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How to go green on holiday

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Whether you want to save energy at your hotel or book an environmentally friendly tour, our travel tips on how to go green on holiday will help you tread lightly and reduce your carbon footprint.

How can I plan a green holiday?

Green getaways are growing in popularity as resorts, hotels and tour operators boost their eco-credentials. Measures range from solar power to recycling. Consider taking the coach or train instead of the plane to your holiday destination. If you're planning a far-flung holiday, find out which airlines are the most ecologically sound. In Europe, the European Union Eco-label represents green awareness.

What's the greenest way to get around on holiday?

Keep fit and do your bit for the environment by walking or cycling on holiday. Minimise carbon emissions by taking public transport like local buses or trams instead of hiring a car or taking a taxi. If a car is your only option, look for eco-savvy companies offering fuel-efficient hybrids or pay-as-you-go schemes.

How can I minimise my impact?

There are lots of little ways you can limit your environmental impact. Support conservation-oriented projects like nature reserves, cut down on waste and use biodegradable shampoo and suncream. Holiday souvenirs made from things like coral, ivory, tropical hardwood and animal fur are unsustainable and often illegal.

Where should I eat and shop?

Think global, act local is the key to how to go green on holiday. Champagne and foie gras might taste great in Barbados but consider the carbon miles from field to plate. Shop at farmers' markets and eat local food prepared with seasonal, organic produce - it's not only tastier and cheaper but also better for the environment. Buy locally made gifts from workshops and speciality shops.

How can I recycle and eliminate waste?

Cut down on packaging from the outset and, where possible, reuse plastic bottles. Avoid single-use items like disposable cameras, nappies and razors, paper towels and polystyrene cups. Such throwaway items may seem handy for travelling light but they put pressure on the environment. Find out if your vacation hotel separates and recycles waste.

What about conserving water and energy?

Simple measures like switching off lights, air-conditioning and heating when you leave your hotel room will help save energy. Hang your towels up to dry and reuse them rather than having them changed daily. Water is a precious resource, particularly in dry countries, so limit your showers and keep them short.

Which activities damage the environment?

Adventure sports like jet-skiing, heliskiing and go-karting hit the environment harder than gentle activities like walking, pony trekking and cycling. Some ski resorts are now taking steps to counteract the effects of erosion. If you go hiking, remember to stick to waymarked trails and carry all rubbish home so as not to disrupt fragile ecosystems.

How about eco-friendly tours?

Do some research about eco-friendly tour operators before parting with your money. There are many sustainable alternatives to traditional tours including conservation-focused safaris in Kenya and low-impact tours of the Amazon.

Is it okay to take photos of wildlife?

Yes, as long as you respect behaviours, ecosystems and distances - move too close and you'll unnerve wildlife and possibly risk your own safety. Wearing clothes that blend into the background, keeping still and quiet, and investing in a zoom lens will help you get the best shots.

What is carbon offsetting?

One way to reduce your carbon footprint is by carbon offsetting your flight or holiday. You buy carbon offsets representing how much carbon your journey will release into the atmosphere; the money is put back into eco-friendly projects like windfarms and tree planting schemes. A number of companies and airlines offer travellers this option.

Here are some eco-friendly hotels you may want to consider in your next trip:

Art Hotel Batignolles – Paris
Completely refurbished and 100% non-smoking, this eco-friendly hotel in Paris is located next to Montmartre at only 15 minutes by metro from the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs Elysées Boulevard. Enjoy a rich buffet breakfast in their Parisian vaulted breakfast room where guests can partake of local and traditional breakfast fare. This environmentally friendly boutique hotel in Paris also provides wireless and high speed Internet access making it a good hotel to book for business travel in Paris.

Neervana Haven – Fairhaven
Neervana Haven is an eco-friendly 4-star holiday apartment near Melbourne, an ideal holiday accommodation for those vacationing close to the biggest city of Victoria, Australia. This exclusive holiday apartment is located in the village of Fairhaven where you can enjoy nature and bird watching as well as relax for seaside holidays. As an eco-friendly accommodation near Melbourne, one of their green measures can be enjoyed by taking a dip in their wave infinity pool heated with solar energy.

Orchid – An Ecotel Hotel – Mumbai
The Orchid – An Ecotel Hotel is Asia’s first certified eco-friendly hotel and the world’s first ecotel to be certified as ISO 14001. A 4.5 star hotel property, it is conveniently located near the airport in Mumbai offering hotel amenities such as a restaurant, bar/lounge, coffee shop, outdoor pool, fitness facilities, business centres and meeting rooms. This airport hotel in Mumbai has 245 guestrooms equipped with cable televisions, minibar with refrigerator and coffee/tea makers and in-room safes.