As we continued to do our research, we found that finding a sustainable place to stay is not the most simple task. Sustainable accommodations are made available at larger hotels, but we also wanted to take into account the local environment, community, and economy. There are lots of factors that go into making your stay in a country a bit more green, and while we have a few suggestions, we suggest that you continue your research with the specifics from each place you decide to visit.
Please note: green hotels are plenty more expensive and these accommodations may not be for everyone – sometimes it just doesn’t fit your budget and that’s okay. We travel on a tight budget as well and have been lucky to find hotels that provide simple, but impactful accommodations. Things such as having water on tap, energy-efficient lights, or reusable plates and silverware may seem small, but if you add up all the people who take part in these green activities, it will help reduce waste and carbon emissions.
There are eco-conscious hotels that work to reduce their pollution and carbon footprint. When doing your research, consider a hotel that recycles or composts, sources renewable energy from solar or wind, uses energy-efficient lighting, or are conscious of their plastic waste. Many hotels have chosen to reduce their plastic waste by removing single-use shampoo and conditioner bottles, offering reusable utensils, and displaying condiments in bulk.
For more information, check out these hotels that are LEED certified or are EMA Green Seal for Hospitality approved. When you book a hotel through GreenHotelWorld, they receive a small commission for each booking, which is then used to offset your carbon footprint by investing in environmental projects in India, Nicaragua, and Kenya. Here’s their list of green hotel/tourism certification labels.
Airbnb is on a mission to make eco-conscious traveling possible with its new sustainability advisory board. They also encourage hosts to make recycling, composting, and pointing out public transportation available to travelers. We’ve stayed in a few Airbnb homes, and while we had a good experience each time, now, we’re certainly more aware of the effect it has on local communities. In some parts of the world, Airbnb listings are so saturated, these areas no longer feel ‘local’ but a buzzing hub for tourists. If you choose to stay at an Airbnb and want to continue to benefit the local community, look for places with a host who rents out a guest room (or their entire home while they are on vacation) so that housing isn’t taken away from locals and given to tourists.
Not a place to stay, but a note on toiletries–
A simple thing you can do is pack toiletries in reusable travel-sized containers to reduce waste. Shampoo, conditioner, body, and face bars are becoming popular alternatives as they are TSA-friendly and eco-friendly (they are usually made out of natural, non-toxic ingredients and come package-free as well).
Jennifer and Vivian