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Are you still as frugal and green when you’re away from home?

Posted by on Wednesday 19 October 2011 in frugal, green | 9 comments

This question has been buzzing around in my head for a few weeks but a comment on someone else’s blog has driven it to the surface:

are you still as frugal and green while you’re out & about or on holiday as you are at home?

A few miscellaneous ideas that created the initial buzz:

  • At home, I rarely use hot water to wash my hands/face (the boiler takes a few minutes to heat up) but away from home, in semi-public toilets, at work or in hotels etc, I almost always use the on-demand hot water every time, whether I really need it or not.
  • At home, we have a recycling bin and a compost bin in the kitchen, so recycle & compost as much as possible. Away from home, where there aren’t convenient recycling/compost bins such as at work (we borrow rooms so can’t made demands) or in hotels, I just use the regular bin.
  • When I’m staying in a hotel, I take more, longer showers/deeper baths than I do at home – before we got a good shower at home, hotel showers were a luxury activity, not just about getting clean!
  • When I’m on holiday/having a day trip somewhere a bit different, I’m more likely to buy something I don’t need as a treat or souvenir (not a tacky plastic Eiffel Tower per se but, for example, the £17 of yarn I bought in Whitby the other month or similar amount of yarn I bought in Madrid when we were there for a conference in 2009). This is also the nature of the comment I read on the other person’s blog: essentially “frugal goals be damned, you were on holiday”. I don’t generally have a problem with proper holiday treats – especially of this productive rather than purely novelty nature – but if it extends to all days out, which it has done with me in the past, it can get very expensive for little reason.

I find it strange how careful am I concerning energy/water usage at home etc, then I leave home and I’m Little Ms Wasteful! I’m not all bad – if I have a choice in the matter, I don’t leave lights/heating/air-con on when I’m out of a room at work or in a hotel etc – but my naughties are definitely something to address now I’ve consciously identified them though.

Are you as good away from home/on holiday/visiting friends & family as you are in your normal day-to-day home life? If you are, how do you deal with the lack of recycling/composting facilities etc?

I’d love to hear your thoughts and/or examples of this!


Join the conversation and post a comment.

  1. Attila

    On holiday, I would be more likely to recycle less, unless the facilities were as convenient as at home. I would be a bit more indulgent with the heating/hot water use because we are paying a set amount for it and can’t reduce the bill by using less. But I wouldn’t go mad; I want to treat the owners as I would want them to treat me. What I do one or two weeks of the year is not really the point; 50 weeks of the year I do what I can to reduce my costs/impact on planet, and even with one or two weeks being a bit lax, I am still doing more than most. I would only consider myself a hypocrite if I preached 100% greeness/frugality 100% of the time (I don’t!).

  2. lovelygrey

    I don’t think the problems lies with people who are occasionally excessive as a treat. It’s those who think that ‘they’re worth it’ all the time that concern me or who are wasteful habitually because they don’t give the issue a thought. However, I will ‘fess up to a must try harder moment whilst reading this when it comes to diligence about recycling on holiday.

  3. Tanya @ Lovely Greens

    Holidays are for letting your hair down and enjoying a bit of luxury. So don’t feel guilty about a bit of hot water or special souvenir :) My greatest problem with frugality on holidays is actual money…I’m going to London next week with some friends and just KNOW I’m going to end up spending a fortune on cocktails and meals out!

  4. Linda


    Frugality: holiday money is different to ordinary money –you need lots more as it disappears quickly.

    Greeness: Thinking ‘green’ is a habit that will not completely leave you. A ‘greenie’ will have a luxury 10 minute holiday shower, a non-greenie will leave the shower going for much longer even before they’re in it and have another tap going to brush teeth!

    It’s about your habits -not your occasional indulgencies.

  5. Maria

    I’m definitely less militant about recycling while I’m away – if I can recycle easily I still do, but otherwise no, and I do end up buying water bottles when in tourist mode, which I’d never ever usually do otherwise! I still re-use them several times though :)
    Otherwise I *feel* I’m not took bad – I will have a bath in a hotel, but I will re-use the towels for my entire stay (why would I want new towels every day anyway?), and I tend to take away with me any miniature moisturiser for later use, which is frugal but not green I guess (frugal for me, but not green to use miniature plastic packaging). I won’t take away anything which I know I wouldn’t use, .e.g. shower caps, just because it’s free.
    I also agree with other posters – while being away on holiday isn’t an excuse to leave all our principles behind, it’s what we do 90% of the year that really adds up.

  6. Mo

    I think that frugality/being green is a state of mind that you carry with you wherever you go, that’s why you get the guilt trip if you stop to think about how lax you may have been.
    I’d hate to get to the state where it spoils things.
    For example, I like that lots of places now ask you to re-use towels and put them in the bath when you want clean ones. But if their regime is to give fresh everyday, I’m not going to beat myself up about it.

  7. Sol

    Hi there, new to your blog found you on the side bar of the greening of Gavin blog.

    We do try when we are away. I think hotels should have either 2 bins or a slightly larger one that is a multi compartment bin. so you can put a paper or cardboard in the bin and know it is recycled.

    We stayed in a beautiful gite in France last year who had a very similar recycling system to us, lucky for them they have slightly more space than us, (lots of out buildings). They did see it as really funny when I was at the kitchen sink washing yoghurt pots out. the farmer grabbed them off the kitchen counter threw them on the floor and whistled. 3 dogs arrived and licked the pots clean. Clearly I was wasting water in his eyes!

    Lots of companies really need to try harder.

    And yes, I am naughty and stand in the shower too long. and I use their bottles of shampoo etc instead of the home made stuff I buy from my friend… lots of chemicals down the plug hole. A not so green guilty pleasure.

    Off to read more of your posts!

  8. PipneyJane

    My answer is “it depends” when it comes to green-ness. I’m not going to stop switching off lights or turning the tap off when I brush my teeth, but if recycling facilities aren’t readily available, then I’m not going to lug home my recyclables.

    On the frugality front: it depends on mode of transport. I tend to take things with me, if I can, even if I’m travelling for work. For example, I usually take coffee with me in a travel mug so that I don’t have to pay motorway-services/railway-station-concession prices for something that tastes as weak as dishwater. Ditto diluted squash in a recycled bottle. And I’ll pack sandwiches or a picnic if we’re off on a day trip.

    I adopt a “compromise” approach when I’m traveling for work: taking my coffee/cold drinks with me since they only cost pennies but buying my lunch at my destination because I wouldn’t get reimbursed if I carried homemade food with me. For example, when I was working at Site, I used to stop at M&S on the way up to buy sandwiches for the week instead of using the on-site greasy-spoon canteen. The company would be buying me my lunch each day anyway, so I might as well get something healthy and save them some money in the process (the canteen worked out more expensive).

  9. Garry

    I gave a talk at a Green Tourism event in Gateshead today. there are some people in the tourism industry who are really starting to get going on this. A guy from the Battlesteads Hotel at Wark in Northumberland was really impressive – wood chip boiler, composting and growing own veg, local meat and wildlife tours from the hotel!

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