Essential questions for conscious travelers.
The series Places & Spaces could inspire even the most dedicated couch potato to pack a bag and hop a plane. The destinations featured are sustainable, but what about your average hotel claiming green sensitivity? The term is increasingly overused, so it’s important to ask questions. A well-informed traveler is a more conscious one, so ask the following before you commit your hard earned cash:
1. Do they use organic linens and bedding?
2. Can guests opt-out of daily maid service?
3. Do they use refillable hair and skincare dispensers (versus tiny plastic bottles)? And are the products organic?
4. Do they use recycled paper products, in-room and elsewhere?
5. Do they use energy efficient appliances and low-flow toilets?
6. Do they use non-toxic cleaners, paints and pesticides?
7. Are vegetarian and/or organic food choices available?
8. Do they compost food waste?
9. What are their recycle programs? Are they easily accessible to guests?
10. How do they contribute to the local community? Do they employ local people or work with local charities?
While you may not get a “yes” to every question, you’ll be able to make an informed choice and plan ahead. For example, if a hotel can’t meet one of your green criteria (i.e. eco-friendly tissues and toilet paper), maybe there’s a quick fix (bring your own or ask the concierge to provide it).
You can also do your part by taking shorter showers and turning off the television and heat or air conditioning before you leave your room.
Lastly, try to remember that any vacation, near or far from home, is a luxury. Slow down and make it meaningful; pay attention and be respectful. Leave your destination cleaner than you found it, and help our beautiful planet stay that way.
Image: Charles & Hudson