel!

  • Bikepacking – this combination of cycling, touring and camping, is gaining a fast-growing fanbase. Check out this comprehensive guide on how to get started:

  • Many countries will have dedicated websites on the different types of trails available, such as the National Cycle Network in the UK or the European Cycle Route Network.

  • E-bikes are a great way of travelling if the standard bike isn’t for you. That extra power boost can be a real advantage and with the rise in e-bike production, we are seeing better technology and cheaper prices, as well as more charging stations being created.

Cycling holiday FATMAP.jpg


If travelling by car is your preferred option, there are ways to reduce emissions:

  • Fill the car with passengers - not only does this reduce the per-person carbon footprint, but the fuel costs can also be shared! There are many groups and pages dedicated to this, such as BlaBlaCar

  • Consider hiring an electric car with a service like ECar Club

Need some inspiration on where to go? Head over to our Guidebooks page to explore our curated collections of adventures that can be refined by location and activity:

Searching for hiking  Guidebooks  around Zermatt, Switzerland

Searching for hiking Guidebooks around Zermatt, Switzerland


Carbon offsetting

Finally, as we touched on in our previous blog, carbon offsetting is something we can all do in conjunction with reducing overall travel and using less polluting options.

It’s important to look into the particular offsetting scheme as there are many out there with varying models.

One carbon offsetting option is rewilding via Mossy Earth (POW UK partner)

Mossy Earth FATMAP.jpg



We want to hear how you are travelling on your summer holidays! Are you going abroad, staying at home, heading to the beach or the mountains?

Here’s how you can enter:

  1. Check out the post on summer holiday travel on our social channels - Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn

  2. Tell us in the comments under any of those posts about the positive climate action you’re taking on your adventures this summer - be it your mode of travel, destination, choice of accommodation or anything else!

  3. Tag two of your friends

  4. Follow the Sungod and Mountain Tracks channels

  5. Only leave one comment - multiple comments across the same channel will be disqualified

  6. The competition closes on 31st July 2019 and we’ll pick our favourite answer to determine the winner

  7. One winner will be announced on 5th August 2019 across our social channels.

The winner will receive:

Sungod FATMAP POW 2.jpg
FATMAP Explore Membership Pack.jpg

We are doing regular blogs around the theme of sustainability and climate change, in association with our FATMAP Explore Partner, Protect Our Winters.

If you have any questions at all, please feel free to add them in the comments below or contact us on

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