Travel search and booking engines are proliferating like rabbits online. They have grown in such number over the last few years that it is now almost impossible to keep track of which ones offer the best deal or if indeed eco stays and holidays are available through them. Usually I have to search deeper and deeper to find any hint of an eco-orientated hotel, regardless of the green rhetoric many booking engines spruik from time-to-time.
Wouldn’t it be great if there was one portal dedicated solely to the various eco accommodations and experiences available worldwide?
Naturally, I was excited when Eco Companion ventured onto my radar. Interested to find out more about this new eco travel search engine, the idea behind it and how they work, I spoke with Eco Companion’s editor-in-chief Taz Bogue and Eco Companion’s founder Max Sinclair.
There’s something romantic about a wisp of smoke spiraling from the chimney of a log cabin on the top of a mountain. Not only are the views amazing, but you’re also in the perfect place to pause, relax and get in touch with yourself and nature.
The benefits of staying in a cabin go beyond great views. It’s a great way to lessen your environmental impact. From its construction to how it stores and uses energy, a log cabin is ecologically friendly in more ways than one.
Here we share five reasons why it’s good to get cosy in a cabin on vacation.
I think I’ve found ‘The One’. Yes, it’s true. Since I’ve been frequenting Australian shores I’ve been waiting and hoping, hoping and waiting for the right one to come along. And now it seems my wait is finally over. The Lost Lands festival is here!
Set to be held on Melbourne Cup Long Weekend (29th-30th October) in the blissful sprawling grounds of Werribee Mansion and Parklands, The Lost Lands is a two-day music and arts festival designed for families and friends. It is the brainchild of Falls Festival founder Simon Daly, who seems to have his finger firmly on the festival lovers’ pulse. It’s like he’s been in my head.
Written by Belise Kariza – Chief Tourism Officer at Rwanda Development Board
Around much of the world, the hearth is the heart of the home. Especially in Africa, as a meeting place for warmth and wisdom, families and societies would sit in front of the fireplace and without realising it develop the very traditions and values that are passed down to future generations.
While the fireplace has been replaced by central heating, there is still a central hearth where Rwandans gather as a united community with one of our most important shared values: conservation of our natural treasures. Kwita Izina, Rwanda’s annual Gorilla Naming Ceremony, has become a platform which ignites and sustains the fire for conservation and the sustainable tourism dialogue. In other words, the ceremony is the fireplace of common sense when it comes to the direction of the tourism industry in Rwanda and the Great Lakes region.
Izuru’s baby, Ndumunyarwanda meaning ‘I’m Rwandan’. Image: © Rwanda Development Board/Keiko Mori.
Home of the Southermost Point of continental United States, Ernest Hemingway’s island home and the most unusual cemetery I’ve ever seen, Key West is that charmingly quirky place you crave when traveling. The streets are lined with performers, artists and shops with hilariously unusual keepsakes. Trek a few blocks and you’ll find yourself on the brim of a wildlife sanctuary that locals dedicate themselves to preserving. Food, the outdoors, excitement and sustainability sums up Key West, Florida.
Looking for mountain retreat far from the madding crowd? Then maybe this 150 square-foot cabin in Bergen, Norway will appeal. Located on a steep mountainside on the outskirts of Bergen with a commanding view of the valley below, Tubakuba, or Tuba Cube, is Norway’s only off-grid hotel room.
Designed and crafted by students at the School of Architecture, the cabin has four entirely different outward facing walls. Made of 95 percent wood, the south wall is made from untreated larch, which will fade with time and blend in with the forest. Another wall is made of burned larch in a Japanese technique that inhibits decay. The wall facing the valley is made entirely of glass for striking, unobstructed views.
A few weeks ago, when I was asked what I thought the best ecotourism experiences in Australia were, I will admit to being totally flummoxed. There are so many amazing things to do, places to go and stay in the country that I found it almost impossible to pin down ‘the best’. And my idea of the best may not be the same as someone else’s.
There are a growing number of websites where you can search for eco holidays. A few I recommend – and sites I scour often for my own travels – are Book Different, Book Greener and Ecobnb. Greenloons is a great site too, especially for those Stateside, and Responsible Travel and Greentraveller are two favourite UK-based sites. But for Australians, Ecotourism Australia is a particularly good resource as their list of members is available to the public so you can find all accredited accommodations and activities on the same site.
Longer-term travel often means being away from friends and family for extended periods of time. Sometimes this can come as a much welcome break, but inevitably some home-sickness pangs will pluck at heart-strings before too long. Many savvy travellers will no doubt opt to travel lightly and avoid packing too many sentimental home trinkets.
Whether you are uprooted for work, study, pleasure, or otherwise, there is no way, as yet, to package up your established network and the intangible values of a community that you will be leaving behind – a favourite local organic shops; the barista who knows your coffee order; the park on the corner.
Whether it’s the gentle sideways undulation of the train on the tracks that makes rail travel so incredibly relaxing or the fact that, until you reach your final destination, there is nowhere else you have to be but right there in your seat, it’s easy to sit back and revel in the moment. Add great food and wine into the mix and you have an unholy Mary Poppins type of experience – practically perfect in every way.
There are so many wonderful culinary train journeys available throughout the world, it is much too hard to whittle out the best five. Instead I have opted for five train journeys I have either taken or are on the neverending list of things to do.
Happy New Year!
I hope you’ve had an amazing 2015 and have had the opportunity to add lots of wonderful travel memories to your bank of good times past.
It’s been a relatively quiet year for me in terms of travel. A new part-time office job means the joy of freelance isn’t as free as it once was. After eight years of working from home, I craved some human interaction and a change of work environment and started working with luxury tour company Epicurious travel at the beginning of the year. Although office based, the role is varied and offers a good balance of writing, editing, admin and travel design. There are also opportunities for travel and this year I visited Tasmania for the first time and joined one of the 6-day Larapinta trail tours, which was definitely a highlight of 2015 for me.