Let’s face it, as much as we love camping, hostels, and eco-lodges sometimes a hotel is the most reasonable option. Luckily, even when staying at the least environmentally-friendly hotel you have a lot of control over your environmental impact. Here are 11 of our favorite tips and tricks for being a little friendlier to Mother Earth during your next hotel stay:
- Unplug, unplug, unplug. The first thing you should do when you walk into a hotel room is unplug. 5 lamps? Unplug 4. Mini-fridge? Unless you’ve brought a turkey and mayo sandwich, unplug. Coffee maker? Unplug. Hair dryer? Unplug. Appliances drain energy even when they’re not on. If you just spend 2 minutes unplugging items you will already have made a difference.
- Hang your towel. In my experience housekeeping is haphazard in their pledge to “save the environment one towel at a time.” Most times I hang the towel and come back later to find they’ve replaced it anyway; but about 50% of the time they leave it for me.
- Move the soap. An easy trick to reduce your waste is to bring the bar of soap with you to the shower when you shower and leave it by the sink the rest of the time. Seriously, when was the last time you used two full bars of soap at a hotel? (Or even one full bar?)
- Stick the “Do not Disturb” on your door. Or just call housekeeping and tell them you won’t need their services during your stay. To prevent the hotel from wasting water by changing your sheets and towels, wasting electricity by vacuuming, and spraying harsh chemicals all over your toothbrush, just ask them to refrain from cleaning your room during your stay.
- Adjust the thermostat. By lowering the temperature by 2 degrees in the winter or raising it by 2 in the summer you will save a lot of energy. And you won’t notice the difference.
- When you leave the room turn everything off:
- Thermostat (if the weather is mild)
- Flush less frequently. No need to flush every time. Practice the “if it’s brown flush it down, if it’s yellow let it mellow” rule.
- Bring your own toiletries. I personally know the pains of the 3 oz of liquids on planes rule. A liter of genuine, carried-back-from-Ireland Whiskey was confiscated from us on a 6 am flight the day the emergency (and now permanent) rule came down. True story. But think of all of the plastics that are used to create tiny bottles of shampoo and conditioner. And all of the extra packaging in luxury hotel items. Plus, by bringing your own shampoo you can prevent a bad hair day from bad shampoo.
- Take shorter showers. Sometimes a long, hot shower feels incredible. But do you need that every day? The average US shower head spits out about 2.5 gallons per minute, which means in a 15 minute shower you use nearly 40 gallons of water. Yikes!
- Leave the pen (and other freebies) behind. I don’t know why, but I’m a sucker for free pens. Even the crappy ones that explode in my purse on the airplane ride home. Do the earth a favor and leave these items behind.
- Recycle. Find out if the hotel recycles. If they do, ask if they separate it out from waste-bins. If they don’t, take your free USA Today and empty cans and bottles and toss them in an extra pocket in your suitcase to recycle later. They weigh almost nothing.
photo credit: trekkyandy
What tips or tricks do you have that help you be a (more) responsible hotel-goer?
11 Tips and Tricks for Greening your Hotel Stay is the sixteenth post in Go Green Travel Green’s 25 Days to Green Travel series. You can see the complete list of articles in the 25 Days to Green Travel Index. If you haven’t already, subscribe to our feed (also available via email) and stay up to date.
- 11 Best Tips for Packing Light: 25 Days to Green Travel, Day 9
- Tips for Healthy Water Abroad: 25 Days to Green Travel, Day 14
- Ultimate Guide to Thrift Store Shopping: 34 Tips and Tricks for Travelers
- How to Find Green Accommodations: 25 Days to Green Travel, Day 12
- Very Un-Green Hotel Amenities: 3 items, 4 pieces of packaging