Hotels are usually the lodging options people think of when they’re going to be traveling. They’re everywhere and easy to book and customers usually see commercials for chains, which makes them feel familiar with the place.
But if you’re an eco-conscious person, hotels might not be the best option.
Large hotels are often worried about money and profits and are not making their building environmentally friendly. Or you might think that they’re making an effort when it’s really all for show. There are definitely ways to make a hotel look green without actually doing much for the environment. Next time you’re going on a trip, look for these options for lodging instead.
Camping is one of the best ways to minimise your impact on the environment. Leave no trace camping has become the gold standard for camping. Its motto is, “Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints.” If you camp the right way, you can have almost no impact on the environment.
Emphasise leaving everything as you found it—or better than it was before. Don’t disturb rocks or plants or take them for souvenirs. This is a great way to get you up close and personal with nature and wildlife, but it’s important to remember that this is their natural habitat. You want to leave it pristine for them when you leave.
Log cabins are fun and unique places to stay on your next vacation. They are also can be a lot more environmentally friendly than you might think. Sustainable log cabins use logs from planted forests and make sure that every part of the log is used so there’s minimal waste. Special windows are used to keep heat inside in the winter and outside in the summer, without reducing light.
Log cabins are also often shaded in the forest, which keeps things a lot cooler in the summer. Metal roofs are long lasting, recyclable and offer a large energy savings. You can also fix solar panels to them, leading to more energy efficiency. If you don’t want to rough it as much while camping, but still want to stay in the woods, this is the lodging for you.
If a beach holiday is more your style, look for eco villas similar to these dreamy ones in St. Croix, Virgin Islands. They are beautiful, modern accommodations that minimise the impact on the environment. Rainwater is collected and there are systems to recycle bath and dish water for plant irrigation.
Similar villas in Indonesia and around Southern and East Africa offer solar and wind power, recycling and a biodegradable wastewater treatment system. These villas often utilise a tropical breeze depending on location. Instead of air conditioning, they offer huge floor to ceiling windows that you can throw open for a natural cool and give you a chance to immerse yourself in beautiful tropical scenery while helping the environment.
Mongolian nomads liked yurts because they’re easy to use and portable, and that still holds true. They also have multiple layers, so you can roll up some of the extra ones in order to keep cool, or get extra insulation for cooler climates. They require minimal effort to heat because of their structure.
Traditional yurts are made with recyclable material and they have no permanent foundation. This means that there’s no lasting impact to the ground. If you’re handy enough, you could make one for yourself using sustainable, leftover materials as well.
If you don’t want to get one of your own, there are plenty that are available to rent depending on where you want to stay.
If you still want to stay in a hotel, don’t pick the usual one. Instead, look specifically for green hotels in the area that you’re going to. Try to avoid all of the big chain hotels and look for different, smaller places that keep up to green standards and support the environment. Eco hotels often have the added benefit of being absolutely gorgeous as well.
It’s definitely time to try something different. Forget the chain hotels that you’re used to staying in. Environmentally friendly options are unique and keep your conscious clear knowing that they’re sustainable. Check out the green options for your next vacation.
Guest Post by Kacey Bradley. Read her other contribution at Traveling Locally and the Wonders that Come With It.