Can you go on a nature-orientated holiday with your children? Sustainable holidays with children are often much cheaper to organise than package holidays at large resorts. They are significantly cheaper during the high season, which is the peak season for most holiday destinations. You can not only save money by choosing environmentally friendly modes of transport and accommodation, but you can also help to protect the environment at the same time. We’ll show you how to make nature-oriented holidays a great experience.
Before families can really enjoy their holiday together, they first need to reach their holiday destination. While some children find long car journeys boring, the departure date and the journey to the holiday destination can be rather stressful for parents. It’s not always an easy task for parents to keep their children occupied during a car journey.
Compared to long car journeys and then a flight, sustainable modes of transport with children can be a lot less stressful – and it’s also more environmentally friendly. We’ll give you an insight into the advantages of travelling as a family on a coach or by train.
As a parent you can feel more at ease whilst travelling on a coach or by train. You don’t need to keep your eyes on the road, instead, you have more time to entertain your children or simply sit back and enjoy the journey.
During the journey children will be able to get up and have a walk around to stretch their legs or they can go to the toilet. If you can move around, this can help babies to calm down.
A lot of children find travelling by train exciting, especially if they have never travelled by train before. They will be fascinated by the hustle and bustle on the platform and by the conductor, who checks the tickets. They will gain a lot of new experiences and they will also enjoy looking out of the window and watching the scenery pass by.
In trains there are often special family-orientated compartments, where you can reserve a seat. These compartments are more spacious and offer amenities such as drawing tables, a wider luggage area or a shorter walk to the toilet. You can also travel with other families in this compartment.
Tip: If you’re going on holiday with more than one child, then choosing to go by car may be a suitable option. Your carbon footprint whilst travelling by car will depend on the type of car you use and the number of passengers in it. You can use the following travel calculator to help calculate your CO2 emissions for your journey: https://travelandclimate.org/
When going on a family holiday, there are a lot of things you need to take with you, for example a change of clothes, toys for the journey and food. Remembering to pack all these things can quickly add up to a large amount of luggage. When travelling as a family, you can travel more environmentally friendly by following some clever packing tips, which can help you to reduce the weight of your suitcase.
In most households you can find the following common everyday items of food such as milk, cheese, bread and eggs. Being aware of where this food comes from and how it is produced is an important learning experience for children.
(Organic) farm holidays offer an exciting and valuable experience, especially for small city dwellers. You can experience how fruit and vegetables are grown and sustainable ways of keeping animals. There are various advantages of going on a farm holiday with your children as seen below:
Cosy accommodation : a nature-oriented holiday with children does not mean that you have to save on comfort. You will be staying where all the action is happening because you usually stay in a cosy room in a guesthouse or a holiday apartment on a farm holiday.
Shorter journeys to the holiday destination: small and often family-run (organic) farms can be found in many regions. This means you do not have a long journey ahead of you. There is usually a lot to discover and see in the surrounding area or even on the farm, which means you don’t need to travel a lot to see or experience things.
Unforgettable experience: helping and observing farmers with their daily tasks such as collecting freshly laid eggs, milking the cows or goats, or even lending a hand with harvesting the crops. Farm holidays for children are a unique experience because children can get closer to nature and learn about the different animals, but they can also learn about healthy and sustainable produce.
Support your local businesses: a lot of (organic) farms have a farm shop where you can buy environmentally friendly, healthy products, which helps to support local farmers.
Make sure to look at what activities are offered in the local area and the services offered on the farm, when looking for the right farm for your family holiday. A lot of farms also offer educational activities such as foraging hikes as well as seasonal hands-on activities. They usually have tips on outdoor activities in the local area.
On nature-oriented holidays with children make sure not to forget the fun elements of the holiday because this way children can build up a positive connection to sustainable tourism from an early age. They can also learn that you can go on holiday, but still protect the environment at the same time. Exciting holiday destinations with various activities make sustainable family holidays an unforgettable experience, which can also increase the motivation to be more environmentally friendly in everyday life.
Playing and being in the middle of nature, having a barbecue around the campfire and then spending the night under the stars – for many children, a camping holiday is a pure adventure. A camping holiday can be the perfect opportunity for families to spend quality time together as they can relax and forget about the stresses of everyday life. Camping with children not only brings you together as a family, but it also helps you to concentrate on the important things in life. Below you will find some advantages of going on a camping holiday with children:
Be at one with nature: camping allows children to get an up-close insight into nature such as: exploring the forest or meadows, watching the animals or just looking at the different flowers. This will help your child to learn through first-hand experience on how to connect with nature.
Wide open space: whether you choose a campsite near a lake or a forest, your child is guaranteed to be thrilled about having so much open space to play in. Woodland campsites are usually less crowded than the typical campsites and offer a lot of space for your child to burn off some energy.
Opportunity for an adventure: when you go camping with children there are new experiences and challenges, which await them each day. They will be able to gain new experiences in pitching up a tent and spending their first night in a sleeping bag. Woodland campsites are in the heart of nature, where there are hiking and cycling tracks, which are usually not too far away. Staying at a woodland campsite means you will have a lot of different activities to choose from.
Relaxing atmosphere: on a camping holiday mud and grass stains are almost inevitable, but campsites are generally quite laid-back, which means you can just sit back and relax and enjoy your holiday. Especially children who like jumping around and just being active will enjoy the nature side of this type of holiday. This way they can learn about nature and experience it with all their senses.
You often don't need to go far for a holiday in the countryside. Holidaying in your region will help you to gain a new perspective and at the same time, you will see how beautiful the local countryside is by staying in a woodland campsite near your home. There are also many campsites, which are actively committed to protecting the climate and the environment. The European Commission has a webpage listing the certified environmentally friendly campsites across Europe, which have received the EU Ecolabel.
An eco-friendly family holiday does not necessarily mean that you cannot travel abroad or book to stay in a hotel. You could stay in a certified environmentally friendly hotel or book the whole holiday through an eco-friendly holiday tour operator, who can offer you a range of eco-friendly accommodation and environmentally friendly modes of transport.
It is not only the journey and the choice of accommodation that contributes to protecting the environment. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind during your stay so that you can help to protect the environment, but at the same time your children can get the most out of their holiday:
Try and go on holiday in an area where there isn’t a lot of light pollution. This means going somewhere where the night sky isn’t artificially lit up. Places such as nature reserves and biosphere reserves are ideal because they don’t have a lot of lights and you get a better view of the stars in the night sky. This will help you to relax and forget about any stresses of daily life. This type of holiday would help you to do a Digital Detox, as you would be able to enjoy the holiday and have a break away from smartphones, TV and the like.
Instead of visiting a zoo you could go on a walking tour or you could go on a trip and explore the local countryside. A walking tour guide will show you the special features of the flora and fauna, which will teach your child to appreciate the nature around them as forests and meadows are sensitive habitats, which are worth protecting.
Instead of visiting big theme parks or water parks you can burn off some energy with some outdoor activities. Outdoor activities like hiking, cycling, canoeing or swimming in natural lakes are not only good for your health, but they are also more environmentally friendly. However, whilst doing any outdoor activity you should always make sure to take care of surroundings and the local environment, where possible.
While on holiday, make a conscious effort to take part in social or environmental education activities, where you can learn more about the regional or local environment. Try and visit museums, nature parks or special exhibitions, which promote learning and experiencing nature.
Show your children how small actions help to make a difference and help in protecting the environment. A good example would be taking part in a clean-up event for the local countryside or on a beach. This way, you can make a 'normal' relaxing holiday or a beach holiday even more sustainable.
Going on an eco-friendly holiday does not mean that you have to miss out on the normal holiday fun. A wide range of varied and exciting activities await you on a nature-based holiday, which guarantees your children a lot of fun things to do such as: staying overnight in a tent, farm holidays, hiking in nature reserves, long cycling tours or just jumping into a lake and going swimming.By using alternative modes of transport, you can either go on holiday in your own country or to one of the neighbouring countries. You can spend your holidays either on an (organic) farm, in a holiday apartment or at a campsite. This way you can save on travel and accommodation costs so that you have more money to spend on great nature-based activities and healthy food.
(Accessed on 14.04.2022)
(Accessed on 14.04.2022)
(Accessed on 14.04.2022)
(Accessed on 14.04.2022)