4 reasons why travellers should love eco-hostels

When researching hostels, there are a few common things that we all look for – location, price, availability and atmosphere. Should we start adding ‘eco-friendly’ to our list? I know what you are thinking – eco-hostels have to be really expensive, vegan, and without TV’s or WiFi. Well, think again. Here are 4 reasons why travellers should love eco-hostels and they might just surprise you!

Eco-Hostels are unique!

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Many eco-hostels are built from recycled materials or are adapted in a unique way to perfectly suit their natural environment. In Ghent, Belgium, you can stay at Ecohostel Andromeda in a converted barge that is carbon neutral and even has its own water purification system!

My favourite eco-hostel has to be YHA Sydney Harbour, which has actually been built in Australia’s largest urban archaeological dig! That’s right, IN an archaeological dig! The hostel is built on stilts with the dig underneath the building and its design means that you are able to view the dig throughout the building. They have created unique artwork to represent the story that has been uncovered through these digs including a horse, sheep and chickens, all of which provided for the families who lived on this land. The sense of history in this hostel is just incredible and it is a great way to learn more about Sydney without even leaving your hostel.

Eco-Hostels DON’T mean giving up comfort

Just because a hostel is eco-friendly doesn’t mean that you have to give up the modern technology and comfort that you are used to.

In New Mexico, USA, you can spend the night in an Earthship. What is an Earthship? Well, it is a house made from recycled materials, solar panels, water collection, and even a greenhouse! All of this and WiFi, Netflix and plush beds – what’s not to love! These houses are truly sustainable modern homes complete with growing food, jungle greenhouse, fish pond and fireplace – everything that you need for a luxurious holiday.

Eco-Hostels mean getting lost in nature

One of the best things about eco-hostels is that they are perfectly suited to their natural environment. While there are many incredible eco-hostels in urban environments, there really is nothing quite like escaping into the wilderness and getting lost amongst wildlife, rainforests, mountains or waterfalls. After all, we all want to get back to nature sooner or later.

Chepu Adventures run a lodge that is in a spectacular location in northern Patagonia, facing wetlands that are teeming with birds and animals. This award-winning lodge uses alternative energy, solar showers and promotes low-impact activities within the surrounding environment. Take an early morning kayak and keep your eyes peeled for the Southern River Otter, one of the rarest otters in the world!

Eco-Hostels help you to connect with a community

At the heart of many eco-hostel’s is their strong ties with the local community. As well as sourcing local products and hiring local staff, many hostels have projects that directly benefit the community.

Bulungula Backpackers near Qunu, South Africa is a collection of 10 huts run completely on solar power. The lodge is 100% owned by the Nqileni village and they are committed to making visitors feel welcome. You can join local fisherman as they catch crayfish and octopus, hear incredible stories from the community elders, or wander through the local forest with the traditional herbalist to learn about the natural remedies that can be found nearby. This hostel has to be number one my bucket-list!

My hope is that one day the big hostel and hotel search engines will include the option to search by environmental rating, maybe then more people will give eco-hostels a try!

Thank you to YHA Sydney Harbour for hosting me during my stay. The opinions expressed in this article are my own and have not been influenced in any way.

So, what do you think? Are you convinced? Have you stayed in an eco-hostel before and loved or hated it?

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15 Comments
Claire

Love this post – I completely agree, eco-hostels are the way forward and a great way to be more responsible when travelling around the world 🙂 I especially like how they help local communities – too much of the time travel is destroying this, so it’s great to see nature and people actually benefitting from these eco hostels! Thanks for a great post

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Grassroots Nomad

Hi Claire – thanks so much for your comment. Have you been to any particularly good eco-hostels? I might have to do a follow up later with more places!

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Grassroots Nomad

Aww Nikki I’m so glad you found it too!! I hope you enjoy more posts in the future!

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John Williams (@eurapart)

Hostels, especially locally owned and run are a responsible choice in any event, looking for an Eco-Hostel is a good idea, but avoiding hotels, meat, air freighted vegetables, and high carbon transport will make a much bigger ecological contribution. The ecological footprint of a stay in a hostel is lower than most other types of accommodation. This page from Green Tourism demonstrates this fact:
http://www.green-tourism.com/about/the-benefits-of-green-tourism-for-the-planet/

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LC

Eco-hostels are rad. It’s heartening to see more and more of them popping up across the globe.

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Lina

I would love to talk to few eco hostel owners as I would like to build one myself! 😉 is there a group please?

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Grassroots Nomad

Hi Lina, unfortunately I don’t know of any groups you can join but maybe there are some of Facebook? Good luck with the hostel and don’t forget to invite me to the grand opening!!

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Kevin Wagar

It’s amazing how so many eco-hostels and hotels are able to create such amazing environments with minimal impact to their environment. It’s a shame more companies don’t follow suit.

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Grassroots Nomad

I agree, Kevin, although I think it is become a bit more common especially for new builds.

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Hung Thai [Up Up and a Bear]

You’re exactly right about eco-hotels/hostels not giving up comfort. I’ve stayed in some really swanky hotels and eco-friendly cheaper place and honestly they can sometime be the same. And when I say that I mean the customer service in these smaller hotels are more personal and they tend to you with better care.

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Grassroots Nomad

So true! The smaller eco-hotels often have more of a personal and community feel to them. Where was your favourite eco-friendly hostel?

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