Dragonflies on an upcycled wooden cigar box – an interesting amalgam of ideas, materials and messages….This steampunk inspired handmade bag is neatly lined with upholstery fabric. The satin cord handle measure 24″ – the bag measures 7 x 7 3/4 x 3″
$95 @ thesteampunktrunk’s esty shop
These days, the cost of eco-friendly accommodations demands a premium more often than not. Organic sheets? Check. (And 1,000 thread count, natch.) All-natural, in-room soda and fair-trade tea? Of course. (To sip out of beveled designer glassware.) Recycled paper products? No doubt. (Right there next to the iPod docking station.)
Since when, we wonder, did going green when traveling require so much green? A true environmentalist will dub travel itself a carbon-culprit and might suggest a “staycation.” But we know that the globetrotters among us require more than a backyard sleepover. To get the most bang for your buck while keeping the planet in mind, we suggest the following economical eco tips.
Skip the Hotel
How long has it been since you pitched a tent? Find a park by you (many are upping their sustainability practices) that allows camping and take a few days to hike the trails, enjoy the view, and leave nothing but footprints. Not even a pricey resort can offer views like you’ll find here—just make sure your safari treks are led by a professional.
Stay at a B&B
When you stay at a bed and breakfast you’re supporting your destination at a community level rather than funneling your travel monies into a mega hotel chain. For a completely eco and affordable experience, choose a B&B that caters to alternative consumers like Pilgrim’s Inn or Strawberry Creek @ www.bnbscape.com. (Update: Link removed)
It might sound obvious, but traveling off-season gets you a better deal and in third-world countries, it also helps to keep the local community and tourism-based economies healthy throughout the year. It’s during the slow months that tourist-funded conservation and wildlife programs and industry-employed locals suffer.
Reuse and Recycle
By now most budget hotels are offering linen reuse programs. No matter where you stay, conserve water and energy by hanging your towel to reuse more than once. Stash those travel-sized toiletries too. Most of the time, housekeeping rules mandate placing new bottles in a room after every stay. If you won’t be using them, donate the goods to a local shelter.
Explore and Experience
Tours and activities add up quickly, especially when they’re marketed toward travelers. Skip the fancy programs and hook up with a local biking club for a true tour of the city. Other freebies that are just as exciting—and free? A stroll around the farmer’s market or self-guided tour of the city’s historic graveyards and monuments. One example of a free service linking international travelers is www.HerMail.net, created for women who want to ask questions, solicit free advice or meet up for coffee with a travel-loving local.
Find eco accommodations at www.GreenHotels.com, www.iStayGreen.org, and www.SustainableTravelInternational.org.
(Update: some links removed)