Holidaying in an environmentally friendly way is now both fashionable, and for many people, essential.
Yet choosing a genuinely eco-friendly escape can be complicated; from deciding how to travel, to researching the eco merits of the tour operator or hotel and how the food is sourced.
The first consideration is your choice of location, and method of transport. Flying justly receives a bad press due to its heavy carbon cost.
If you're off to Europe, even the more distant corners, travelling by train is often a viable option - it's less stressful than flying, and it will certainly be kinder to the Earth.
Each rail traveller is responsible for 5.7 grammes of carbon emissions, compared to 180 grammes for domestic flights or 118 grammes by car, according to Rail Europe.
If you really have to fly, offset CO2 emissions by paying money to an organisation such as Climate Care (www.jpmorganclimatecare.com). The money will be invested in projects supporting energy renewal schemes and reforestation.
Krissy Roe, communications manager for Responsible Travel (www.responsibletravel.com) advises opting for greener hotels and B&Bs such as guesthouses and homestays.
She says: 'Ask the tour operators and hotels you are considering booking with whether they have a responsible tourism policy in place that they'll share with you'
Caroline Sylger Jones (www.carolinesylgerjones.co.uk), author of the Body & Soul Escapes books, warns: 'The ‘eco-friendly' label is used too easily by hotels, spas and retreats across the globe, which in reality still offer water in plastic bottles, use toxic toiletries in the bathrooms and fill the bedrooms with unnecessary electric gadgets.
'Most are still using chlorine in their pools and hot tubs, and fossil fuels to heat their water.'
Thinking and buying local once your arrive is also crucial. According to Responsible Travel, this means hiring local guides where possible, staying in locally run accommodation, eating in local restaurants and trading with local craftspeople.
Also remember to use water sparingly, avoid using plastic bags and switch off lights, air-conditioning and electrical appliances in your room.
A growing number of tour operators and hotels now reinvest in the local community by employing local people and sourcing ethically produced food.
There is also the popular option of volunteering with environmental charities such as Earthwatch; devoting time to working directly with the environment is perhaps the ultimate way to holiday with a conscience, especially if you ditch the plane and take the overland route.
Here are a cross-section of eco-friendly retreats and holidays:
Inverliever Lodge: Opening in May 2011, the ecoYoga Centre at Inverliever Lodge, in the Scottish Highlands, is a newly restored holiday destination for around eighteen guests. Set in magnificent Scottish scenery, hills, lochs, rivers and forests abound.Entirely powered by renewable energy, the centre is entirely supplied with electricity from its newly commissioned Hydroelectric power station. See: www.ecoyoga.org
Responsible Travel has a good range of Community Based Tourism holidays. The company's village homestay project in Kenya helps improve the local economy and protect the surrounding habitat. Guests can also learn handicrafts, local languages or local dance. The Kenyan homestay costs £550 for eight days, including accommodation with a host family, activities and food.
Take the train to your yoga retreat. There are a growing number of yoga retreats based in England, Scotland and Wales. Otherwise, go on retreat in Europe and take the train. Yoga Abode's sister company YA Retreats has a four night yoga holiday at the beautiful retreat venue, Les Passeroses, in S-W France over the August 2011 Bank Holiday. All retreat guests travelling down by train receive a free lavender eye pillow. See www.ya-retreats.co.uk
Seek out Green City centre hotels. Even in the world's major cities, it's often possible to stay somewhere Green. Located in the heart of San Francisco is the stylish Orchard Garden Hotel (www.theorchardgardenhotel.com), one of a handful of hotels awarded the LEED certification for environmentally sound buildings. The furniture is made from sustainably grown maple; all cleaning fluids are chemical-free; there are recycling bins in the large, comfy bedrooms; and the hotel restaurant sources locally and organically.
The Yurt Hotel is tucked away in a spectacularly rural corner of Andalucia, Spain. Five Mongolian yurts (www.yurthotel.com) basks in three hectares of olive groves and cork oat trees. Each yurt - and there are now five - boasts spectacular view, plus its own wild flower meadow. The camp's carbon footprint is admirably low: there are compost toilets and solar panels, and the swimming pool is chlorine-free. Food is delicious: organic and locally sourced. A double yurt costs £105 per night.
Ethical tour operators and rail companies
For train options, check out www.eurostar.com, www.raileurope.com and popular train advice website www.seat61.com. Tour operator The Adventure Company (www.adventurecompany.co.uk) uses guides local to the destination, and locally-run guesthouses and restaurants. It supports several charities and conservation projects. Explore (www.explore.co.uk) recently won Best Tour Operator at the Responsible Travel awards. Environmental charity Earthwatch (www.earthwatch.org) has a detailed environmental policy that aims to 'minimise negative impacts on local cultures and economies'.