<a href="http://www.gmagazine.com.au/blog/17#">Eco Travel</a>

Eco Travel

On the path to responsible travel, with Louise Southerden.

Have yourself a jolly green Christmas

A land far, far away: north east Arnhem Land, Northern Territory.

Credit: Louise Southerden

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Because it's Christmas, and because for most of us “ summer holidays are just around the corner, I've decided to blog about green travel gift ideas for your loved ones (and perhaps for your hard-working, much-deserving self, too). Happy eco-holidays my fellow green travellers:


  • Code Green: Experiences of a lifetime, edited by Kerry Lorimer (Lonely Planet Publications) was ahead of its time when it was published two years ago and is still an inspiring read, with almost 100 responsible travel experiences across the planet, that encourage us to tread lightly and to benefit the communities we visit.
  • The Ethical Travel Guide: Your Passport to Exciting Alternative Holidays by Polly Pattullo (Earthscan Publications) lists over 300 places to visit and stay in 60 countries. Published in association with Tourism Concern, a UK-based organisation fighting exploitation in tourism.
  • Green Travel: The World's Best Eco-Lodges and Earth-Friendly Hotels, published by Fodor's lists 100 green accommodations that are not only environmentally friendly, but work to support local communities as well. It also tackles some of the slippery issues facing ethical travellers, such as the politics of boycotting certain destinations.

Ecotourism Australia (www.ecotourism.org.au) has a Green Travel Directory listing over 700 eco-friendly operators around Australia.

Let's not forget The Green Book, put together by G magazine and The Green Directory (www.greendirectory.com.au) which has an ecotourism section including eco-minded tour operators and accommodation options.

Across the ditch, there's a brand new second edition of Organic Explorer New Zealand: Organic Food, Eco-Accommodation, Cultural and Eco Tourism. The companion website (www.organicexplorer.co.nz), lists eco-tours, organic homestays and cafes/restaurants, farmers markets, eco-lodges and retreats as well as Maori cultural tourism experiences.

There are truckloads of green travel products out there, including:

  • Bamboo travel throws and eye masks
  • Ann Miller green travel document holders and luggage tags, made from 100% recycled polyethylene
  • Solar powered mobile charger and organic sunscreen.
  • Bags made from hemp and recycled tyres, recycled paper travel journals, thongs made from organic cotton and recycled tyres, All Natural Anti-bacterial towelettes made with essential oils. See them here.

This really is a gift that gives twice: once to the recipient - perhaps a climate change and/or carbon offset sceptic - and to the environment. It might even tempt the non-believers among us to offset their own travel in the new year. Climate Friendly and Climate Positive both offer gift certificates.

Instead of giving someone you love an actual gift, how about giving them a voucher for something unique: time with you in the new year. Promise to take them on a spontaneous camping trip, a weekend at a secluded eco-lodge, a day's hiking in the hills, a mystery train ride.

For more green travelling tips, see Ten ways to travel greener at Travelers Notebook.