Choosing a sustainable hotel is a great first step to becoming a sustainable traveller but the eco-friendly decisions you make after you check in at any hotel can make a difference if we all do our part – and the resulting are benefits will impact generations to come.
We share 13 tips on what action you can take during your stay at hotels on your travels, supporting the hotels eco-friendly and sustainable offerings as well as inspiring other travellers, the local communities you visit and the hotel industry as a whole who currently account for 1% of the total of global emissions!
1. Treat your hotel room like your own room
Avoid requesting clean towels and sheets unless absolutely necessary. Keep showers short and remember to turn off the TV, lights and air-con when not in use.
2. Use the ‘do not disturb sign’
Do you really need your room serviced? Unless you’ve run out of toilet paper or need a spill cleaned up, hang the ‘do not disturb’ sign when you head out for the day to ensure your linen won’t be unnecessarily laundered.
3. Embrace ecofriendly incentives
Some hotels offer food and drink vouchers and other perks for opting out of having your room serviced or for arriving by public transport instead of a car. If there are rewards, you may as well enjoy them.
4. Resist in-room single-use amenities
Just because the plastic water bottles, mini-toiletries and other disposable amenities in your hotel room are free doesn’t mean they’re guilt-free. BYO sustainable essentials to avoid reaching for single-use options.
5. Dine local
If your hotel has a restaurant that showcases local (or better yet, home-grown) produce, show your support by eating in.
6. Engage with staff
Sustainable hotels create fair employment opportunities for local people. If you don’t meet locals in a variety of roles at hotels that claim to be invested in the local community, ask management why.
7. Get involved
Accommodation providers invested in local communities connecting guests with sustainable, local-run tours. They may also run positive-impact activities like beach clean-ups.
8. Give back
Does your hotel support a local charity? Consider making a donation, or offering your services for free if you have a skill they may be able to use.
9. Reuse your pool towel
Save unnecessary laundering by taking your pool towel back to your room at the end of the day to reuse, if the hotel allows it.
10. Bring your water bottle to the gym & spa
Hotel gyms and spas are notorious for single-use plastic cups. Bring your own bottle to avoid being caught out.
11. Research tipping etiquette
As difficult as it can be for non-tipping cultures to accept, housekeeping staff in countries with a low minimum wage (including the US) rely on their tips. Responsible tipping guides are easily found online, and ask at reception if not sure.
12. Speak up
Perhaps you hung up your bath towels and housekeeping laundered them anyway, contravening the hotel’s environmental policy. Or maybe the hotel bartender had an affinity for plastic straws. Raising your concerns with the manager may help to instigate change.
13. Share the win
Did you have an incredible experience (or otherwise) at a hotel? Tell your peers and write a fair online review to help other sustainable-minded travellers make informed decisions about the hotels they choose to support.
Main images thanks to Como Shambala.
Other images thanks to Alilia Hotels and Resorts.
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