Upcycled accommodations: The most creative way to ecotravel

By Arran Wallace

Everyone's heard of recycling, but you might not have heard of upcycling. Whereas recycling extracts waste materials from something in order to be used again in the same way, upcycling is the process of using those waste materials to create something even better than what it was before. The graphic below from Hipcycle.com shows the difference between recyling and upcycling with a classic waste product—a wine bottle.

Upcycling is a great way to minimize our impact on the planet, as well as create something new and exciting, and our Glamping Hub hosts definitely agree. We have properties around the world that are crafted from a variety of different and unexpected materials—from a vintage Boeing airplane to repurposed boats that double as an ever-evolving art installation.

Check out some of our fantastic upcycled accommodations that will give you a creative way to embrace ecotravel.

U.S.

Upcycled Shipping Container Transformed into Luxury Accommodation, Florida

This creative accommodation in Florida is the perfect place for a truly unique glamping experience. It is made up of three, ocean-going shipping containers that were no longer able to be used and which would have otherwise been melted down. The exterior has a rustic feel, but the interior is anything but—with comfortable beds, a fully-equipped kitchen with a breakfast bar, and French doors that overlook the beautiful Loxahatchee River.

Eclectic Eco-Friendly Vacation Rental for Five in Round Top, Texas

This upcycled shipping container in Texas goes the extra mile by using old lumber from a Kentucky distillery, salvaged glass from a Philadelphia school, cabinets from a Brooklyn laboratory, and countertops made from old bowling alley floors in Texas. The host, Matt, has been antiquing from young on and has a fascinating story to tell, which we captured when he was our Host of the Month last October!

P.S. Check out more fun shipping container accommodations here in Missouri, Colombia, and Portugal.

Amazingly Unique Getaway Made from Repurposed Boats near Shoshone, California

Located near the Mojave Desert in California, this accommodation is actually an ever-evolving art installation created by a collective of artists, whose purpose is to combine luxurious interiors and fine art using repurposed materials. Promoting sustainable design, visitors remark that staying here is like entering the mind of one of the artists.

As well as being visually impressive, guests can stay in comfort here, with features such as comfortable beds for four guests, Wi-Fi access, a flat-screen TV, and a charming outdoor space to enjoy the Californian sunshine. It was also featured in the music video for Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa's song "One Kiss," so head to YouTube to check it out!

Cozy Lofted Rental for Four in Repurposed Barn near West Jefferson, North Carolina

This gorgeous cabin tucked away in the woods of North Carolina, near the Cherokee National Forest, is made from a refurbished barn. This accommodation is unique both for the history that runs through its walls, as well as for the natural spring found nearby.

Discovered in 1883, the local farmers found that after drinking from the spring, the poison ivy sores on their hands disappeared. Soon, the spring was receiving as many as 300 visitors a day, rumored to cure all sorts of ailments, from rheumatism to indigestion. Nowadays, the farm is still running, providing beef, pork, and poultry to the local area, and guests can even help with the daily farm chores!

Converted Grain Silo for Unique Glamping Accommodation in Alvin, Illinois

Dating back to the 1950s, this getaway used to be a storage container for grain for the Illinois farm upon which it's located. The container was used up until the 1970s, when it changed location to be used on a different farm, though it's recently returned to its original location, albeit no longer needed for its practical use.

Today, the grain container is a beautiful rural getaway, featuring a sleeping loft, a comfortable front porch, and an upper deck that offers vistas of the most incredible sunsets. An added bonus to staying at a farm-based upcycled accommodation? You'll not only be helping support U.S. agriculture—you'll also be staying on a piece of living history.

P.S. Over in Tennessee, we have another accommodation made from a not just a grain silo, but also a 100-year-old barn!

Stunning Riverside Cabin Crafted from Recycled Materials near Cockaponset State Forest, Connecticut

Located in Chester, Connecticut, between the Connecticut River and Cockaponset State Forest, this stunning, riverside cabin has been crafted from 80% recycled materials. The wood furnishings of the interior, coupled with the large amounts of natural light let in by the windows, give a warm and cozy atmosphere and an authentic cabin feel.

The crafted cabin is situated beside the Pattaconk Brook and features a breathtaking waterfall, giving guests the chance to really reconnect with nature. Although the cabin boasts incredible natural surroundings, the cities of New Haven and Hartford are reachable in under an hour, and offer cultural activities like museums, theaters, and music venues, as well as opportunities for shopping and dining. For those looking for something a bit more relaxing, the coastline of the Long Island Sound is a 15-minute drive to the south.

Latin America

Unique Pipe Accommodation in Glamping Resort near Mexico City

At this resort, old concrete construction pipes have been used to create little glamping pods, fitted with queen-size beds and storage units. These pipes would otherwise have been crushed up for their raw materials, but we think this is a much better idea! Not just a cool and original place to stay, they're also fantastically located just a few minutes away from the center of Tepoztlan, about 45 minutes south of Mexico City, on the other side of the mountain range. Other cool features that guests will love are the speedy Wi-Fi and an amazing infinity pool.

P.S. Check out these similar accommodations in Cambodia!

Unique Refurbished Vintage 1965 Boeing 727 Airplane, Costa Rica

One of our most unique accommodations, this two-bedroom tree house suite is made from a refurbished 1965 Boeing 727, which in a previous life shuttled travelers around the globe for a South African and then Colombian airline—until its final resting place in San José, Costa Rica. Decommissioned and wasting away in a hangar, it was taken apart piece by piece, transported to the tropical jungles of the Manuel Antonio National Park on Costa Rica's south coast, and reassembled in the tree canopy 50 feet above the ground.

At this height, guests can enjoy ocean and jungle views from the deck and try to catch a glimpse of sloths, toucans, monkeys, and more! Inside, from cockpit to tail, the interior and furnishings are made from luxurious teak, and up to six guests can stay among its two bedrooms. Guests will have access to a nearby hotel's swimming pool, all while being strategically located to enjoy the best of Costa Rica's fantastic biodiversity.

Europe

Unique Campervan-Style Vacation in a Converted Vintage Truck near Coimbra, Portugal

This great little accommodation is located in the back of an old Bedford truck. Bedford Vehicles stopped operating in 1987, so it really is a vintage accommodation! The back of the truck has been converted into a cozy living area, but it has much more than just a bed. You'll also find tables and chairs to relax in, an oven and a stove for preparing meals, and a heating unit to keep things toasty. The walls are made of canvas and can be rolled up to let a cool breeze roll through, and there is also a fire pit a few meters away to ward away the cold at night. (Head's up—this isn't a mobile accommodation, despite its appearance.)

Charming Cottage Made from Recycled Materials for a Unique Getaway on Madeira Island, Portugal

This charming cottage on the stunning Portuguese island of Madeira is itself a piece of art—every room boasts a unique touch. Beauty is combined with sustainability, with walls made of car glass, wine bottles, tree branches, and various types of stones. At sunset, the rays of the sun shining through the different colored glass creates a mesmerizing effect.

Outside, there are also many private areas and gardens for glampers to explore. Guests are welcome to enjoy the communal areas, which include a barbecue for some al fresco cooking, dining, and socializing while enjoying the enchanting mountain views.


Be sure to check out all of our eco-friendly collections for more incredible ecotourism options!

Eco-conscious trips to take this spring

By Eleanor Stanesby

With Earth Day approaching, it's time to think about the ways we can all help support this incredibly important mission. Protecting the beautiful planet we have been gifted while getting to go on vacation sounds like the perfect pairing and will keep your carbon footprint low this spring.

Blooming flowers, migrating birds, and milder climates allow you to enjoy this picture-perfect season. While tourism produces 5% of the world's carbon emissions, committing to ecotourism can help sustain and protect all of those natural wonders across the globe.

Go green along with the season, and read on to find your perfect eco-conscious accommodation for a spring escape!

Destinations

Iceland

Iceland holds some of the most stunning natural scenery in the world. It's location in the mid-Atlantic ridge means the country produces an abundance of geothermal energy that powers almost the entire country. Their use of renewable energy makes Iceland one of the greenest countries in the world.

Interested in seeing how the geothermal energy is procured? Head to the world-famous geyser sites throughout Iceland. These natural hot springs are impressive both in beauty and in practicality.

Catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights with a stay at this gorgeous glass cabin!

Costa Rica

Costa Rica produces 93% of it's electricity from renewable sources—prioritizing keeping the country's carbon footprint as low as possible. In fact, in 2017, Costa Rica broke its own world record and ran on renewable energy for 300 days! What's more? Their goal is to become the first carbon-neutral country by 2021, as well as eliminate single-use plastics entirely.

Heading to Costa Rica in spring is the perfect opportunity to see nature come to life. With a little more rainfall this time of year, the country's ample landscapes come out to play, creating magnificent views for miles. Over 25% of Costa Rica is home to wildlife refuges and national parks, so there is no shortage of stunning backdrops and exotic animals.

Surround yourself with tropical paradise at this luxury tree house, complete with an eco-Jacuzzi!

New Zealand

New Zealand has a plethora of places that will coincide with your commitment to the environment. From the marine reserves and natural caves to the protected national parks and breathtaking mountains, the country's sensational landscapes are sure to take your breath away. Through geothermal energy production, even New Zealand's cities are green, with electric modes of transport and sustainable accommodations.

The mix of rainfall and sunshine in spring allows a diverse ecosystem of both plants and animals to thrive in New Zealand—a true nature lover's paradise! Hike through the evergreen forests to see the vivid flora or catch a glimpse of the native birds soaring through the skies, as well as soak up some rays along the beautiful coast.

Go green in New Zealand with a stay at this eco-friendly tiny house.

A few favorite eco-friendly accommodations

We love how so many of our hosts make sustainability a priority at their glamping sites—from the products they clean with and the amenities and toiletries they provide guests with to the accommodation structures themselves...and more! Here are a few of our favorite eco-friendly rentals from across the globe.

United States

This eco-friendly elevated cabin in North Carolina makes for the ultimate environmentally-friendly vacation. Utilizing recycled paper products, solar lighting, a composting toilet, and so much more, this cabin does the utmost to protect it's beautiful surroundings.

Australia

Located on Phillip Island in Victoria, this glamping tent offers off-grid solar power, and all of the utilities throughout the accommodation are energy efficient. Here, you can guarantee minimal environmental impact on your getaway, while still having all the necessary comforts of home!

Europe

High in the trees, surrounded by vibrant greenery, near Villersexel, France, this tree house stay comes with biodegradable plastics and is committed to using organic waste for compost. Past the trees, you'll also have a beautiful lake view to wake up to!


Feeling inspired? Check out more of our eco-friendly accommodations in the U.S. and abroad!

Earth Day, Ecotourism, and What You Can Do to Help

By Kyomi Wade

Without nature, one of the four pillars of Glamping Hub's core values would crumble—which is why we, as a business, both respect and appreciate every aspect of it. This month, as Earth Day approaches on April 22, we are taking the opportunity to help spread the word about its aims and complex subject of ecotourism.

Glamping Hub will be donating 10% of the day's revenue to the official Earth Day Network and have launched a Green Pledge with the full support of the company's senior management.

Photo courtesy Earth Day Network

What is ecotourism?

As you begin to understand the principles of ecotourism, it is easy to immediately be thrown off by the industry's technical jargon. Eco-friendly, responsible tourism, conscious travel, and green tourism are just a few of the larger list of terms that are regularly used in an interchangeable way.

But we have good news for you! The majority of these definitions unify to support quite a simple ethos: protecting and respecting local culture, adopting environmentally-friendly practices, and economically supporting local communities in a sustainable way.

We particularly like the definition of Ecotourism coined by the director of the International Sustainable Tourism Initiative at Harvard, Epler Wood: "responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.” For example, it might be easier to think of conserving the natural wonders of our earth as ecotourism—which it is—but equally so is making sure that the locals are economically benefiting from tourism.

The travel industry has the opportunity to provide education, job/career creation, and development for local communities. However, due to what is referred to as "tourism leakage," sometimes only a mere 10% of money is going back to the local community. Your contribution as a conscious traveler can be awareness when traveling, choosing to spend your money at local businesses whenever possible.

Earth Day and making a difference

This year, Earth Day is calling each and every one of us to pledge to end plastic pollution, one of the most important environmental problems that we face today and one that we have contributed to greatly—whether knowingly or not. Did you know that 300 million tons of plastic are sold each year and that 90% of that is thrown away? The opportunity to tackle this is huge, and with your input we can really make a difference.

But why should you care about plastic pollution? The issue with plastic is that the amount of plastic we create is essentially here forever. To put it into perspective, one single plastic bottle, though it may decompose, takes close to 500 years to fully do so. Moreover, although it breaks down, it still remains in our soil and water, affecting our crops, ocean life, and ourselves.

When plastic decomposes in the ocean for example, it breaks down into small poisonous particles, microplastics, that are then swallowed by ocean life and, later, humans. As if this wasn't enough reason for concern, the energy it takes to simply create plastic creates omissions that catalyze climate change. Therefore, if we think about how much plastic we use on a daily basis, pledging to recycle or cut down on usage seems like a small feat to combating climate change and protecting the health of both our sea life and ourselves.

What you can do and our pledge

Thanks to our wonderful and proactive Glamping Hub Green Initiative Team, we have already started to take steps as a business to reduce our waste and recycle. We have developed a system to educate our office on what goes where, making the process of recycling easier for everyone. Currently, we can are recycling plastic, cans, paper, glass, and batteries.

Continuing the green theme and our support of Earth Day on April 22, we pledge to not use plastic bottles, bags, and straws for the whole month of April. We have also organized fundraising initiatives to add to our contribution.

If you're wondering what you can do to help out starting today, let us be of assistance. Begin by reading some easy-to-implement tips on traveling green. If you are a traveler, you may or may not know that 2017 was the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, and a very useful resource is their "Tips For a Responsible Traveler" guide, from the #travelenjoyrespect campaign, which you can find here.

You can also sign the Earth Day petition to end plastic pollution. The petition calls on governments and world leaders to take note of the severity of plastic pollution. Your signature would make a world of a difference in showing those in charge that we, the people of planet Earth. You can find the petition here!

Lastly, you can book your next glamping trip with peace of mind! As mentioned above, Glamping Hub will be donating 10% of revenue made on Earth Day, April 22, to the official Earth Day Network. You can plan your perfect getaway knowing that you are simultaneously making a pledge to protect our earth.

Want to browse some beautiful, eco-friendly properties on Glamping Hub? Start exploring here!


We hope that by Glamping Hub pledging to make internal changes, we have made you think about your relationship with our planet. Though we don’t yet consider ourselves to be a fully eco-friendly company, we hope you will join us in our journey to do so,one step at a time!