Welcome back to the travel series! You can find part one, two and three on the home page, but this week, part four, is all about sustainable accommodation. Admittedly, the next few weeks will be a bit hectic for Moo and I as we gradually migrate south to Melbourne, however, having the sudden need to make an accommodation booking, this post has come at a timely point. The point being, we were on the lookout for (legitimate) sustainable accommodation and even I didn’t know where to look!
Okay, so I need to be honest, Moo and I really need to up our sustainable accommodation game and on our year abroad, we mostly used airbnb to curb the waste issues that are notoriously associated with staying at hotels. But I get it, there’s more we could do.
On the flip side, when we did use airbnb, we avoided abodes run by property management companies and opted instead for homes managed by owners. Airbnb is a sustainable option, particularly when the property uses solar energy, efficient lighting and water systems, but not all listings are equal. This is where it gets confusing, even for me.
Another option we use to find sustainable accommodation is to house sit. By now you’ve heard me wax poetic about how great trusted housesitters is and how much we’ve enjoyed it. For a little over $100 AUD for annual membership, we secured a months accommodation in South Africa, a month in Barbados and ten days on Baja California in Mexico. We were able to support local businesses, produce markets, recycle our waste (we even hand delivered our recycled goods at the depot in Barbados.) We used rain water and we were even able to live off the land, so to speak, given one of the houses had its own veggie garden.
Other sites we used were booking.com and hostelworld.com when we needed to be somewhere specific, like near the airport in Panama City or during our city stay in Rio de Janeiro.
Since we’ve been back in Australia, I’ve done a lot more research on where to go to find sustainable accommodation. Because honestly, it’s not easy to find, even for us! So, from here I’ve made a list.
Websites you can use (now!) for sustainable accommodation in Australia:
(Note: the below aren’t just for Australian properties, but they were the only one’s I could find that offered Australian properties.)
Green Getaways is an Australian born website that supports and promotes ecotourism accommodation. Most of their listings are high quality boutique accommodation in Australia, but that’s not to say it’s all out-of-our-league luxury, there are a few affordable options too. Listings are selected based on a criteria including their energy, chemical and water use, recycling, building materials used and their involvement in community projects. Each listing has a transparent review of it’s environmental credentials so you can understand just what goes on behind the scenes to make up the properties eco-status.
Founded in Italy, ecobnb.com aims to convert existing airbnb users with more sustainable options. What’s great (and different) about this site is the ability to filter specific environmental aspects you’re looking for. For example: if you’re most interested in properties that have their own bicycle rental service or only use organic and local produce. You can get incredibly specific and detailed results in your search. The criteria isn’t as strict as greengetaways.com, but at least there are a lot more varied and affordable options.
Talk about a web-based destination for responsible tourism fans, this website is gorgeous!! Each of the listings are categorised by niche aspirations, (such as; yoga, beach, nature, equestrian (!), foodie and off the beaten track) and they’re rated on three specific criteria: Green, Fair & Supportive. What attracted me most to this site is that it’s very relatable, and while the properties listed do lend themselves to being on the pricey end of things, there are a few reasonably priced listings too.
Websites to use for when you’re travelling to Europe:
The three below mostly list properties in Italy, Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Slovenia.
Another site that offers worldwide listings is:
Boasting the ‘world’s leading online travel agent for responsible tourism’, bookdifferent.com is a social enterprise, committed to making travel better. One thing I would consider before using this site is to make sure the property you’re after has been given the green tick of approval (I noticed a few listings that were yet to be rated).
Sadly, I couldn’t find a website that was exclusively for properties in the Americas or Africa – so if you find any let me know and I will add them to this list.
Lastly, for those playing along, next week is our last week in Newcastle (we’ve been living there for two and a half months already!!) before making our way to Canberra, then Cootamundra and then eventually Melbourne. Alas, we’ve resorted to using airbnb for our initial accommodation in Melbourne. Given the majority of places listed on the above websites are holiday destinations, we can’t really justify the expense of a sustainable hotel for two weeks while we frantically find somewhere to live.
For our upcoming trip to Canberra, I used greengetaways.com to find a sustainable hotel (the Osovo Nishi.) I will no doubt update you on the experience in due course.
Until then xo