During your campervan holiday in Scotland, why not consider being an eco-tourist? Eco tourism is a way to travel responsibly, whilst conserving Scotland’s beautiful landscapes, untouched nature, and the environment of the local people. There are plenty of simple changes that you can incorporate into your holiday, as well as enjoying some of the best eco-friendly tourism activities, to support Scotland’s local communities, preserve our landscapes and do your bit to help the environment.
Scotland is full of beautiful nature spots, from lochs and waterfalls, to towering mountains and so much more. It’s a cultural hub, rich in heritage, history and plenty of castles to explore too. Visiting Scotland is a bucket list trip for many travellers who are keen to cherish our bonnie isle.
There are plenty of simple steps that you can take to help combat over-tourism. Discover the actions and considerations you can take to help support and protect Scotland’s landscapes, cultural landmarks and communities, while still getting the most out of your holiday.
SPEND MORE TIME IN ONE DESTINATION
Many first-time visitors make the mistake of trying to cram absolutely everything there is to see and do in Scotland into their entire trip. This is not only impossible but has the unintended effect of creating overcrowding in many of our most famous and beloved spots, especially in Edinburgh where many visitors spend just a couple of days. Unfortunately, this can not only make for an unpleasant visitor experience, but also undermine the quality of life for residents by placing undue stress on public transport and infrastructure.
By staying in the same place that little bit longer, you’ll not only help to greatly reduce the pressure on the country’s most famous attractions and destinations, but will allow yourself the time to explore at your own leisure, once the crowds and tour groups of the peak visitor hours have subsided. Savour the freedom of being able to see and do so much more during your visit, and take things at a more relaxed, enjoyable pace.
REDUCE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT
Whether you’re thinking about visiting Scotland from within the UK or overseas, take the time to consider what is the most sustainable and eco-friendly mode of travel to take, to pick up your campervan to start your holiday.
If travelling with friends and family, it may make more sense to drive, to the collection point to pick up your campervan or motorhome hire vehicle, especially if the car is full. If travelling solo, it may actually be greener to take the train or other public transport. Counting sheep campers offer a free collection service from their local train station.
Taking the time to evaluate your choice of stay is one of the best ways to show consideration to both your destination and the people who live there.
Look for accommodation providers which have been awarded accreditation with a high standard of green credentials.
There are a wide range of wonderful eco-friendly campsites to stay at in Scotland
USE PUBLIC TRANSPORT
Once you arrive at your destination, by campervan why not try to travel around as much as possible by foot or bike or by the public transport network to visit city centres where parking can be tricky and avoid traffic congestion.
GET OFF THE BEATEN (TOURIST) TRACK WITH A LOCAL GUIDE
There is so much more to see and do in Scotland than what you can see on Instagram. Book a private or small-group tour with a local guide and reap the rewards of their insider knowledge. From a food tour of Glasgow’s culinary gems, a guided hike through the Cairngorms, discover sights, tastes and once-in-a-lifetime experiences you might not have had on your own.
What’s more, any reputable tour operator or independent guide will allow you to experience a more authentic side of Scotland while supporting local businesses, shops, restaurants, distilleries and more along the way.
VISIT DURING OFF-PEAK SEASONS
Visiting Scotland during its off-peak or ‘shoulder’ seasons is highly recommended – and not just for your bank balance. If you have ever dreamed of visiting Edinburgh, the Isle of Skye or the Highlands, autumn, winter and spring are great times to do so. Staying on campsites can be cheaper, flights cost considerably less; while roads are far quieter and crowds small to non-existent. The weather may be cold, but the welcome you receive will still be warm.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
The more time you spend on VisitScotland.com, the better an understanding you’ll have of the places you want to visit on your itinerary and how much time to spend at each. In short, learning as much as you can about an attraction or destination in advance will allow you to spend your time more wisely, and make your visit much more rewarding.
Be sure to plan your route ahead of time, help reduce travel congestion on roads by exploring as much as you can on foot. After all, it’s by far the best way to explore!
When camping or pulling over at a lay-by to take some pictures or lingering at a well-known beauty spot, always adhere to the simple rule: ‘leave no trace’. Sadly, even in the most remote areas of Scotland, it’s not unheard of to find bags of rubbish dumped at roadsides, bothies and beaches.
Visitors can also damage environments unknowingly through other kinds of behaviour, namely through ‘love locks’ fastened to bridges, and the social media-fuelled trend of #StoneStacking. Both are acts which cause erosion and damage to ecosystems and man-made structures. Set an example by refraining from these forms of vandalism which litter cities, UNESCO designated sites, and other beautiful places in Scotland.
Whether wild camping or visiting the Fairy Pools on Skye, educate yourself on how to respectfully and safely visit these natural spaces by reading the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.
Local social enterprises are a great way you can explore a city while also helping fund businesses which channel their profits into enhancing the well-being of their local communities. Gain a unique insight into the daily life of locals and how they are working together to meet the social, economic and environmental challenges facing their communities. Guides and representatives are also usually eager to provide useful insider tips and recommendations for places to see, shop and dine during the rest of your trip.
One such organisation is Invisible Cities which offers completely unique tours of Edinburgh and Glasgow led by guides who have previously experienced homelessness.
You can also download the Geotourist and Invisible Cities new audio tour of Edinburgh which helps visitors to support altruistic businesses and initiatives across the city.
Tip:Re-Union Canal Boats are a social enterprise based in Edinburgh run by volunteers. Float down the Union Canal aboard the Lochrin Belle or Jaggy Thistle and enjoy afternoon tea or a gin tasting session and help support the regeneration of this historic waterway.
Voluntourism is a great way to help off-set your carbon footprint and make a positive difference to the Scottish environment.
The National Trust for Scotland offers dozens of volunteering holidays all over Scotland with its Thistle and Trailblazer Camp working holiday programme which provides conservation holidays where volunteers can get involved with everything from archaeological digs to surveying wildlife. You can even help restore what remains of the ancient Caledonian forest with Trees for Life, an organisation which undertakes tree planting and other essential conservation work.
There are so many ways to enjoy eco-tourism in Scotland; from booking with local eco-friendly tourism companies, to doing in-depth research into your accommodation options. Eco-tourism truly is the best way to enjoy Scottish nature and cultural heritage.
Book a green campervan hire today
Counting sheep Campers have wide a range of campervans and motorhomes to hire in Scotland and are conveniently located at the gateway to Scotland. Just a short drive from Edinburgh or Newcastle. If you wish to leave your car with us, no problem we offer free on site secure parking. We also offer a free local Train station Meet & Greet service, if you wish to travel to us by public transport. We are in the perfect location to start your holiday, exploring Scotland or Northern Britain.