10 Gift Ideas for the Eco Traveler

10 Gift Ideas for the eco traveler

It’s just over 10 days to Christmas!! If you’re still missing some gifts for your favorite fellow green travelers, here are some last minute ideas for all pockets and travel styles.

  1. To-Go Ware Bamboo Utensil Set

There’s no need to use wasteful plastic cutlery when you travel. This lightweight reusable bamboo utensil set created by To-Go Ware contains a fork, spoon, knife, and chopsticks. Each set comes in a carrying case made from recycled plastic water bottles. These sustainable bamboo utensils provide a lightweight, long lasting alternative to disposable silverware. They’re also stain resistant and dishwasher safe, so you can count on using them for quite some time. 🍜🍝🎋

bamboo portable fork, knife, spoon, chopstick set

2. hejhej Yoga Mats

Your favorite yoga buff will be certainly thrilled to receive a hejhej Yoga Mat. These mats are fully sustainable since they’re made from recycled materials and are also recyclable at the end of their lifespan. Utilizing recycled off-cuts from Hejhej’s partner factory and other industries like the furniture business, this gift is perfect for the person who loves yoga AND the environment.

In case you’re wondering, the name, hejhej, is the Swedish way to say “hello.” But when you want to say goodbye to your mat, it’s very easy to do. Normally a yoga mat lasts at least three years, but when your hejhej mat sees its last downward dog, just send them an email and they’ll send you a free shipping label. You’ll also get a 15% discount on your next order. hehej recycles the mats so they can be used as a resource for new products. Win-win! ♻️ 🧘‍♀️ 🙌

Eco-friendly yoga mat

3. 4ocean Bracelets

The best present for your sea-lover friend is definitely one of those bracelets. Not only they are perfect for any sea wolf, but when you purchase a 4ocean bracelet you’re removing one pound of trash from the ocean and coastlines. In less than two years, 4ocean has removed over two million pounds of trash from the ocean. By giving plastic in the ocean a value, 4ocean is creating a new economy for the removal of trash! Made with recycled, clear glass beads on colorful cord made from recycled plastic water bottles, these sleek bracelets are unisex and adjustable.  💙 🐬 🌊

Eco-friendly bracelet
  1. w.r. yuma Sunglasses

Named after Yuma, Arizona, reportedly the sunniest place on earth, w.r. yuma sunglasses have a mission to shape the future of waste. Their black frames are made from recycled car dashboards and the transparent styles are from that soda bottle you drank last summer in Europe. Even the ink on the inside of the temples is made from recycled refrigerators.

The sunglasses are 3d printed in a zero waste process by using only the exact amount of material needed and the frames are assembled by hand. And even though they’re designed for disassembly so they can be easily taken apart for recycling, these glasses are sturdy AND stylish. ☀️😎

Eco-friendly sun glasses

5. The Greatest Candle in the World

That’s a pretty big boast to make, but this very well could be the real deal! Made with innovative technology (Oil2Wax) which, when added to recycled used oil creates totally ecological decorative candles scented with blueberry, spice wood, clove and cinnamon, mojito, and more.

The Greatest Candle in the World comes in glass cups or designer tins and they also offer a “do it yourself” option. All you have to do is add Oil2Wax powder to used vegetable oil.

Eco candle for gift

6. Simply Straws

With most plastic turning into trash after a single use, on average, one person creates 88 pounds of plastic a year. Yikes! Most of that doesn’t get recycled and ends up in landfills or the ocean. You can do your part by slurping with Simply Straws. These reusable and durable straws are eco-friendly, dishwasher and microwave safe, BPA free, and can be used for cold OR hot drinks.

Simply Straws is promoting and encouraging the work of activist groups with their glass “Non-profit Partner” series, which highlight Keep-A-Breast (Pink straws), Plastic Pollution Coalition (Amber straws), Protect Our Winters (Green straws), Non-Toxic Revolution (Smoke-colored straws), and 5Gyres/Reducing plastic pollution (Teal straws). Each of the straws features the name of the organizations listed above. You can also pick your own color and customize your straw with up to 26 letters. 🍹 🌈

Eco straws benefiting non-profits

7. Bee’s Wrap Lunch Pack

The best present for the eco-cook is definitely a set of Bee’s Wrap. Use it to pack bread, cheese, vegetables, or cover a bowl! Bee’s Wrap is the sustainable, natural alternative to plastic wrap for food storage. Since 2012, Bee’s Wrap has created wraps that provide a versatile and durable solution for sustainable food storage.

Their products are reusable, biodegradable, and compostable; their beeswax is sourced from sustainably-managed hives in the US. Bee’s Wrap uses only organic jojoba oil, needless to say the packaging is 100% recycled and plastic-free. Long lasting, biodegradable, easy to clean, made using renewable energy, this is definitely a must-have in any earth-friendly kitchen!  ♻️ 🐝 🧀

Healthy and sustainable food wrap

8. HallaxHalla swimwear

For the next foray to one of those fantastic eco-friendly beach hotels and resorts that can be found on Wayaj, HallaxHalla swimwear is the perfect accessory. Their products are all ethically and sustainably made. The fabric is created from recycled plastic bottles and fishing nets recovered from the ocean which is manufactured into a high-quality nylon material.

As they aim to be a sustainable company through their packaging, products, and production, HallaxHalla only produces a limited quantity at a time in an effort to reduce waste due to excess production and surplus products. Not only do they make products ethically from sustainable materials, all their swimsuits are reversible, with a solid color on one side and a print on the other, so you get two looks in one! ♻️👙 🏊‍♀️

Sustainable swimwear made from recycled bottles and fishing nets

9. Compressible Pillow/Air Head Pillow

Whether you’re going camping or on a flight, the Therm-a-rest Compressible Pillow and Air Head Pillow are perfect for pampering your head. They’re stuffed with upcycled foam and the pillows pack small and expand large! Every piece of Therm-a-Rest gear is also backed by a lifetime warranty. 😴

Eco-friendly travel pillow

10. Rescue.org

For 85 years the International Rescue Committee has been helping people whose lives have been shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and regain control. Their current drives include fighting starvation in Yemen, Zimbabweans battling the worst drought in 35 years, and help support refugees in 15 European countries, and much more!

You can choose from gifts for those in need by cause: Health, Education, Emergency Relief, Rebuilding, and Women and Girls. There are also special cold-weather gifts like winter supplies for refugees and warm blankets.

Just pick your gift and dedicate it to that special someone who cares as much as you do. Printed cards are delivered in seven to ten business days, but ecards can be sent immediately. Your gift helps provide critical assistance just where it’s needed!


Best Christmas fairs for ecofriendly travelers

‘Tis the season to be jolly…and to travel! The weeks before Christmas are one of the best times to visit Europe. Not only it’s low travel season (cheaper, less crowded …), but cities, towns and villages, all get in the season’s festive mood with ornate light decorations, special events and local crafts markets.

In recent years, Christmas fairs have been especially attracting increasing numbers of visitors looking for original and sustainable presents for the Holidays. These festive markets feature stalls with traditional gifts made by local craftspeople or small business, and they also offer local delights such as steaming mulled wine, and typical Christmas treats to the the weary traveler/shopper. Singing choirs, holiday plays, winter art exhibitions and fun fair rides complete the experience. Read on to discover some of the best Christmas fair in beautiful historic cities, and of course the local eco-friendly hotel to stay in.

Let the festivities begin!

Bruges Christmas Fair Market

Bruges, Belgium

In this medieval Flemish city, the Midwinter Festival brings holiday cheer with its Christmas market filled with traditional gifts, snacks like waffles with luscious Belgian chocolate, and sweet and tasty hot chocolate or jenever, a gin-like spirit. Also, check out master florists and their display of beautiful Christmas floral arrangements.

To complete your experience head over to the Adornesdomein, an authentic medieval estate in the heart of Bruges where you can hear Christmas songs in the chapel. For a more contemporary season’s mood, check out the first-ever digital ice museum at the Ice Sculpture Festival where video projections light up 60 sculptures, all over four meters (12 feet) high.

Photo credit: visitbruges.com
Where to stay

A perfect place to plan your city wanderings is the Relais & Chateaux Hotel Heritage Brugge. Built in 1869, the hotel has an old-world feel with ornate rooms, a sundeck with city views on the top floor, and a fitness room with stone arches. Below the building, part of a 13th century cellar has been preserved and their sauna and steam bath room are fantastic for relaxing after visiting the holiday sites of the city!

Find it on Wayaj!

Salzburg, Austria

Spending the holiday season in Salzburg is like walking into a fairy tale! The tradition of Christmas markets in Mozart’s hometown dates back to 1491 , so  they definitely know what they are doing.

Wander through the market stalls selling sweets, toys, and warm sweaters amidst the smells of baked apple, gingerbread, and to warm up your body and spirit a cup of mulled wine (glühwein) is never far.

Also part of the holiday season in Salzburg are the “Perchten” processions.  According to folk tradition, there are plenty of ghosts and demons going around during the long, cold nights of December. In order to scare them away, people dress up in frightening wooden masks of animals like bears, wolves, or eagles all with enormous fangs, tusks, and horns. It’s a good thing that they’re adorned with bells to announce their arrival!

Where to stay

Stay ecofriendly and in the season’s mood at the Hotel + Villa Auersperg. Located in downtown Salzburg, this boutique hotel features readings of Christmas stories in a festive atmosphere with homemade vanilla crescent cookies and warm punch for the guests throughout the month of December.

Find it on Wayaj!

For more info on Christmas events in Salzburg: https://www.salzburg.info/en/salzburg/advent

Christmas market in Ljubljana

Ljubljana, Slovenia

In Ljubljana, one of the greenest city in Europe, the highlight of the holiday season is the Christmas Market along with “The Land of Ice.” Set in a huge hall cooled to -4 degrees Celsius (24 Fahrenheit), fairy tale images made from ice and snow are on exhibition. The city’s Zvezda Park is transformed into a Magic Forest with twinkling lights and workshops for making environmentally friendly Christmas decorations. There’s also a huge “Ice Fantasy” rink. But there’s even more!

Ljubjana winter installation
photo credit: visitljubjana.com

For over 15 years Ljubljana-based artist Zmago Modic has put together an imaginative light display elegantly incorporated into the city’s holiday lights. This year’s theme, “Convergence,” symbolizes the desire for existence and was inspired by the famous touch depicted in Michelangelo’s fresco, Creation of Adam.

Where to stay

Stay green in Ljubljana at the Hotel Park Urban & Green, which boasts views of the old city center and is close to the historic center with all its attractions; if you arrive by train you can also get a nice 15% eco discount.

Find it on Wayaj!

See the calendar of events: https://www.visitljubljana.com/en/visitors/december-in-ljubljana/

Prague in winter

Prague, Czech Republic

Prague’s Christmas markets are considered among the best in Europe. The Old Town Square Christmas market (Staroměstské náměstí) is one the prettiest in Prague. Here, little stalls are nestled amidst centuries old Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque buildings. Traditional Czech Christmas ornaments, roasted chestnuts, and Christmas cookies, are all for sale. Be sure to sip some hot wine or warm honey liquor (medovina) while you search for Czech Christmas potpourri (purpura).

In addition to Christmas Markets, this year is the first for the Manifesto Winter Market. Listen to carolers and DJs while you stroll the stalls with a selection of artisanal local products. Pick out a cozy, heated igloo with a fireplace ready for the roasting of sausages and marshmallows.

photo credit: Manifesto.city
Where to Stay

Close to the Wenceslas Square Christmas Market is Hotel Adria, one of Prague’s historic hotels, which has been renovated to offer modern comforts and implement sustainable operations. Its stalactite-decorated Triton restaurant has to be seen to be believed!

For millennials and hipsters the choice in Prague, Mosaic House, whose motto “Happiness, kindness and empathy, combined with eco-initiatives and sustainability” is also perfectly in tune with the holidays spirit!

Find them on Wayaj!

For more info: https://www.prague.eu/en/events

Copenhagen Christmas market

Copenhagen, Denmark

Every year, Tivoli Gardens amusement park and arts center transforms itself in a winter wonderland of wooden chalets, twinkling lights, shows, gifts and local delicacies. Follow the aroma of caramelized almonds and Danish donuts through sixty stalls selling holiday sweaters, leather gloves, sheepskin throws, and much more. The Pantomime Theater also hosts the local Father Christmas grotto for the joy of all the children.

Christmas Trainsbury at Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen
photo credit: tivoligardens.com

Stop at Trainsbury Station to take a magical journey through Christmas land in tinsel-trimmed train cars. New this year is a spectacular projection show on the façade of Tivoli Concert Hall. Enter the hall to see the ballet classic, The Nutcracker. Denmark’s Queen Margrethe herself came up with the set design and costumes for the production.

where to stay

Close to Tivoli Gardens, and conveniently located to reach all the city’s main attractions by public transport, is the ecofriendly Hotel Alexandra. Filled with Danish mid-century vintage furniture and decorated with period textiles and wallpaper, it’s a time bubble of Danish design but with all the contemporary sustainable policies in place.

Find it on Wayaj!

Discover all holiday season’s events at: Visit Copenhagen

Travel Giving Tuesday: Donate for Environment and Community

As world travelers, we know first hand how much needs to be done to preserve the beautiful diversity of our planet and support the native communities that often are the guardians of these natural treasures.  Since this objectives are also part of any wholesome sustainability policy, many of the hotels listed on Wayaj actively work with non-profit organizations, there fore if travel is your passion, here are some worthy travel-related environmental and social charities and non-for-profit organizations to make the most of Giving Tuesday.

Land & Life Foundation (East Africa)

The Land & Life Foundation is the charitable sideof Elewana and Cheli & Peacock Safaris. Working with communities and conservation projects in the areas surrounding Elewana’s properties, the Land & Life Foundation supports local people and preserves the wildlife and habitats of these important landscapes. With all operational costs covered by Elewana, 100% of every single donation goes straight to benefit the communities, schools and wildlife in the areas around Elewana’s properties work.

Yachana foundation

Yachana Foundation (Ecuador)

The Yachana Foundation together with the Yachana Lodge runs education and hands-on training programs to provide locals with the skills to improve their lives and protect their rainforest. For over 24 years Yachana has implemented improvements in local communities in the areas of education, training, community development, health, micro-enterprise and micro-finance while exposing needs to the world through its tourism programs. Staying at the Yachana Lodge offers opportunities to visit an indigenous healer, make chocolate from local cacao beans, help local farmers and hike in a 2,500 acre rainforest reserve.

White Hawk Foundation (Costa Rica)

Lana Wedmore, owner of the Luna Lodge, is the founder and president of the White Hawk Foundation, which actively protects and preserves the ecosystems and biodiversity on the Osa Penininsula in Costa Rica. The Foundation collaborates with national and international research institutions, organizations, and businesses to improve the understanding and exploration of one of the most biodiverse places on earth. They also work to expand critical habitat corridors around the Corcovado National Park by acquiring privately held lands along the borders to ensure the survival of native populations and to prevent isolation and extinction.

Daughters Rising (Thailand)

The Chai Lai Orchid is much more than an ecofriendly hotel. Through the Daughters Rising anti-trafficking organization, they provide a safe home, education, and employment, which empowers women in Thailand to rise above poverty and help their communities. With so much exploitative tourism in the world, Chai Lai Orchid strives to be different by prioritizing social transformation over profit.

Rainforest Alliance (International)

From fighting deforestation and climate change to building economic opportunities and better working conditions for rural people, the Rainforest Alliance focuses on urgent environmental and social challenges in crucial regions. For over 30 years, this international organization has been working to preserve forests and wildlife by promoting a sustainable approach to food, farming and economic development. Within this scope, they also certify sustainable hospitality in rainforest areas.

Riviera Maya Tulum Sea Turtle Conservation Program (Mexico)

The Riviera Maya is one of the most popular vacation spots in the Americas, and for this reason the unique natural habitat that attracts tourists is threatened by the economic development of the region.

Since 1998, Nueva Vida De Ramiro Ecolodge , one of the ecohotels that you can find on Wayaj, has collaborated with the Riviera Maya Tulum Sea Turtle Conservation Program for the conservation of endangered and nesting turtles. The program was created to protect, monitor, investigate and conserve the population of sea turtles that come and spawn in the nesting beaches of the central coast of Quintana Roo.

Sustainable Travel International

Sustainable Travel International is currently campaigning for donations to  supports the MesoAmerican Reef Initiative (MARTI) . The world’s second largest coral reef is threatened by the exponential development of tourism in the region.  MARTI focuses on balanced development that maintains a thriving tourism industry while supporting local communities and promoting practices to preserve a healthy ecosystem.

Friends of Flora (New Zealand)

Wherever an hotel is based, it is crucial  that it helps to maintain the natural environmental balance, especially if they are surrounded by unique habitats. The Resurgence Luxury Eco Lodge supports local conservation efforts alongside its own ecosystem restoration by working with Friends of Flora, a community group advocating the preservation of New Zealand’s native wildlife for future generations. In collaboration with the Department of Conservation, FoF works to protect and/or return endangered flora and fauna to the Flora Stream catchment area in Kahurangi National Park.

I AM WATER (South Africa)

While I AM WATER is committed to advocating for high quality ocean management and using a global platform to publicize key research for conservation, they’re also about transforming ocean experiences. This organization facilitates physical and emotional connections to the aquatic world. They’re especially passionate about working with underprivileged coastal communities where, despite living within walking distance to the shore, young people have never seen the world beneath the waves.

13 Haunted Places to Visit for Halloween

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This year bring together your passion for travel and upgrade your Halloween experience to something more realistic than plastic puppets and spooky paraphernalia by visiting one of these haunted cities and locations from around the world. From serial murder scenes and plague infested halls to vicious landlords and pagan sacrifices, these are 13 of the most spectral (or spectacular?) places to visit to get real for Halloween.


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1) Adulterous ghost: Brissac Castle, Loire France 

Haunted Castle Brissac Loire

Ph: Daniel Jolivet

The Loire region is renowned for its eye-candy castles, but only one of them is haunted. The resident specter of Brissac Castle is an elegant lady in a green dress. The Green Lady is reputed to be the ghost of Charlotte De Breze, the illegitimate daughter of King Charles VII, who was killed by her husband in a fit of rage when he discovered her with her lover. 

Where to stay: Since we’re going for castles, get a room at the Best Western Plus Villa Saint Antoine Hotel & Spa  in nearby Clisson to enjoy the view of the town’s beautiful medieval castle. No ghost sightings have been reported here, but you never know … after all it’s Halloween!

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2) Creepy toys: Island of Dolls, Xochimilco Mexico City, Mexico

Creepiest places: Island of the Dolls

Ph: Esparta Palma

If creepy toys is your thing, then head to the Isla de las Munecas, just South of Mexico City. Local lore tells the story of a little girl who drowned in the Xochimilco river. Her body was discovered by the caretaker of the island, who a few days later found a doll floating in the same river. Interpreting it as a sign, he put the doll on a tree so the spirit of the girl could find it, and just to be on the safe side he added more dolls to keep her spirit happy. Even if there have not been any ghost sightings, the Island of Dolls is considered one of the most unsettling places in the world and, being in Mexico, you can also count on an extended spook fest as Halloween is followed by the Dias de los Muertos. 

What to do: The island of Dolls is within the Xochimilco Urban Eco-Reserve, the last part of Mexico City to preserve the ancient system of canals and farms built by the Aztecs. At this UNESCO heritage site it’s possible to explore the canals and discover the chinampas, the ancient agricultural system made by island plots of farmland between the canals.

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3) Domestic Murderers: New York City, NY, USA

Haunted house in New York City: Jumel Morris HousePh: Courtney Hault

With all the humanity that passed through this city, by the laws of probability, it’s inevitable that some tormented souls have carried out their nefarious deeds along these streets and then remained to haunt them. The most infamous haunted spots in New York City are the Kreischer Mansion on Staten Island, and the Morris-Jumel House, now a museum, in Washington Heights. 

Kreischer Mansion is surrounded by all kinds of spooky stories from the wailing lady, supposedly the ghost of Mrs Kreischer lamenting the suicide of her husband, to the spirit of a German cook murdered in the house and the souls of kids locked in the closet for punishment. The Morris Jumel building is the oldest house in the city and it is reputed to host at least 5 specters: Stephen Jumel, the first owner of the house who died in mysterious circumstances, his wife who was accused to be the murderess, a serving girl, a British soldier from the Revolutionary War, and Aaron Burr, once vice-president of the United States and killer of Alexander Hamilton in a duel, who became the second husband of Eliza Bowen Jumel. 

Where to stay: Located next to Central Park, 1 Hotel Central Park almost looks like a park annex with its facade covered in green ivy. Relax in comfort, surrounded by living green plants and thoughtful touches of nature like reclaimed wood, hemp mattress and organic cotton sheets.

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4) Illustrious ghosts: White House –  Washington, DC, USA

Haunted White HousePh: Kidtruant

Without going into the creepy reality show that is currently going on in the most famous building of the US, the White House is said to be haunted by several distinguished ghosts. Sightings include: Abigail Adams, wife of the second US president, who loves to carry the laundry basket towards the East Room; David Burns, the owner of the land on which the US capital has been built; presidents Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Jackson, Harry Truman are also all still fretting about some important unfinished national business. 

Where to stay: The Embassy Row Hotel is not only situated in the coolest neighborhood of the US capitol but is also eco-friendly.

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5) Suicide hotspot: Aokigahara Sea of Trees, Japan

Aokigahara Suicide forestPh: Luxuz

Resting on western slope of Japan’s most iconic mountain is the one of the world’s most popular spot for hara-kiri. The Aokigahara Forest, a.k.a. the Sea of Trees, is second only to the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco for number of suicides. In 2003, 105 bodies were discovered in the forest, but in recent years the Japanese government has not been releasing figures in order not to advertise the phenomenon. In local folklore, the forest has always been home to the ghosts of the dead, who now are joined by the tormented souls who are looking for the peace that they couldn’t find in life.  

Before you leave the forest stop by to admire the renowned Ice Cave, where giant icicles can reach up to 3 m (10ft) height.  

Where to stay: the Solar Cafe & Farm is not just a place to stay but also a place to learn about innovative sustainable design and farming.

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6) Witches Sabbah and Labyrinth – Blå Jungfrun Island

Stone Labyrinth

Ph.: Mingusrude – Wikimedia

For centuries the local folklore has considered this small Baltic island as the location of witch covens, and recent archeological discoveries have confirmed that it had been the site of pagan rituals thousands of years ago. Also known as Blåkulla (The Blue Maiden), the island is renowned for its ancient stone labyrinth. But don’t even think to take one of those rocks as souvenir! It is considered bad luck to remove the water polished stones from the island and every year the local authorities receive many stones back in the mail with accounts of the tragic deeds they brought on their senders.    

Where to stay: Island hop to nearby Visby to spend the night. This marine town has its own eerie site at the St. Nicholas church ruins. Stay at the Clements Hotel to experience some authentic earth-friendly Scandinavian hospitality.

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7) Far West Ghost Town – Bannack, MT, USA 

Bannack, MT haunted Far West townph: TJFlexz

No list of spooky destinations can be complete without a Far West ghost town. Bannack (Montana), founded after the discovery of a major gold mine, reached its heydays in 1864, when it was briefly the state’s capital. The Meade Hotel was at the center of the city’s social life and it has kept some of its guests up to this day. Sightings of an old lady on the second floor and other unexplained phenomena have been reported at the hotel. The ghost of a young girl in a blue dress who drowned in a nearby pond, has also been spotted in the neighborhood.

Where to stay: Montana’s historic Boulder Hot Springs Inn and Spa rests in the midst of southwest Montana’s spectacular beauty of snow-capped mountains and lush valleys. The Inn & Spa sits on almost 300 acres of pristine meadows, wetlands and forest. At the hotel, guests can also enjoy mineral-laden, pure geothermal waters, which are used in the indoor plunges, the outdoor swimming pool, the natural mineral steam rooms, and they also to heat the entire building! 

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8) Environmental disaster – Centralia, PA

Centralia, burning townPh: Kelly Michaels

Some towns are abandoned because of the lack of business, while others are abandoned because of environmental disasters. To learn a lesson on out-of-control land exploitation, just travel to Centralia in Pennsylvania, the town that has inspired the cult horror movie “Silent Hill”.  As a result of a coal mine fire the town’s soil has been smoldering, and emitting toxic gases, since 1962. The location is a real Hell on Earth, visit for some Halloween thrills, just don’t linger… 

Where to Stay: Head over to Harrisburgh, a city so well attended by ghosts that has its own Paranormal Society, and enjoy the hospitality of the recently renovated and ecofriendly Homewood Suites by Hilton.

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9) Vampires & Murdered Nobility – London 

Ph: Laura Rees

Lord Horace Walpole is considered the inventor of the gothic and horror genres with his novel “The Tower of Otranto” (1746), since then, London has been a favorite destination of ghosthunters, as well as the backdrop of several real horror stories from Jack the Ripper to Stephen Port and his 58 victims.  Two locations in particular are the most renowned spots for creepy goosebumps. The Tower of London, where the spirits of Edward V and his younger sibling Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York, reputed to have been killed there by their uncle regent, and the romantically decadent Gothic Highgate Cemetery, where rumors of a vampire and other ghoulish figures sightings, have been circulating for over 100 years. 

Where to stay: Take refuge from gothic ghosts that most certainly will not follow you at the QBic Hotel, an eclectic eco hotel in hip East London. 

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10) Damned by the Gods, Asirgarh Fort

Asirgarh Haunted fortPh: Kirk Kittel

This Mughal style fort was built in the 15th century by a local lord, on its grounds can also be found an earlier mosque and an older temple dedicated to Shiva. According to local legends, this temple is haunted by the spirit of Ashwatthama, a character of the epic Mahābhārata, who was cursed by Lord Krishna for his ambition to immortality. Locals claim that Ashwathama is seen at night around the Asirgarh Fort. Occasionally, he’s so bold to ask for turmeric and oil to stop the blood of his forehead, but beware whoever has met him has lost mental stability.  

Where to stay. Well, the fort is off the tourism beaten path, so there are neither fancy hotels nor yoga ashrams open to tourists in the region. Best solution to visit the area that has several other attractions (tiger natural reserves, historic temples and shrines) is to stay at the http://www.hoteltajholiday.in/. 

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11) Sleeping with ghosts – Montecristo Homestead, NSW, Australia

Ph: Andrew Matthews

Australia’s most haunted house boasts among its sightings: a pregnant caretaker pushed over a balcony and another shot dead, a baby thrown down the stairs, a stable boy tragically burnt to death while he slept, and a mentally ill man killing his mother. The mansion is currently a B&B, with ghost museum and ghost tours, so its guests can enjoy the most sleepless night of their lives in company of specters. http://www.montecristo.com.au/ 

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12) The restless Pharaoh: Farafra, Egypt 

Farafra haunted desert

Ph: Stttijn

Another Halloween classic, another continent. Legends say that the ghost of the pharaoh Akhenaten wanders the Farafra Desert (also known as the White Desert) of Egypt, his sightings have been reported by both of tourists and natives. Legend says that Akhenaten abolished the Egyptian gods when he became Pharaoh, angering the religious followers and priests of Egypt; when he died the priests cursed him to walk in the desert until the end of time as punishment. 

What to do: See the White Desert! Little known among Egyptian attractions but impressive natural beauty 

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In Javanese its name means “a thousand doors“, and several headless specters seem to enjoy its airy halls together with the spirit of a Dutchwoman who committed suicide. Te former headquarters of the Dutch East Indies Railway Company is located in the center of Semarang (Central Java) and was built at the beginning of the 20th century. During World War 2 it was occupied by the Japanese forces who used the basement as a prison. Several executions took place on the grounds of this complex at the time. Since 2009 the Indonesian government has started a program to renovate the buildings and erase its creepy reputation.

Where to stay: The Oak Tree Emerald Semarang Hotel is a pleasant green oasis on the hills of Semarang and far enough from the Thousand Doors to guarantee a peaceful night.

Lawang Sewu haunted buildingPh: Everyone Sinks Starco via Flickr





6 Eco-Friendly Weekend Ideas To Welcome Fall and Beat the End of Summer Blues 

Eco-Friendly Fall Weekend trips

Good bye long days, warm weather, light clothes and the great outdoors. All around the Northern hemisphere schools are reopening, thus marking the unofficial end of the summer. This change of season can be saddening, if not traumatic (yes, we know a few beach animals!), for some, that’s why we put together a few ideas for short eco-friendly trips and activities to beat the end of summer blues. 

 Fruit Picking season 

Cranberry Harvest
Cranberry bog during harvest time

Sugars are always great mood boosters, and they can be healthy too if they are natural and one has to work to get them. During the months of September and October, apple picking is a major tradition across the US. From pick your own to full scale apple festivals, there are plenty of opportunities to celebrate this popular fruit in all its varieties. The AppleJack Festival is an excellent excuse to visit Nebraska City between September 15 and 17, 2017, but if that’s too far or your taste buds do not appreciate apples there are plenty of alternatives: from cranberry to pumpkins, chestnuts and mushrooms, this season has a lot to offer.  PickYourOwn.org, offers plenty of info on fruit and vegetable harvest and related events.  

Where to stay: Lied Lodge

Lied Lodge: green Hotel in Nebraska City
Ph: Lied Lodge

Originally designed by the Arbor Day Foundation to serve as a space for environmentalists to gather and discuss trees, conservation, and earth stewardship, today the Lied Lodge and Arbor Day farm offer their unique experience to the public, while maintaining the same sustainable business philosophy. The property grounds cover 260 acres and they feature vineyards with weekend wine tastings, woods trails with a spectacular 50-foot tall tree-house and a greenhouse where thousands of saplings are carefully tendered to be ready to ship out for Arbor Day.

Grape harvest festivals 


Grape Harvest
Ph: Photo by Thomas Schaefer on Unsplash

Pick, stomp, taste. The end of summer is THE season for wine-making and that’s why we are dedicating a separate section to it. Since the times of Bacchanalia, there are plenty of celebrations for this special harvest throughout the world. Wherever there are vineyards, there are events and festivals. Some vineyards let you pick and stomp the grapes like in old times, most wineries have special events besides the usual tour and tastings. In the US, two regions are particularly renowned for the vineyards: the Finger Lakes in New York and Napa Valley in California, check out those links for all the events and addresses: 

Remember moderation is the key to enjoyment! 

Where to stay: Skyler Hotel (Finger Lakes)

Skyler Hotel, LEED certified hotel in Syracuse (NY)
ph: Skyler Hotel

Syracuse’s first LEED Platinum the Skyler Hotel is a unique combination of industrial minimalism and soothing organic touches. Retro and metro mingle in their original guest rooms that are as eclectic as they are comfortable. From the moment you digitally check in, until you reluctantly say goodbye, you’ll know you’re somewhere specially designed to nurture your spirit while protecting the planet.

Where to stay: Riverpointe Napa Valley Resort

green hotel in Napa Valley: Riverpointe resort
ph: Riverpointe Napa Valley Resort

A small village of colorful, quaint and quiet cottages, the River Pointe Napa Valley Resort is the ideal base to make the most of the region. Located near downtown Napa and by the Silverado Trail, you can go town or country, the choice is yours. The amenities on the premises include swimming pool and hot tubs, bbq and picnic areas; while the area offers many attractions like the Old Faithful Geyser, biplane and balloon tours of Wine Country and the Castello di Amorosa, a full-scale replica of a medieval Italian castle.  

Balloon rides 

ph: Adirondack Balloon Festival

If the end of summer gets you down, a balloon ride can definitely bring up your spirit again. On the East Coast, the Adirondack Balloon Festival (Sept. 21-24) in Glen Falls (NY) will fly up to 100 balloons, including some special shapes to wow the crowds. The craft fair, the activities for kids, several musical performances and a special breakfast in the hangar will easily fill the weekend for the whole family!  

Where to stay: Gideon Putnam

Eco-friendly resort in saratoga Springs: Gideon Putnam
ph: Gideon Putnam


After the thrills of the balloon race there is nothing better than to relax in the hot spring waters of nearby Roosevelt Baths & Spa in Saratoga Springs. The guests of the elegant Gideon Putnam hotel can take advantage of several wellness packages at these historic baths that feature naturally effervescent mineral waters. To enjoy all the colors of fall, take a stroll in Saratoga Spa State Park which is just outside the hotel!  

Take a train ride 

Napa Valley Wine train
ph: Winetrain

The changing color of nature are the season’s hottest ticket and one of the most eco-friendly way to enjoy the show is from the train. In the last few years Amtrak has been deploying the vintage dome car on the Downeaster line between Boston and Brunswick, Maine. Thanks to its glass dome on the top of the car, passengers can ride and see in all directions around the train.  On the West Coast of the US it is possible to tour the Napa Valley vineyards by train. Guests will board the Wine Train’s beautifully renovated 1915 Pullman railcars and enjoy fine dining while transported to Napa’s top wineries for an evening of wine tasting, culinary delights and live musical entertainment.   

Immerse yourself in art 

Storm King Art Center
ph: Storm King Art Center

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life” said Picasso. Leave negative thoughts behind and let art transport you to new horizons of creativity and cultural discourse. One of the best places to visit in this season is the Storm King Art Center in the Hudson Valley. Every weekend this open-air art gallery offers yoga classes to start the day, beekeeper tours to learn about the art of honeymaking and events for the whole family. The Agrisculpture workshop is one of the most popular events. Led by Agrisculpture founder Amy Lewis Sweetman, participants use natural and recycled materials found on the grounds to create their own installation. This year the workshop will be inspired David Smith’s outdoor sculptures currently on display on the center’s grounds.    

Where to stay: Mohonk Mountain House


Mohonk Hotel
Ph. credit: Mohonk Hotel

Nestled in the Hudson Valley, only 90 miles north of New York City, this Victorian castle resort is surrounded by 40,000 acres of pristine forest and protected wildlife. To its guests, this eco-friendly National Historic Landmark resort offers farm-to-table cuisine, an award-winning spa and the oldest historic golf course in the US. Nature guided tours, kayaks, canoes, archery and tomahawk throwing are just some of the activities available on the premises. Numerous trails and climbing spots are accessible in the area. 

Paseo Project: party on the Plaza
ph: Paseo Project


Those on the opposite corner of the US, should head down to Taos, New Mexico, on September 23rd to catch the Paseo Project celebrations including installations and performance art. For the last 4 years, this project has brought together art and technology, international artists and STEAM youth programs to create immersive artistic experiences. 


Where to stay : Earthship Biotecture


Earthship rental
ph: Earthship Biotecture

For a radically sustainable hospitality experience, book a few nights at Earthship Biotecture center. These off-the-grid constructions are completely made of recycled materials, and boast to be “the ultimate in green buildings”.  You can experience living in a truly modern sustainable home, equipped with wifi , tv and all modern comforts, in Taos, New Mexico, on the original site where they were first developed by their inventor, the architect Michael Reynolds.


Antique hunting 

Antique hunting is a great fall weekend trip
Photo: Andrew Branch on Unsplash.com

Home decorating is always one of the best remedies against the blues, -especially in view of all the time to be spent indoor in the next months, and antique hunting is the fun and sustainable way to do it. Get out of the city and stop by the roadside country stores, browse their knick-knacks, find the perfect deal, take a break to re-energize by eating fresh food from the local farms. If driving around is not an option, head out for the big antiquing events that bring together hundreds of dealers. On the East coast Adamstown, Pennsylvania, boasts the title of Antiques Capital of the USA thanks to the weekend extravaganzas that bring together thousands of dealers three times a year. The Fall event takes place over the last weekend of September (9/28 to 10/1). 

Where to stay:  Artist’s Inn

The Rose Room at green hotel Artist's Inn
ph: Artist’s Inn

Get transported to another time, at the Artist’s Inn, located in the heart of Amish country. Lovingly restored by an artistic urban couple on the run from the city, this eco-friendly hotel offers several types of accommodations, from an entire cottage to a standard room, all decorated in romantic country style.  


On the Pacific Coast, the Ventura Flea Market and Swapmeet on September 24th is the perfect occasion to enjoy the oceanside location while hunting for that unique vintage piece of décor your home has been missing. 

Where to stay: … basically anywhere!

Sheraton, sustainable hotel in Ventura, California
Ph: Sheraton / Starwood

In Ventura there are really many choices to stay in a green hotel, for years the city has been actively promoting green initiatives in partnership with local hospitality venues. Top international chains such as Marriott, Sheraton and Crowne Plaza are all implementing sustainable practices at their hotels in Ventura.