How to Find Eco-Friendly Hotels When Traveling
Tips and tricks to help your research mindfully...
Traveling can be an exciting and worthwhile experience, but it often results in harm to the environment. You have to find an eco-conscious traveling mode and lodgings as a place that weighs its footprint and pays heed to sustainable methods to lower it. With changing times and the visibility of travel footprint, more and more people are becoming aware of their impact and want to opt for eco-friendly ways to travel. If you are one of such people, there are ways you can travel more responsibly. Start with these tips to find eco-friendly hotels to stay in on your journey.
‘Travel Sustainable Filter’ When Searching for Hotels
Popular online travel booking platforms like Booking.com, Agoda, and TripAdvisor allow you to filter search results based on the sustainability properties of a hotel.
When you enter your destination and travel dates, you’ll notice the ‘Travel Sustainable’ filter on the left side of the page. Simply tap it to find hotels that meet the eco-friendliness criteria set by these platforms. While there’s no such filter yet on TripAdvisor, you can identify eco-friendly hotels by the GreenLeaders badge on the hotel’s listing page.
These criteria often vary by platform. For example, Booking.com ranks sustainable properties based on how they avoid single-use plastics, reduce food waste, utilize renewable energy, and more. These filters save you time and provide a quick shortlist of eco-conscious accommodation options to help you lower your travel footprint.
Understand Specific Sustainability Efforts
Most eco-friendly hotels have a web page dedicated to their sustainability policies, including a rundown of their actions to impact the environment positively. This gives you a better idea of the establishment’s efforts to minimize its ecological footprint.
Before booking a room in a well-known hotel chain, look for companies that are LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), which acknowledges green building design. Some examples of green practices include harvesting rainwater, solar power, energy-efficient lighting, and heating, and minimalist building construction.
Look for the Hotel’s Eco Credentials
Chances are a hotel committed to sustainability will proudly display its green certifications. Look at these credentials closely to ensure they accurately reflect the green practices outlined by the hotel. Some of the most popular global green certifications include:
- LEED: The LEED certification is awarded to buildings that meet set green standards, including water efficiency, waste management, energy conservation, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and indoor environmental quality.
- Green Globe: Hotels displaying the Green Globe certification have met 44 criteria across four primary categories — sustainable management, social responsibility, cultural heritage, and environmental practices. Green Globe also employs third-party auditors to thoroughly vet properties worldwide and ensure compliance with these standards.
- Green Key Global: Green Key has certified more than 5000 hotels in over 60 countries. It provides eco certifications based on 13 broad criteria, including appointing an environmental manager, formulating an annual action plan for continuous sustainability improvements, and ensuring at least 50% of food products are organic and locally produced.
- EarthCheck: The main criteria for certification revolve around sustainable best practices like carbon footprint reduction, air quality protection, waste management, and efficient water use. EarthCheck will send an independent auditor to the hotel to evaluate its performance against these standards before awarding the coveted certification.
Read Guest Reviews
Eco-conscious travelers often highlight a hotel’s sustainability features or lack thereof when leaving reviews. These comments can be quite helpful in understanding if an establishment is truly eco-friendly.
To be doubly sure, consider checking out reviews on third-party websites like TripAdvisor and Expedia rather than the hotel’s webpage. This way, there’s a greater chance that the reviews came from actual guests and not random hotel staff looking to boost the hotel’s online reputation.
Know Signs of Greenwashing
It’s easy to make claims about being eco-friendly, but the real proof is in how the hotel’s activities contribute to a cleaner, more sustainable ecosystem. For instance, a hotel might market itself as eco-friendly because it doesn’t use plastic cutlery, but then it sources food and beverages from suppliers who do not use sustainable methods and are thousands of miles away. That’s a huge red flag and negates the small green effort in a very big way.
Be wary of vague, generic language about sustainability. Greenwashing often involves fluff statements or buzzwords such as “all-natural” and “earth-friendly” with no clear meaning. Keep an eye out for relevance as well. Some establishments highlight an eco-friendly attribute that is either unrelated or outdated. For example, a hotel might emphasize that it uses “CFC-free” products in rooms when in reality, chlorofluorocarbons have been banned for several years.
Call and Ask
Not all hotels have the best description of their commitment to environmentally friendly practices. If you like the hotel and its amenities but are unsure about its sustainability stance, simply ask.
It doesn’t have to be an interrogation style of sourcing information. You could ask about eco-friendly practices like what local ingredients they use, where their water comes from, whether they recycle, and so on. Most establishments are happy to walk you through these concerns if it means landing you as a guest.
Be a Sustainable Traveler
It’s great that you want to lodge in an eco-friendly hotel, but being an eco-conscious traveler is equally important. This means adhering to sustainable travel tips like:
- Reusing towels and bed sheets to limit water usage
- Using the hotel room’s electricity sparingly, such as turning off lights and unplugging charging devices when leaving the room
- Traveling with a sealable mug or bottle to avoid using plastic bottles
- Walking or biking to destinations during your stay
- Recycling products and properly disposing of trash to reduce waste
While they seem simple, these efforts can go a long way in minimizing your carbon footprint during your trip.
Whether for business or pleasure, take advantage of these tips to find eco-conscious hotels and lodges when traveling. Furthermore, achieving sustainability is a collective endeavor, so remember to follow best practices and be an eco-friendly traveler yourself.