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HostelBookers, the budget accommodation specialist, is supporting WWF's Earth Hour, the world's largest campaign for action to protect the planet.

On 31 March 2012 at 8.30pm the global skyline will be plunged into darkness as hundreds of millions of people, landmarks and businesses across the world switch off their lights for a world with a brighter future.

WWF's Earth Hour is a simple idea that's become a global phenomenon, spanning a record 135 countries in 2011. It's a symbolic action to show we all care about protecting the environment and reducing our impact on it.

David Smith, COO at HostelBookers, says; 'We understand that business has a key role to play in protecting our brilliant planet and so in support of this year's event HostelBookers properties will promote Earth Hour 2012 worldwide in different ways.’


Many of HostelBookers eco accommodation are running special events or initiatives:

Mosaic House located in Prague will turn off lights for an hour. It will gather 330 guests to unite in the candle-lit theatre bar, offering candle lit tours to the grey water recycle unit with heat.

St Christopher's at the Mosaic House is an eco-pioneer in the industry. It is the first in the Czech Republic to use 100% renewable-source electricity, 100% biogas, water recycling system with heat recuperation, and a fully electric car. It also boasts solar panels on the roof, electric shutters, smart temperature control and energy-efficient lighting.’

In the heart of Yerevan, Armenia, Envoy Hostel is a European Standard Hostel designed by travellers for travellers. The property will organise games by candlelight at night, where guests will play different board games.


In Port Douglas, Australia Port O’Call Eco Lodge is a resort style accommodation at a budget price, just a few minutes’ walk to the beautiful Four Mile Beach and to the Marina and Port Douglas Village. Rated green star environmentally friendly, Port O'Call is ecologically sustainable with solar heating, water and lighting efficiency.

To support Earth Hour the property will be turning off all air conditioning for an hour. All the external lighting is run off batteries supplied by solar cell power and all hot water on that day will be supplied by solar hot water and the Bistro will be lit by just candles.

Hundreds of other businesses and landmarks have already signed up for WWF's Earth Hour 2012 and getting involved as a company is easy - simply sign up online and switch off your building's non-essential lights on the night.

Colin Butfield, Head of Campaigns WWF-UK says; 'WWF's Earth Hour it not about saving an hour's electricity. It's something much bigger. It's about people coming together to put the focus on this brilliant world we all share - and how we need to protect it. Not just for an hour a year, but every day.’ You can find out what's happening across the country and get involved by visiting wwf.org.uk/earthhour
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Green Travel. Four Ideas for More Eco-Friendly Journeys

Travelling is one of the most exciting ways to discover more about the world and meet new people, but the modern way of doing it – all cheap flights and package tours – is a huge sap on the world’s resources. Rather than giving up travelling altogether, there are plenty of things you can do to minimise the impact of your trips. Our guest travel expert, Isabel Clift from AnyTrip.com, shares her four environmentally-friendly tips which will help to reduce your carbon footprint while on the road…

1) Stay close to home


(Image: British residents needn’t venture far to visit eco-friendly Milden Hall in Suffolk, England. Credit)

Sometimes we forget that going on holiday is as much a change in state of mind, pace and priorities as it is a change in place. Jetting off to an exotic locale doesn’t have to be the only way to get away from it all - explore the holiday options on your own turf and you’re sure to find all manner of great breaks. Going on holiday close to home lightens your trip’s carbon footprint considerably, as you’re responsible for less fuel used for transportation.



2) Pack green




(Image: Packing a canvas bag can save wasting plastic bags and littering the environment. Credit)

Think about what to pack and you’ll make your trip far more efficient. Bring a re-usable canvas bag for carrying your shopping rather than picking up extra plastic bags, and a refillable water pouch so you’re not constantly buying plastic bottles. You can also bring toiletries from in their own refillable plastic containers, rather than buying extra mini travel toiletries.



3) Avoid planes (if you can!)


(Image: Rail Travel is far more eco-friendly than flying.Credit)

Commercial flights use up huge amounts of fuel during take-off and landing. For short-haul journeys, train or coach travel to your final destination is far more fuel-efficient. If you’re going long-haul, flying can be nearly unavoidable – try to take non-stop flights without connections. More take-offs and landings mean more emissions added to your carbon footprint.



4) Choose an eco hotel


(Image: If you do go abroad, consider staying in an environmentally-conscious hotel. Credit)

Your hotel can do plenty of things to make itself more environmentally-friendly. Do your research and you can find yourself a more responsibly-minded place to stay, whether you’re off to the Costa Rican rainforest or the wilds of New York City. Look for hotels that have applied eco principals to every area of their operation – this includes recycling waste, fitting low-flow systems to taps, going on a green energy tariff and showing social responsibility by employing local staff, working with local businesses and supporting chosen charities.


Ready to travel greener? See more eco travel tips here.

About our guest author: Isabel Clift is a travel writer and blogger for AnyTrip.com, a travel company based in the UK. She lives in London, loves vintage fairs and organic food, and tries her best to balance a love for travel with an eco-conscience!


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HostelBookers Eco Hotels

September 16th 2010 07:28
As the old saying goes, the truth hurts. Keeping this in mind, it’s hard to pretend that holidaying is an eco-friendly activity – especially considering air travel is one of the biggest carbon offenders of modern life.

On the flip side, with recognition of a problem comes a progression to change. Enter the ecotourism movement and, with it, a new age of responsible travelling helmed by the appearance of numerous ‘environmentally friendly’ accommodations popping up across the globe. From Ecuador to Italy, here are a few that are making their mark…

Cerro Chato Eco Lodge (Costa Rica):
Located right at the base of the Arenal Volcano, Cerro Chato is a perfect home base for explorations of the great outdoors. In fact, owner Miguel Zamora actively encourages guests to promote positive tourism by hiring local guides, buying local handicrafts and patronising neighbourhood restaurants. Taking it a step further, the lodge collaborates with conservation and government agencies finding ways to improve Costa Rica’s environmental programs.

San Jorge Eco-Lodge and Botanical Reserve (Quito): Far from just a place to sleep, San Jorge takes ‘exotic’ to a new level, being situated amongst 200 acres of native flora and fauna. In an attempt to protect habitats of local species, the 28th century Spanish hosteria also owns four private natural reserves known as The Magic Birding and Hiking Circuit.

Hi Hostel Piero Rotta (Italy): Currently in the process of becoming LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certified, Milan’s Piero Rotta has adopted a range of new green initiatives. These include installing geothermal heat-pump generators, solar panels on the roof, vacuum-tube solar collectors and remaking the heating/cooling radiant pipe panels under the floor.


Townside Hostel Bremen (Germany):
An eco friendly hostel located in the most vibrant area of Bremen, Townside uses only green electricity from Schönau, the cleanest energy supplier in Germany. Combining old romance with modern design, this early-20th century building incorporates energy saving lighting, waste separation, water-saving modules and rainwater collection.



Townside

Sleepzone Connemara (Ireland): One of Ireland’s most environmentally friendly hostels, Sleepzone is situated in the heart of Connemara overlooking The Killary – Ireland’s only fjord. In 2008, the hostel invested €100k in the installation of solar panels following an environmental audit by Sustainable Energy Ireland. They have also incorporated compact fluorescent efficient lighting and recycling systems.

Sleepzone Ireland

Sleepzone

For more details on booking any of these properties, check out www.Hostelbookers.com

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Volcanic Action

April 29th 2010 05:03
Ash from Iceland’s mystical Eyjafjallajokull (ay-yah-FYAH-lah-yer-kuhl) volcano, has stopped most of the world in its tracks, with more than 100,000 flights cancelled and airlines are on track to lose more than $2 billion. So how about a Icelandic tour to see this volcano in all its glory?!

After a brief suspension following the recent eruption, Nordic Visitor has recently re-launched all tours to Eyjafjallajokull in a number of packages, such as volcano helicopter tours, sightseeing flights, and Volcano Super Jeep tours.

Tours are all labelled “volcano-friendly” by the tour operator

Nordic Visitor

Here is a photograph from National Geographic, taken by Italian photographer and scientist Marco Fulle, showing erupting Eyjafjallajökull capturing purple lightning bolts streaking through the sky.

Eyjafjallajökull


“It's unknown how such sparks form, though one possibility is that electrically charged silica—an ingredient of magma—interacts with the atmosphere when it bursts out of Earth's crust” Steve McNutt of the Alaska Volcano Observatory said in February.

Mother Nature’s finest work!

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Eco-tastic Amazon

April 13th 2010 10:00
Spanning the boarders of no less than 8 countries, The Amazon; the largest tropical rain forest and river basin in the world, is a destination of choice for many an eco traveller. A tourists’ lifetime can surely not be complete without a visit to the world’s richest land of diversity? An endless supply of natural treasures to see; birds, mammals, insects, fish, flora and fauna found no where else in the world but here.

Below is a selection of eco tours that can be taken in the region, which sound completely wonderful, not in any particular order, although sadly I have yet to road test!

1. Amazon Cruise. As seen in the published Once In A Lifetime Trips by Chris Santella, Greentracks offers a riverboat cruise along the worlds largest river. US$2500 for 6 day, 7 nights will take you deep within Peru’s Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve arguably one of the most beautiful parts of the Amazon Basin.
Really Long Link

greentracks


2. Overland from Rio. Intrepid Travel’s ‘Amazon & the heart of brazil – northbound’ 29 day tour. An overland journey from the beach and bright lights of Rio, though to the Amazonian jungle of Manaus. Overland vehicles on route: Overnight ferry, overland truck, canoe, walking.

$2115 AUD and USD $920 local payment
Really Long Link

intrepid


3. Manus Jungle Adventure Chimu Adventures offer a 4 day stay at their eco park lodge. Piranha fishing, freshwater dolphin spotting and nature hiking in this Brazillian bio-diversity hot spot. On day three a visit to the Meeting of the Waters, a natural wonder where the dark almost black coloured water of the Rio Negro meets the lighter sandy coloured Amazon River. The river's waters run side by side without mixing.

US$ 340 (not including internal flight or taxes)
Really Long Link

Meeting of the Waters


4. Research Macaws in the Peruvian Amazon Join a Earthwatch Institute on a 13 day research expedition to examine the effects of ecotourism and poaching on the beautiful but endangered Macaw birds in Puerto Maldonado, Peru.

Really Long Link

earthwatch


5. Rainforest Conservation Project in the Ecuadorian Amazon Join Global Vision International’s 2 – 10 week rare species research, helping to conserve the rainforest and volunteer with local indigenous communities in the Amazon basin, Ecuador.

From US$1595 2 weeks, to US$4495 for 10 weeks

research expedition

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Top 10 Eco Friendly Country List

April 9th 2010 06:32
Ever wondered which countries lead the way to being the most ‘eco friendly’ in the world? Based on the 2010 Environmental Performance Index produced by experts at Yale & Colombia University http://epi.yale.edu/Home the following countries are ranked top 10 most eco friendly:

1 Iceland
[ Click here to read more ]
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Responsible travel tips

April 7th 2010 11:22
How embarrassing to see fellow compatriots behaving completely irresponsibly when travelling to non Western countries.

Here are a few of my tips to travel more responsibly when overseas


[ Click here to read more ]
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Green green world.

April 7th 2010 09:00
Word of mouth led me to a website called ‘it’s a green green world’, founded by Richard Johnson, an actor and producer with a long-term passion for sustainable environmental practices.

His website lists eco friendly hotels and destinations, all over the world. Such properties available for rent include eco lodges, clifftop retreats, eco cottages, guesthouses, carbon neutral hotels and similar


[ Click here to read more ]
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Destination: Vicos, Peru

July 31st 2008 15:28
Today on ABC News: Eco Travel to Vicos, Peru.
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A weekend isn't a lot of time, especially for a vacation. To plan an easy eco-friendly weekend mini-vacation, stay local. If you live in a metropolis, chances are there's plenty to do and see. If you live in a metropolis, check out the new wing at the zoo or museum, or head to a part of town you haven't visited in awhile.

[ Click here to read more ]
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