Tread Lightly: How to Find Sustainable Hotels to Stay in During Your Travels

International tourism accounts for 8 percent of all carbon emissions worldwide.

While air travel is to blame for most of this, hotels also have a part to play. Luckily, it’s now a lot easier to stay in eco-accommodations.

Sustainable hotels and resorts aim to reduce their carbon footprint by incorporating more efficient heating, cooling, and lighting systems, reducing food waste, and using recycled or sustainable materials. 

But, how can you find these eco-resorts and hotels to ensure your next overnight stay is a sustainable one? Keep reading to find out. 

Check for Sustainability Credentials 

For environmentally-friendly resorts and hotels, your first port of call should be the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) website. 

The GSTC’s database has a full list of global destinations, hotels, and vendors that have attained certain standards in sustainability. Usually, GSTC-accredited hotels and resorts will also show a certification logo on their website. Make sure to check for this before booking hotel accommodation online. 

Browse the Website

If you’re considering a hotel that’s not listed on the GSTC database, go to the hotel’s website to investigate further. Some hotels may have sustainable policies in place but may not be on the GSTC list yet.

Eco-friendly hotels often spend a lot of time, energy, and money on adopting sustainable practices. As such, it’s likely that they’ll mention these on their website. Check for headings such as ‘Environment’, ‘Sustainability’, or ‘Responsible Travel’ to find out more. 

Investigate the Hotel’s Policies

A big challenge in finding sustainable travel options is the so-called ‘greenwashing’. This refers to the practice of claiming eco-credentials as a way to attract business but failing to deliver on these claims. 

Some hotel websites may refer to their sustainable status without going into details about their specific practices. In these cases, you should investigate a little further on social media or with a quick online search. 

Key features to look for in a responsible tourism policy include waste reduction, energy efficiency, and the hotel’s commitment to the local community. 

Contact the Hotel

Environmentally-friendly hotels should make it easy for their potential guests to learn of all the ways they contribute to sustainable travel. But if not, contacting the hotel via social media or by phone could be your only option to find out for sure. 

A good tactic is to ask about common hotel practices that contribute to inefficient or wasteful use of resources. 

For example, you could ask whether the hotel still uses single-use plastics and toiletries. Ask about their food options too, such as if they have a buffet and how they try to minimize food waste

How to Find Sustainable Hotels

With more of a focus on responsible tourism, it’s now easier to find sustainable hotels.

That said, it always pays to be vigilant and consider how these eco-resorts and hotels justify their sustainable status. 

For more information on environmental issues as well as breaking news from around the world, be sure to check out our other posts.