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Sustainability isn’t just a trend to hop on — it’s a responsibility that must be incorporated into everyone’s lifestyle. We can’t deny that our beloved planet has limited resources, and we have to protect and conserve them in the best way we can. While giant corporations should step up to make a bigger difference, there are still a bunch of things we can do as ordinary individuals.
For one, we can contribute to helping sustain our earth’s resources by making smarter travel choices.
First step: Choose a Green Hotel
Simply, sustainable travel is finding a way to enjoy the benefits of travelling without harming natural or cultural environments.
When it comes to tourism, hospitality is one of the leading industries that use a big chunk of natural resources, thus threatening our environment. Think about holiday resorts that are built in natural areas with local cultures, or a hotel’s excessive use of water and energy on a daily basis. While these threats are out of our control, we can do our part by patronising accommodation properties that embrace sustainability.
Looking to make “sustainable travel” a part of your lifestyle? Take inspiration from the 6 things eco-conscious travellers do when looking for accommodation.
1. They support locally-owned accommodation properties
Sustainable travellers avoid large resorts whose whopping water and energy consumption threaten the local environment. Instead, they prefer lodging in small, locally-owned accommodation properties. These include guesthouses, B&Bs, and homestays.
Aside from minimal water and energy consumption, picking small accommodations for your stay allows you to support the local economy.
2. They choose hotels and hostels that boast their green certification badge
Fancy interior design and five-star ratings don’t really impress eco-conscious travellers. Instead, they look for signs that the hotel has environmental certifications
Green hotel certifications are given to hotels that meet certain standards like energy efficiency, water consumption, waste management policies, and choice of construction material. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is the best-known certification in the hospitality industry. You may also check for other certifications like EarthCheck, Green Key. and Green Growth 2050.
3. They check how “green” their hotel is
Not all hotels are created equal. Fortunately, there’s a wide range of hotels that put sustainability at top of their priorities. Hotels that are genuinely green go beyond the basics, like encouraging guests to turn off the lights and reuse their towels. They employ a set of green practices to reduce their environmental impact, from crafting organic, locally-sourced menus to investing in renewable energy technologies.
So what are the green flags of an eco-friendly hotel? Try browsing their website to see their approach:
- Look for sustainability reports, indicating how well the property was integrated into the environment it was built in. These include the hotel’s use of sustainable construction materials and carbon offset programmes.
- Energy and water conservation efforts (like the use of energy-efficiency appliances, renewable energy technologies, and water efficiency plans).
- Waste management policies and recycling plans.
- Locally-sourced menus.
- Zero-waste plans for food and catering services.
- Plastic use (and reduction) policies.
- Use of environment-friendly cleaning products
This budget hotel in Dublin, for instance, is a plastic-free accommodation. Located in DCU, the hotel embraced the campus’ policy to eliminate single-use plastic containers, straws, cutlery, and other disposables. This DCU accommodation is also taking steps forward to reduce its energy consumption, water usage, and waste generation.
4. They stay in hotels with bikes
Cycling your way around the area is one great way to discover the beauty of your destination while reducing your carbon footprint. It’s a good thing that many hotels offer bike rentals to help guests get around sustainably. You can also find hotels that offer car-free itineraries.
5. They make sure the hotel benefits the local community
The environment isn’t the only focus of sustainability. Next to the conservation of natural resources, another pillar of sustainable travel is the welfare of the local community.
Do they contribute some of their profits to the region they’re located in? Are they engaged in community programmes like healthcare, charities, cleanup drives, and skill development? Do they locally source their food, building materials, and products? Ask how the hotel gives back to the community.
6. They use booking platforms that promote green hotels
The rise of hotel booking platforms that feature eco hotels is an example of how modern technology and environment conservation can go hand in hand. Before using your favourite travel search engine, check the websites that help you book sustainable hotels.
These include Book Different, Trip Zero, and TripAdvisor’s “Green Leaders” feature. Some green travel platforms, like Green Globe, also partner with online booking sites like Booking.com, Trivago, and Expedia to identify eco-friendly hotels and other travel vendors.
Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is a foodie and travel buff who enjoys writing and sharing articles about travel and money-saving. You can count on her when it comes to hacks on accommodation, airfare, dining, and fun yet cheap ways to get around the city. To know more about budget travel and affordable hotel alternatives, visit DCU Rooms.