Best Apps & Sites For Finding Ethical Accommodation

Image courtesy of monticello via Shutterstock.

Image courtesy of monticello via Shutterstock.

In the last few years, accommodation options for travelers have exploded in number. Gone are the days when hotels and hostels were the only options for finding a place to rest your head. From homestays to Couchsurfing to glamping to the green hotel, the possibilities for staying in ethical accommodation are endless; however, with the surplus of less-than-spotless options out there, it can be difficult to know where to look to find a room that benefits local communities, visitors, staff and the environment.

Here are some of the top apps and websites for finding ethical accommodation and a green hotel: 

Image courtesy of Ethical Escape.

Image courtesy of Ethical Escape.

1 . Ethical Escape

Ethical Escape’s mission is a simple one: to provide information on ethical accommodation, transport, sightseeing, health and insurance options for locations all over the world. It’s a bit of a one-stop site for the ethical traveler, however the accommodation listings are its strongest point. Just scroll to the bottom of the page and choose your location, to find listings on socially and environmentally-friendly places to stay during your trip.

Image courtesy of WWOOF.

Image courtesy of WWOOF.

2. World Wide Opportunities On Organic Farms

The ethical dimensions of WWOOF are numerous: the service offers up lodgings in organic and small-scale local farms in hundreds of locations across the globe, where visitors pay with volunteer labor (usually 4-6 hours per day) to help out farmers and receive free food and board. Visitors meet new people, help out locals and save money. Hosts benefit from volunteering to run farms, often with their families, which practice organic, biodynamic and sustainable agricultural practice. It’s a bit of a win-win situation.

Image courtesy of Glamping Hub.

Image courtesy of Glamping Hub.

3. Glamping Hub

Naturally, traditional camping (as long as you’re thoughtful about your fuel and waste production and don’t leave anything behind) is the epitome of green accommodation. But if you’re looking for something a little more luxurious, while still soaking up the surrounds of a forest, beachside or lakefront setting, then Glamping Hub is an excellent alternative to the humble tent. You can choose from caravans, yurts, tipis and tree houses, but for environmentally sound options, you can’t go past their eco-pods. Energy efficient and made from local and sustainable resources, they leave only the tiniest of footprints on the environment around them.

Image courtesy of Airbnb.

Image courtesy of Airbnb.

4. Airbnb

We know, we know, you already know this one. But for straightforward accommodation bookings that link you up with locals, you can’t go past Airbnb. Of course, there’s a central booking fee that goes to the company, but for the most part, your money goes straight to your host, and provides a much-needed source of income for countless people. Far better than handing over money to a multinational hotel company. Plus, if you’re passionate about the environment, just read through each host’s property description: if the place is eco-friendly, it will quickly become apparent (plus you can always ask).

Image courtesy of HomeExchange.

Image courtesy of HomeExchange.

5. Home Exchange

Are you heading abroad for a while and leaving your home unoccupied? Instead of paying a middle man to rent it out and paying in turn for accommodation in your new location, you can use Home Exchange to find a home swap with someone in the opposite situation. This works particularly well for swaps between popular cities (Paris <> London and New York <> San Francisco are especially popular matches) but it’s worth a shot wherever your home is located.

Image courtesy of Green Globe.

Image courtesy of Green Globe.

6. Green Globe

Sporting a vast range of hotels, resorts and conference centers, Green Globe caters to a more luxurious travel style than Glamping Hub or WWOOF. But this sleek little app is committed to the environmentally-friendly: all its accommodation options are certified as sustainable, according to over 40 criteria and individual inspections, so you can be sure that your choice is as green as can be.

What are your favorite apps and sites for discovering ethical accommodation while traveling? Please share in the comments below.

Recommended:

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The Way of Wanderlust: The Best Travel Writing of Don George by Don George [Great Reads]

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Jessica Festa

Jessica Festa is the editor of Epicure & Culture as well as Jessie on a Journey. She enjoys getting lost in new cities and having experiences you don’t read about in guidebooks. Some of her favorite travel experiences have been teaching English in Thailand, trekking her way through South America, backpacking Europe solo, road tripping through Australia, agritouring through Tuscany, and volunteering in Ghana.

2 Comments

    1. @Ali: We’re Airbnb fans, as well. Great way to get to meet and live like a local. I (the Epicure & Culture editor) actually run an Airbnb in Brooklyn. I have a guy from France staying over as we speak.

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