Traveling isn’t an excuse to forget about the environment.
Yes, we get you. It’s downtime, and a rejuvenating escape from the deadlines, schedules and emails you need to deal with back home. But it’s still in your best interests to practice smart, sustainable habits when you’re off in paradise; even more so if you’ve decided to stay at a hotel.
While many hotels are beginning to practice environmentally-conscious habits, you may still choose to stay at a hotel that isn't as environmentally-conscious, for your own set of reasons. That’s perfectly fine. What’s even finer, though, is carrying out your duty as an eco-warrior and doing your part as a hotel guest to help the environment, regardless of where you stay!
So below are our top ten ways to minimize your impact on the environment while keeping your hotel stay as enjoyable as possible!
1. Limit Your Trash
It’s easy to forget about your waste when you’re away from home, since room service takes care of that for you. However, there are a lot of hotels that don’t properly recycle their waste and any unnecessary garbage can add to the problem.
So instead of asking for shopping bags or added packages, bring your own! A reused plastic bag or your own personal shopping bag both do the job. You can even take this one step further by bringing any recyclables back home to reuse. Or, if you don’t want the added luggage, you can also bring them to local recycling centers!
2. Bring Back the Soap
Most of us do this anyway. Who doesn’t want free soap?
But we still have to stress the importance of bringing back hotel soaps, shampoos and other disposable bath products (so long as they’re given free). Many are toxic for the environment and a lot of hotels dispose of them once you leave your accommodation, whether they’re finished or not.
Don’t let that happen, and bring them back with you to reuse at home. You can also use them as soap bases if you make your own soap at home (which you absolutely should)!
3. Even Better, Bring Your Own
Or, you could also bring your own eco-friendly bath products with you. That way, you won’t add to the pile of waste, period, and have complete control over what products you use on your body. Toxic products aren’t just bad for the environment, you know.
As always, make sure you bring them in reusable containers, and not throw them away when you’re done. Otherwise, there’d be no point in bringing your soaps along.
In need of recommendations? We'll do you one better. Karunaki's Box Club gets you a gift box full of eco-friendly home essentials sent to you every month. No need to stress over which bath products to get yourself; we've got you covered.
4. Regulate Energy Use
It isn’t just physical materials that make up hotel waste. Energy consumption makes up 60% of overall hotel CO2 emissions each year, and while hotel management is becoming increasingly aware of the issue, it still falls on you to manage your own energy use during your stay.
As a general rule of thumb, use the electricity only when you absolutely need it. Turn the air conditioning off if it’s not that hot. Keep the lights on only when you need them, and only enough to keep the room sufficiently bright. Leave the “Do Not Disturb” sign on if your room isn’t particularly in need of cleaning; this reduces the amount of electricity used for vacuuming and other cleaning processes.
And while this isn’t energy-related per se, make sure you also reduce your shower time! This ensures that you don’t use up unnecessary gallons of water during your stay.
5. Regulate Towel Washing
While we’re still on the topic of regulation, there’s no need to wash your towels every single day of your trip. Hang up your towels after use so that room service knows to not take them in for washing. Or, follow the previous tip and hang the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door.
6. Never Use Hotel Laundry
In a previous article, we mentioned that doing your laundry less often is great for the environment. Well, it still holds true for your hotel stay. In fact, don’t use hotel laundry services, period.
Hotels usually wash each guest’s laundry in separate loads, creating a huge drain on resources. For longer trips that do necessitate laundry, wash your clothes yourself and hang them to dry. It might be a bit tedious, but it helps the planet, and your wallet! Remember, most laundry services don’t come free.
7. Avoid Bottled Water
Don’t use bottled water. Please. Avoid it like the plague.
Most hotels offer complementary bottled water to guests, and that’s out of your control. What you can do, however, is reuse that bottle for outdoor excursions. You can also bring your own reusable water bottle so you don’t compound on the plastic waste. You can keep refilling and reusing it wherever you go, so you can save on extra water you buy from the convenience store and always have a drink on hand outside. It’s a win-win!
And about that complementary bottle of water? Make sure you dispose of it properly. Recycling is the default!
8. Limit Meat Consumption
For those of you who can’t go full vegan, do not fret. Simply reduce the amount of meat you eat on vacation (and if you can, your daily life). It helps the local wildlife and the fight against the meat industry, which is one of the world’s biggest sources of pollution, even surpassing cars in that regard.
9. Make Your Own Food
Can’t help the local meat-loving restaurants? That’s okay. Bring your home with you in the form of your own self-made food!
Just as with bringing your own soap and shampoo, this helps you control what and how much food you eat. Go one step further and buy from local farmer markets or eco-friendly groceries. This supports sustainable food production practices as well as the local industry, which helps tremendously for certain countries.
10. Give Feedback
Last but not least, when all is said and done, and you’ve had your fun, don’t leave without putting in a good word for the community.
If your hotel does not practice eco-friendly habits and processes, suggest that they do. According to this article, guest input can greatly impact the kind of practices that hotels incorporate into their services, meaning you can make a difference simply by writing down a few suggestions. So make sure you do, and keep them specific so your hotel knows exactly what to do and how. Saving the planet is a two-way street and requires everyone to get involved.
We hope that these tips have helped you with your next, or even current, vacation. Remember to make environmentally-conscious decisions wherever you are, because every little action you take creates a huge difference.
With love and compassion,