Green Travel: Eco-Friendly Hotels

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Taking a vacation doesn’t have to mean taking a break from a green lifestyle. Swap your own green home for equally eco-friendly lodging. 

Many hotels use environmentally conscious practices. They’re no longer delivering newspapers to each room. They’re composting to get rid of waste. Some even use solar or hydro energy systems. 

Green hotel solar panels
Traveling away from home doesn’t have to mean giving up sustainable practices. Many hotels offer eco-friendly aspects, from recycling to solar-powered energy. Photo Courtesy Shell Vacations Hospitality.

When researching hotels, be sure to ask questions. Some things to ask: 

• Does the hotel have a recycling program? 

• Will you have the option to reuse towels and sheets? 

• Does the hotel use energy-efficient lighting, alternative energy sources or low-flow toilets and showers? 

• Do you use nontoxic cleaners? 

• Is the hotel close to public transportation? 

If you’re unsure where to start, check out Environmentally Friendly Hotels. This website lets you search for green hotels by location, hotel name and specific environmental issues such as towel and sheet programs, graywater recycling, alternative energy use and many other options. With more than 3,000 listed hotels, you’re sure to find something where you’re going. 

Green Hotels Association and Green Hotel Reviews also offer a list of eco-friendly hotels in the United States, although their selection is somewhat limited in comparison to Environmentally Friendly Hotels. 

You can also take steps to ensure your stay is eco-friendly: 

• Bring own soap and shampoo so you don’t have to use the plastic hotel toiletries. 

• Be sure to hang your towels up so the cleaning staff knows you want to reuse them. 

• Take along solar chargers for your portable appliances. 

• Stick to your green habits! 

Have you stayed in an eco-friendly hotel? Leave a comment describing your experience and how you discovered your green lodging.