But if you procrastinate or prefer to wait for last minute deals, there are ways to still plan a more ‘green’ vacation. There are many ‘green hotel’ certifications and the degrees to which accommodations are Eco-friendly vary greatly. I believe that being energy efficient and recycling isn’t green at all, it is called common sense and financial savvy. But there are places that go above and beyond to provide you with non-toxic bedding, finish materials, and cleaning services. Of course that often comes at a price. If that’s something you can’t afford, the best Eco vacation is a week of camping and being close to nature! Something I am looking forward to with older kids, not exactly ideal with toddlers or infants. Here are some places to get you started on your search.
- KOA: Find convenient camp grounds all across the U.S. with amenities to make your stay a little more comfortable than back woods camping.
- Camping-USA: A directory of campgrounds all across the country.
- iStayGreen: a directory of mostly chain hotels that are ‘on a green journey’ but by no means there. Some can never really be green because of sheer size. A lot of the smaller, truly Eco-friendly hotels are not here.
- Kimpton Hotels: Luxury hotels on the greener side that actually use non-toxic cleaners and go as far as providing local and organic food fare.
- BnBScape: Eco-friendly Bed & Breakfast spots across the country.
- Eco Rooms: Round up of the some of the greenest hotels picked with rigorous criteria.
- Green Seal certified hotels: Hotels vary from bronze, silver, to gold certification for how non-toxic they are and the materials they use.
- Green Lodge: Currently 706 green U.S. hotels in the directory. You need to sign up for free membership to search the directory.
- Eco-Hotels of the World: Not the biggest guide, but has some of the best, less known green hotels.
- It’s a Green World: Some really great Eco spots to stay all around the world, a gem of a website.
- Eco-Friendly B&B and Inns: Not sure what criteria these were picked by, but there are some great quaint places on the list. Notice that some B&Bs do not allow small children.
For more expensive hotels you can often negotiate a great last minute rate by calling them directly or book an off-season week if you are flexible. Keep in mind that even though there are many big name hotels in these directories, you can’t expect ‘true greenness’ from them. You will not avoid chemicals or have an organic breakfast. Generally, the smaller the hotel, the more chances they are more aware of the impact on health and the environment with the products they use. If you can score an organic breakfast with farm fresh eggs, you’ve hit the jackpot!