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How to Choose an Eco-Friendly Hotel

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Traveling is one of life’s little pleasures. Whether you’re going for business or pleasure, it’s always fun to step outside of your comfort zone and see a little more of the world. When you do so, you often need hotel accommodations. If you’re traveling with the environment in mind, you’ll select an eco-friendly hotel.

If eco-friendly travel is a priority for you, you’re not alone. According to a TripAdvisor survey, 62 percent of travelers consider the environmental impact when they choose a hotel. This means they research transportation, meals, and accommodations in any area to minimize their personal emissions.

Despite the overwhelming interest in green features, hotels often fail to advertise themselves as eco-friendly. The survey showed that 64 percent of responders don’t feel they have enough information about a hotel’s eco-friendly practices before booking. Additionally, 93 percent of survey takers said that they don’t try to confirm whether or not a hotel has green practices.

Hotels have a huge window of opportunity to capitalize on the green trend, but most don’t take it. For that reason, sustainable travelers must do their duty to learn more about a hotel’s green initiatives before booking. Here are some things to look for:

Choose a Central Location

Walkability is a prime key to a sustainable hotel. Transportation is currently one of the largest contributors to CO2 emissions, so by staying in a hotel that’s close to everything, you can cut down your own transportation effects during a vacation.

Research things to do in the area and choose a central location for your hotel. For example, if you’re traveling in Rome, use a comprehensive guide to Rome’s attractions to plan your trip. Then, choose a hotel that allows you to walk to most of the items on your list.

Call Ahead for Information

Once you’ve narrowed your potential hotel options, do a little digging into their eco-friendly practices. Occasionally, you can find information about sustainable involvement on their website. If not, call the hotel directly.

Ask about things like where their water comes from, if they get their products locally, the kind of energy used, and if they participate in towel reuse programs. If the front desk person doesn’t know the answers to these questions, ask to speak with a manager.

Read Reviews on Eco-Friendly Sites

Oftentimes, sites dedicated to sharing information on green practices and eco-friendly initiatives will offer information on popular hotels. Sites like TripAdvisor, Expedia, and Hotels.com allow visitors to leave reviews. You can learn a lot from what they say here.

You can also learn about resorts and hotels in popular destinations on eco-friendly news sites and blogs. They’ll often feature hotels that have won awards of excellence for their sustainable efforts. Subscribe to such blogs so you have the most current information on eco-friendly hotels.

Find the Green Button

When reading reviews on popular accommodations, look for green credentials. Travel and review sites are starting to offer a green rating service to show which hotels offer the most eco-friendly stay.

TripAdvisor – in partnership with Energy Star, the U.S. Green Building Council, and the UN Environment Program, for example – has a Green Leaders program that highlights the greenest hotels in the U.S. It rates them based on things like recycling, composting, water saving initiatives, energy sourcing, electric car stations, green roofing, and more.

If the hotel meets the pre-set criteria, a green button will appear on the page. You can also read reviews based on other hotel visitors’ experiences to make sure the hotel lives up to expectations.

Watch for Green Advertisements

Although most of the hotel industry fails to properly advertise their positive environmental impact, some will still take advantage of it. Watch for these advertisements, and make your choices accordingly.

You’ll probably run into a lot of these advertisements based on your past search history. Google and Facebook have algorithms that detect your browsing history and show you advertisements that you might like. The more you search for eco-friendly hotels in a specific location, the more advertisements you’ll see for it.

Note the Atmosphere

As you look through pictures of the hotel, note the decorations. Everything from the landscaping to the paintings can give you an idea of how a hotel values nature.

Paintings of nature, lush gardens, and other natural decorations can indicate a respect for the earth. If you’re familiar with eco-friendly materials, you might notice bamboo sheets and flooring and other sustainable materials throughout the hotel. These little hints will outline a hotel’s role in environmental matters.

Learn How They Give Back

Read blog posts, press releases, and Facebook posts to see how the hotel gives back to its community. Their participation can promote sustainability and responsibility in their neighborhood.

Although this might not be helpful in more urban populations, it can mean a great deal for hotels in areas that need conservation efforts like a rainforest or national park. Note how the hotel impacts the area, whether positively or negatively to make the best sustainable hotel choice.

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Want to Connect With Nature? Start by Disconnecting From Busyness

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Connect With Nature

Have you ever found yourself staring at one of your (many) devices and feeling slightly disgusted with how much time you waste on technology? If so, you aren’t alone. We all have moments like these and it’s important that we use them as motivation to change – especially if we want to be more connected with nature.

How Busyness Impacts Your Connection With Nature

Whether you realize it or not, you live an ultra connected life. Between smart phones, tablets, computers, and wearable devices, you’re never very far from some sort of technology that can connect you to the internet or put you in touch with other people. That’s just the world we live in.

While it could be argued that this sort of omnipresent connectivity is a positive thing, it’s also pretty clear that being permanently tethered to technology impacts our ability to strip away distractions and connect with nature.

When you’re always within arm’s reach of a device, you feel a sense of busyness.  Whether it’s browsing your social media feed, uploading a picture, reading the news, or responding to an email, there’s always something to do. As someone who wants to spend more time in nature, this is problematic.

4 Practical Ways to Disconnect

If you want to truly connect with nature and live a greener lifestyle, you have to be proactive about finding ways to disconnect. Here are a few practical suggestions:

1. Switch to a New Phone Plan

It’s not always practical to totally unplug from the world. Family and work responsibilities mean you can’t go off the grid and continue to fulfill your responsibilities. Having said that, there are some ways to scale back.

One suggestion is to switch to a prepaid phone plan. When you have a prepaid phone plan, you’re far less likely to spend hours and hours of your time making phone calls, sending texts, and surfing the web. It forces you to be more conscious of what you’re doing.

2. Get Rid of Social Media

Social media is one of the biggest time wasters for most people. Whether you realize it or not, it’s also a huge stressor. You’re constantly being exposed to the best snapshots of everyone else’s lives, which makes you feel like you’re missing out on something (even when you aren’t).

If you want to feel a sense of relief and free yourself up to spend more time in nature, get rid of social media. Don’t just delete the apps off your phone – actually disable your accounts. It’s a bold, yet necessary step.

3. Create Quiet Hours

If you aren’t able to get rid of social media and disable various online accounts, the next best thing you can do is establish quiet hours each day where you totally detach from technology. You should do this for a minimum of three hours per day for best results.

4. Build Community

Do you know why we’re drawn to social media and our devices? Whether consciously or subconsciously, it’s because we all want to be connected to other people. But do you know what’s better than connecting with people online? Connecting with them in person.

As you build real life, person-to-person relationships, you’ll feel less of a need to constantly have your eyes glued to a screen. Connect with other people who have an appreciation for nature and bond over your mutual interests.

Untether Your Life

If you find yourself constantly connected to a device, then this is probably a clear indicator that you aren’t living your best life. You certainly aren’t enjoying any sort of meaningful connection with nature. Now’s as good a time as any to untether your life and explore what a world free from cords, screens, and batteries is really like.

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Environment

6 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Move

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Moving can be a stressful and challenging time. No matter how many times you’ve done it in the past, the process of packing up, transporting, and unpacking isn’t very fun. It’s also not very eco-friendly. As you prepare for your next move, there are things you can do to ensure you leave less of a footprint behind.

6 Tips for a Greener Move

Because of the stress and pressure felt when moving, it’s pretty common for people to rush through the process and focus on getting it done. In fact, a lot of people take an “at all costs” approach; they’ll do whatever it takes to make the process as cheap and fast as possible. Don’t be one of those people. It doesn’t take much effort to turn a standard move into an eco-friendly move.

1. Maximize Each Trip

When moving across town, it’s imperative that you make as few trips as possible. Each trip requires more gas, more emissions, and more waste, and more time.

If you’re taking your personal vehicle, consider pulling a trailer behind it. You’d be surprised how much stuff you can fit into a small trailer. Not only will it make your move greener, but it’ll also save you a lot of time.

2. Donate Things You Don’t Want to Keep

The longer you live somewhere, the more junk you accumulate. This isn’t always obvious until you start packing for a big move. Instead of bringing all of these things with you to your next home, get rid of the stuff you don’t need! If the items are useful, donate them. If the items don’t have much value, toss them.

3. Reuse Moving Boxes

Not only are moving boxes expensive, but they’re also wasteful. If you need a bunch of cardboard boxes, consider looking around on Craigslist, asking friends, or checking the dumpsters behind stores. You can usually find a bunch of recycled boxes of all different shapes and sizes. Here are 12 places you can get them for free.

4. Get Creative With Packing

Who says you need moving boxes? You may find that it’s possible to do most of your move without all that cardboard. Things like storage containers, trashcans, filing cabinets, buckets, and dressers can all store items. Blankets and sheets can be used in lieu of bubble wrap to prevent your items from getting damaged.

5. Use Green Cleaning Supplies

Once you arrive at your new place, resist the urge to pull out a bunch of harsh chemicals to clean the place. You can do yourself (and the planet) a favor by using green cleaning supplies instead. Ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and ammonia are great to start with.

6. Forward Your Mail ASAP

Don’t delay in forwarding your mail from your previous address to your new one. Not only is it wasteful for the Postal Service to route your mail to a place where you don’t live, but the next owner is probably just going to toss your letters in the trash.

Moving Doesn’t Have to be Wasteful

Most people only move once every few years. Some people will go a decade or more without a move. As a result, the process of moving often feels strange and new. The less experience you have with it, the less likely it is that you’ll be as efficient as you should. But instead of just diving into the process blind, take some time to learn about what an eco-friendly move looks like. That way, you can leave behind the smallest footprint possible.

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