tips for a greener hotel stay

Tips for a Greener Hotel Stay

July 17, 2019

Want to take your earth-friendly actions with you on vacation? It’s easier than you think. I have a few tips for a greener hotel stay when you’re on vacation.

They’re all pretty simple to do and most cost you nothing extra. In fact, they might even save you a few dollars. I mean, who doesn’t want to save a little money and save the planet while on vacation, right?

These are my top tips for a greener hotel stay

Do Not Disturb

This is my absolute, number one tip. Put your “Do Not Disturb” sign on the outside of your door for your entire hotel stay. As long as that sucker is hanging on your doorknob, housekeeping won’t enter.

In some ways, this makes almost all of the other tips below null and void. That “do not disturb” sign will prevent a lot of the unwanted and unneeded waste that goes on at hotels.

Keep reading anyway.

Manage Your Thermostat Mindfully

Every time I walk into a hotel room for the first time, it’s usually like walking into a deep storage freezer. Does the room really have to be that cold? No. Most hotel thermostats are set to 68 degrees for A/C. That’s kind of ridiculous.

First because that temperature is far colder than your body needs or even should be feeling when the temperature outside is in the 80’s or 90’s (or higher). It’s not particularly healthy for your system. It’s also not healthy for the planet. To keep the A/C going at that temperature at all hours is a huge electricity drain.

One option would be to raise the temp to 75 degrees, if you need the A/C on. If you don’t, shut it off. You should also, always shut the A/C off when you’re not going to be in the hotel room.

The point is that the A/C doesn’t have to be so low. And you have the ability to change that.

Pass on the Bottled Water

In the past few years, I’ve noticed that hotels have been offering complimentary bottles of water when you check-in to your room. I don’t really know why they think this is a great bonus, but for some reason they do.

Just say no to the bottled water.

BYOBW instead — as in, bring your own bottle of water instead. Your own reusable bottle, that is. Lots of hotels have those cool water bottle fill stations. Some still are only equipped with water fountains. No matter what, you will be doing the planet a favor if you refuse and keep refusing bottled water.
And if you’d like a bonus activity, contact the hotel and ask them to stop giving away bottled water and perhaps giveaway reusable water bottles instead. Non-plastic, of course.

Bring Your Own Snacks

Don’t be a slave to the vending machines in hotels and their single serving treats. Bring your own snacks and save some plastic.

When you pack your own snacks, you’re saving a little money, too because those vending machine snacks are pricey for what they are. Bonus!

Use One Trash Can

I know this seems both silly and simple, but here’s the thing: your hotel room will have like 20 trash cans. One in the bathroom, one in the kitchen area, one next to the desk, one in the bedroom, and sometimes a random one somewhere else. I mean, how many trash cans does a hotel room need?

Thing is, if you use all of the trash cans, even if you don’t use the “do not disturb” sign, when the people come to clean your room, they’ll empty all of the trash cans you use by pulling up the plastic bag tied around the trash can and dump it into a larger plastic bag that will go onto a landfill and never decompose.

While you might not be able to completely eliminate all of your trash, if you pick just one trash can to use, then you’ll prevent those other trash bags from being dumped — at least during your stay.

A note about recycling: If there is a recycling bin in your room, use it. If there isn’t, haul your recyclables with you, if you can. Most grocery stores have recycling. So does Walmart. Usually you can find a place to bring your recyclables if your hotel doesn’t do this.

Bring your own toiletries

I mean listen, it’s great that hotels offer these. When you’re in a pinch, they can be useful. They’re also tiny plastic containers, often not actually recyclable themselves. And usually the quality of the shampoo/conditioner/soap is questionable.

If you travel regularly, you can get your own reusable shampoo and conditioner containers that are even TSA-friendly.

If you absolutely must use those hotel shampoo, bring it home with you and use it on your next trip. And refill it with your own shampoo/conditioner/soap.


These are my top 6 tips for a greener hotel stay.

I do want to note that there are some great hotels out there offering really earth-friendly options and practices these days. For example, you can have your room tidied, but opt to not have the towels or sheets washed by setting out a card on your bed or in the bathroom. This is a wonderful step forward and I applaud these hotels for taking action to better support the planet.

We can just help them out a bit.


Got some tips of your own to share? Leave them in the comments below!

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