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Travelling the vegan road is sometimes fraught with challenges. While the ability to research cheap hotels has never been easier in this digital age, the ability for travellers to find a suitably vegan lodging may require more careful research. Here are five top travel tips to veganise your travel to a hotel room while at the same time spreading the word that there is a growing demand for vegan accommodation options.
Firstly, search for that suitable hotel or accommodation to stay in
Naturally you can just type the word ‘vegan’ into a search engine and choose from the scrolling options available (Webjet.com.au for example will reveal the Loving Hut Paradise Island Vegan B&B in Taiwan) yet the choices may be on the skimpy side. If accommodation pickings are slim, then do further in-depth research about the lodgings you choose.
Ask for your room to be furnished in fabrics that are not animal derived
Many hotels pride themselves on the aesthetics, and may supply blankets and pillows that are made from animal parts like feathers or wool. It all comes down to branding and an image the hotel seeks to portray. Here is when a phone call to the hotel’s concierge will be time well spent. Talk to the concierge to determine the fibres used in the hotel room you wish to book and ask if particular fibres are present. If animal-derived fibres are used, ask if the hotel can supply your room with plant or synthetic alternatives. If the hotel can’t, then politely decline the hotel and state your reasons why, then find a hotel that can accommodate your needs.
Does the hotel feature vegan options on its food or room service menu?
Again, digital research can yield countless information when researching a hotel. Find your desired lodgings and read over the hotel’s own website, then feed through its pages to find the menus and room service items. Are there enough items to cater for you for the duration of your stay? If not, then it might be an adventurous opportunity to research the vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants or cafes in the area you’re travelling to. Think – you can always head out or order in.
And then there are the beauty products, mini bar and welcome snacks…
Again, hotel rooms can be accentuated by welcome snacks, mini bar, complimentary tea and coffee, and complimentary beauty products or toiletries. It can be a free-for-all at times, and this is the trap that vegan travellers can face. Again, contact the concierge to determine what items are in the room as part of the rack rate. Try to find out the brand names so you can research to ascertain whether these items are vegan and don’t contain any animal-derived ingredients. As a last resort, you may need to bring your own toiletry items. Catering-wise, you may find that some alcohols are fine to consume and there may even be fresh fruit available. It’s common, for example, to find a serve of cow’s milk in the fridge in Australian hotels. Recently, a friend of mine asked a hotel to replace the milk with a plant-based option. There was some resistance from the hotel, yet my friend was persistent and reasoned (with respect, of course) the point that she doesn’t consume dairy, so why should she miss out on a cup of tea without milk? The hotel listened, understood the case put forward and provided her room with a small pitcher of soy milk.
We need to reassure hotels that this is not about getting as many freebies we want. It’s a matter of being entitled to what’s included for the money you paid, while not feeling left out. As a vegan customer, this is extremely disheartening to feel left out and choices need to be respected. Vegan travellers deserve the normality that’s afforded to other hotel guests. Ultimately, it’s a common hospitable courtesy that should be respected. If you have the opportunity to leave feedback after your stay, highlight where the hotel has been able to help you, and where they may fall short for vegan guests. There’s a chance here for hotels to cater for all guests (including vegans), which can help increase their business and strengthen their reputation for above and beyond customer service.
Does your chosen hotel have a sustainability or eco-friendly policy?
In recent years, hotel chains are becoming increasingly aware of their impact on the environment and local habitats. If you hotel has a policy that strives to reduce its impact on the environment, then said policy will be listed on their website including actionable goals and outcomes to achieve. More often than not, such policies embrace the hotel’s entire network – from management, staff, suppliers and guests. It’s only through enacting such a policy that a hotel can be truly committed to providing sustainable services that are minimising impact on its immediate environment. So, how does this affect you? Discover how you can play your part in the hotel’s sustainability policy to help minimise your own impact. Read the policy (there may even be prompts in the room itself) to understand what actions the hotel supports.
The easiest ways in which you can reduce your impact is minimising your laundry and resource consumption. Can you use your towel more than once? Do you really need your room cleaned and serviced every single day? If not, then pop a doorknob sign on your door that states you don’t need your room serviced. Minimise the time spent in the shower and the amount of showers you take each day to save on water resources. Get out and about beyond your hotel room, to minimise the time spent sucking up electricity, heating or cooling and water in your room. Explore the town you’re visiting, rather than ruminating in your room. Set aside any recyclable rubbish for the hotel to recycle, rather than tossing this trash away.
So, what are some ways you aim to veganise your hotel room? Have you ever experienced some brick walls in your travels when you bring up the word vegan? I’d love to hear your travel tales and your safeguard tricks in the comments below.