Why campervans could hold the key to eco-friendly holidays

As concerns over the climate crisis continue to overshadow many facets of the modern world, many of us are now looking at ways in which we can better help the planet while going about our everyday lives. 

From increased focus on recycling to the energy sector’s push towards green fuel these considerations are becoming more prevalent. Another area which shows this is ecotourism.

Trying to take a break in the most planet-friendly way possible is often difficult, especially with the tourism sector’s reliance on aviation.

However, with the coronavirus pandemic leading to a surge in interest in ‘staycations’ – things are beginning to change and a 300% uptick in the campervan industry highlights how leisure vehicles could play a key role in the green future of holidaymaking.

How can campervans help?

Of course, a motorhome does not confine you to the borders of your own country and a ferry trip could have you road-tripping across Europe in no time – something that would slash your getaway’s carbon footprint compared to flying.

More modern models are generally fitted with diesel engines that meet strict criteria regarding emissions and will prevent a good number of particulates from ever reaching the air. 

The way that we behave on a campervan holiday also has an influence. Unlike caravanners, or those getting away in the car, a campervan often remains at the site during a holiday as packing it away and setting up again each day is not the most relaxing use of time!

Walking, cycling or using public transport to get from site to site is prevalent among campervanners – each coming with its benefits for the environment.

What to consider when getting a campervan

A key consideration is whether or not you will be licensed to drive your chosen campervan. If your chosen vehicle weighs up to 3,500kg then you can do so with your standard licence, if you passed your test after January 1997. However, you will need a special licence, and to take a test, if you want to get on the road in the bigger campers out there.

When on the road, bear in mind that different speed limits will apply to you!

It might be tempting to unload your house into your camper before setting off, but try a short trip before any long-distance journeys to make sure that you can keep everything secure and packed away while driving. The last thing you need is objects flying around while trying to concentrate!

Of course, accidents happen, and to make sure that you are properly protected, look into specialist insurance for campervans if this kind of holiday is the one for you.

How do other transport methods stack up?

For the purposes of this illustration we will look at a trip from London to Paris. This 284-mile trip between capital cities is a popular one among holidaymakers, whether it’s a romantic weekend getaway or part of a wider trip onto the continent. 

How much carbon would be produced by a family of four making the return trip by different modes of transport? calculates the following:

  • Return flights: 440kg CO2 for the family
  • Petrol car, plus a ferry from Dover to Calais: 173kg CO2 per car
  • Diesel car, plus a ferry from Dover to Calais: 156kg CO2 per car
  • Train: 10.6kg CO2 per passenger

Using’s calculator tool, the same trip in a campervan would emit roughly 220kg CO2. However, once pitched it is more likely that the campervan will remain in situ compared to cars, which will be driven around the local area and emit more carbon over the course of the holiday.

Clay Miller
the authorClay Miller
I am the creator/writer of and I'm an advocate for oceans, beaches, state parks. I enjoy all things outdoors (e.g. running, golf, gardening, hiking, etc.) I am a graduate of the University of Kentucky (Go Wildcats!!). I'm also a huge fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I was born and raised in the beautiful state of Kentucky.