European travel can be exciting, invigorating, and eye-opening. For those of us from abroad, the confluence of European history, culture, and diversity is very appealing. But travel has its environmental costs, too, and many of us have started to be conscious of how the trips we take cause environmental impacts. Well, TravelSupermarket, an online travel assist website, has compiled thousands of customer reviews to figure which top European eco-hotels meet the highest ecological standards. Now we can plan our next European holiday with a clean, green conscience.
What’s an “Eco-Friendly” Hotel?
First, you need to know what an “eco-friendly” hotel is. Eco-friendly hotels engage in a range of environmentally friendly practices, from using water saving taps and recycled furniture to installing bee hives and lavender fields on the roof. If you’re thinking about traveling and want to be eco-friendly as you make you choices where to visit, here are some TravelSupermarket tips to be more eco-friendly on holiday:
1. Book non-stop flights – take-off requires the most fuel, as much as 25% for short flights, so when planning the most fuel-efficient route, go straight from A to B wherever possible.
2. Rent a hybrid or electric vehicle – this is an easy way to reduce your carbon footprint on holiday, especially if you’re planning a road trip.
3. Ask your hotel about their sustainability programs and if they use local resources – the more that guests demand this kind of information, the higher a priority it will be.
4. Turn off the AC – air conditioning units tend to consume huge amounts of electricity and in some countries cooling units still use HCFCs which deplete the ozone layer.
5. Does your room really need to be cleaned every day? Ask your hotel to skip a few days to reduce chemical and energy usage, better yet, leave your do not disturb sign out for your entire stay!
6. Buy locally made products – compared to those which have been imported, local products have a much lower carbon footprint and help to support local economies. You’ll also be far more likely to find something unique when purchasing local wares.
7. Take a re-usable bag – single-use plastic bags are still in common use around the world and they contribute significantly to non-biodegradable waste. Carry your own re-useable bag and help the world cut down on its one-trillion-bags-a-year habit.
8. Don’t touch the coral reefs – coral are fragile animals and even the slightest touch can cause irreparable harm or even death. Watch out for your fins and other dive equipment and never be tempted to break off a piece – the damage you do could take decades to repair.
9. Never feed the wildlife – feeding local wildlife can make them dependent on humans and may even lead animals to attack in search of food.
10. Transport yourself – for short journeys why not walk, cycle or row rather than taking motorised transport.
Top European Eco-Hotels: Common Elements
As you see from the infographic below, an eco-friendly stay offers lots of green consciousness. Bern, Switzerland has hotels that use heat recovery systems, so that machinery helps to provide warm indoor spaces. Helsinki, Finland is a region surrounded by lovely forests and shoreline, and it has a hotel that serves only sustainably-caught seafood. How about bedroom sensors that self-adjust in Luxembourg City? Or a passive solar building in Vienna?
Check out these and other eco-friendly hotel features in Europe — and plan your next vacation with eco peace-of-mind.
Photo on Foter.com