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How to have an Eco Friendly Holiday without costing the earth

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With kids back at school, it's a great and relatively cheap time to get away and experience somewhere new without having to rack up the airmiles. You could even take the ferry or train and keep those emissions really low. Here are some handy tips to stay eco-friendly while you're away.

Eco-Friendly Hotels
Even in commercially led holiday destinations, there are still eco-friendly hotels which have met guidelines from the Travelife Sustainability Collection and have been honoured with a Sustainability Award. Make sure you choose a hotel which is committed to reducing environmental impacts and providing benefit to the local community. 

During your stay, always hang your towels up after use; otherwise they'll get washed daily. It's also strongly advised not to open the complimentary bottles of shampoo. The plastic bottles aren't refilled and will just get thrown away, so bring your own from home if you can.
Need an Eco-Friendly Hotel? The Port Adriano hotel on the island of Majorca (pictured above) has been awarded Gold status for the Sustainability of Tourism.

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Luggage
Without wanting to make you throw your suitcase out the window, a lot of luggage bags are made using toxic chemicals such as chromium and polyvinyl. These chemicals strengthen the quality to make it last longer, however they are subsequently bad for your health. Try using suitcases which are made from natural products such as Hemp fibre, a better way of creating an eco-friendly piece of luggage for your holiday. 

There are types of recycled plastic which can also be used too. Alternatively, why not get those creative juices flowing and try making your own.

Need Some Eco-Friendly Luggage? The Esther Porter Tent bag range (pictured) is made completely in the UK, from tents that have been discarded at summer music festivals.

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Fresh Fruit and Water
Plastic bottles are bad for the environment and are expensive, especially if you're in a hot country and need to keep hydrated. 

Try and re-fill bottles of water up at your hotel before heading out for the day; that way you're not throwing away any plastic. For instance, if you're visiting Rome, there are around 3000 fountains, called nasoni, scattered around the city to fill up your bottle with fresh drinking water. 

Believe it or not, you can also get the train to Rome from the UK, so there is no need to board a plane. Enjoy locally sourced food, which hasn't been imported and is completely fresh. In doing so, you are also supporting local farmers and helping them to preserve the land from industrialisation. 

Sightseeing and travelling
Do you really need to pick up yet another tour leaflet? You will browse through it a few times and then throw it away, wasting paper and printing resources. Instead, do your sightseeing research before you leave; there are plenty of sites which offer the same information that you can get from any tour booklet, plus there are some great travel bloggers out there who can provide first-hand tips. 

When you arrive, avoid expensive private taxis when exploring the local area and try walking, a great way to stay fit and reduce the amount of air pollution pumped into your system. When your feet get tired, just jump on some public transport for a rest. Need an online travel guide? Lonely Planet is the perfect site to brush up on your travel lingo, so make sure you pen a few notes down before you arrive.

Activities
Instead of visiting a local aquarium, go and watch whales and dolphins swimming wild in the sea in Madeira. Contrast this with walking the Levada routes, which are mountain trails set beside the Levadas, or canals, covering the island. Or, why not make a difference and help baby sea turtles find their way to the sea in Greece? 

Europe is full of eco-friendly attractions that will introduce you to wildlife and nature without costing a fortune. For those who fancy a trip that's a little closer to home, catch the train to Barcelona from the UK and enjoy the beautiful Gaudi architecture of Park Guell and fresh Spanish tapas in no time at all.

Need an Eco-Friendly Destination? The beautiful island of Madeira is full of lush vegetation and amazing wildlife for you to explore. Cleanse the mind and soul with a spot of yoga in the mountains, before enjoying locally caught seafood in the evening.

Don't let your eco-friendly views become comprised during your summer getaway. We hope these handy tips and suggestions have provided some inspiration for you to enjoy a sustainable holiday. Au-revoir!

By Matthew Payne: Whether he is exploring naturally formed coves in Majorca or hiking along the levadas in Madeira, Matthew loves being outdoors. Matthew is always learning and developing ways he can stay eco-friendly during his travel experiences. He hopes his writing will provide inspiration for those who want to enjoy sustainable travel.

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