Summer is here! Although the UK wouldn't have you believe it based on the mercurial weather, it is time for us to be booking up vacations away and enjoying the sights that the world has to offer. Whether you're a beach-dweller, a city-explorer, or are after something more action-oriented like a ski-trip, we've got you covered when it comes to having an eco-friendly holiday.
First and foremost, we recommend Airbnb. Not only is the Silicon Valley startup a great way to truly experience a local culture, it's also inherently more eco-friendly...
Homeshare holidays are more environmentally-friendly, period
A recent study by the Cleantech Group evaluated the environmental impact of Airbnb properties against traditional hotels. Factors such as greenhouse gas emissions, energy usage, and water usage were taken into account, and Airbnb comes out on top every time.
A few fun facts include:
- Airbnb properties consume a whopping 78% less energy than hotels
- Airbnb properties also produce 89% fewer greenhouse gas emissions in comparison with hotels
- Airbnb properties consume 48% less water than hotels
- 89% of Airbnb hosts provide recycling options for their guests
- Tourists staying in Airbnb properties are actually 10-15% more likely to use public transport, walk and bike around their location
James McClure, General Manager of Airbnb for the UK and Ireland said “Having taken a closer look at the environmental impacts of home sharing, we have found that not only does home sharing result in significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, it also encourages key environmental awareness among our community. Airbnb’s new model of sustainable tourism helps conserve rare and precious resources even as we continue to grow. From Bristol to Bali, we are committed to fight for Earth Day in every corner of the world.”
But some properties have gone that little bit further to provide an all-round eco-friendly experience. Here are five favourites...
Top five eco-friendly Airbnb properties
5. Villa Aalaya - Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
"Villa Aalaya" is Sanskrit for "home" and everything about this property will indeed make you feel at home. A villa made up of 3 separate antique teak buildings: the Joglo, the Limasan, and the Gladak. Each is lovingly decorated, with teak furniture and open plan spaces.
It's a family home, complete with several bedrooms and amenities ranging from the simple and basic necessities to the luxurious, such as a spa and infinity pool.
The surrounding area is stunning too. From the villa, you can see forests, rice fields, and a gorge, and Ubud is just a short walk away.
4. The Container Home - Palma de Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain
Palma de Mallorca is home to a fascinating little... well, home. A completely unique experience - this house is constructed out of modular shipping containers, and is quite a marvel to look at.
Internally, it's bright and surprisingly spacious, with natural light filling the rooms at every available opportunity. It's stylishly decorated with a modern kitchen and a breakfast bar, whilst a circular staircase leads you up to a bedroom with a massive window looking out on the town.
Outside is a table for sunny evening paellas, and a small pool to relax in when the midday sun comes about.
3. The Rustic Modern House - Portland, Oregon, US
What kind of list would this be if it didn't have an entry from Portland? Yup, Portland is among the greenest places to live in the US, and this entry is probably the greenest place in Portland!
This tiny house actually holds just one large room, so is more of a bedsit, but would be a great getaway for a couple looking to experience the city. Most of the furniture and decorations have been reclaimed and recycled. Even the flooring was sourced from construction jobs where it had been leftover. This property is a real labour of love, having been literally built from the ground up by the owners and their friends. They'll even provide you with bikes to use whilst you stay. Go on, ya hipster.
2. Rainforest Tree House - Cooper, Alajuela, Costa Rica
The cheapest stay on our list, and arguably the most impressive. This suspended tree house is situated in the heart of the Bio Thermales rainforest, renowned for its hot springs. Blissfully isolated from civilisation, guests can enjoy the lush trails of the 35 acre forest and the hot springs it holds.
For longer trips, the town of Fortuna isn't far, and visitors must see the stunning and active Volcano Arenal.
Amenities are limited here, it should be noted. Don't expect many of the luxuries you may be used to from city locations. This is a 'getaway' in every sense of the word, but the beautiful surroundings will demand every second of your attention whilst you're there.
1. The Recycled House - Charlottesville, Virginia, US
Right, a round of applause for Debra, owner of the recycled house. This is possibly the most recycled building I have ever seen. Pretty much everything in the house has been repurposed, with it taking over six years to get the materials together for the building. Yikes.
With downtown Charlottesville just a few blocks away, this truly is a unique set-up within the hustle and bustle of an urban area. It accommodates six, so would be perfect whether you're going as a couple, a family, or a group of friends.
It captures the true essence of Airbnb - creative, stunning accommodation which simply could not be provided by a hotel chain, and has only been made possible by years of love and hard work being poured into the property. Truly, one of a kind.
A big thanks to Plastic Expert for providing the research for this article.