Hipmunk City Love: Best Of Austin Sustainable Hotels



Sustainability is important in Austin, Texas. Long dry seasons especially stress the need for effective water conservation. This strong focus on sustainability can also be found in many of Austin’s hotels. They are suitable accommodation options if you care about luxury, comfort, and your ecological footstep. Here are seven of the best green Austin hotels.

1. Hotel San Jose

Hotel San Jose is a true hipster and eco-friendly hotspot. It has become a favorite place for celebrities because of its calm, nature-themed atmosphere. The hotel’s landscape design stands out because of the lush variety of drought-friendly plants around the building. The hotel itself is thoughtfully renovated with various recovered materials.

2. W. Austin

The W. Austin is an excellent choice for responsible travelers. Modern technologies and sustainability methods blend successfully in this eco-friendly hotel. Lights and thermostats have smart motion detectors. These detectors cut the energy output by turning off lights or adjusting the temperature when they don’t detect any movements. The hotel also serves organic food from local sources and recycling bins are in every room.

3. Habitat Suites

Habitat Suites uses solar panels to generate energy. The hotel garden is not poisoned by pesticides and toxic fertilizers. Instead, the hotel uses an army of hungry ladybugs. Garbage goes in provided recycling bins. Toilets and showers are on water-saving mode. Trees around the hotel create a cool shade and cut air conditioning costs.

4. Four Seasons Hotel Austin

The Four Season Hotel Austin serves healthy, organic food. Water and electricity conservation are also important sustainable focus points for this hotel. The beautiful hotel garden is a toxic free green zone, making it a suitable place to relax.

5. The Hyatt Place Austin Downtown

The Hyatt Place Austin Downtown educates its guests and its staff about various sustainable practices. Light bulbs in the hotel burn efficiently with the help of energy tracking systems. Recycling and waste reduction are also encouraged. The hotel reuses its linen and its towels.

6. Hyatt Regency Austin

Clean and healthy water is an important part of the Hyatt Regency Austin service. They have reduced the amount of unnatural cleaning chemicals in their swimming pool. Instead, the hotel uses a healthier, eco-friendly saline-based cleaning method. Laundry detergents are also eco-friendly. The hotel restaurant serves purified water. Grease from the kitchen becomes biofuel.

7. Wyndham Garden Hotel Austin

As with many other sustainable hotels in Austin, the Wyndham Garden Hotel Austin focuses on recycling, energy conservation and eco-friendly products. It banned Styrofoam, reuses much of the laundry water, and creates biofuel from recycled grease. There are recycling bins near the pool and in public areas.

A Sustainable Accommodation Stay in an Eco-friendly City

Austin, Texas, is a perfect destination if you are looking to stay in a sustainable accommodation. Hotel rates are sometimes a little higher than at typical hotels in Austin,Texas, but that is a price worth paying if you consider the excellent sustainable benefits these green hotels have to offer.
This is a sponsored post for Hipmunk.com

5 Reasons Why You Should Escape To The Countryside


5 reasons why you should escape to the countryside5 reasons why you should travel to the countryside

For me traveling is all about freedom. The freedom to go wherever I want and with as little possessions possible. As a permanent traveler I am always searching for ways to gain more freedom. Recently I have come to believe that a stay in the country will provide me with more freedom. I will give you 5 reasons why you will have more freedom in the countryside.

1. Consumerism

Big cities scream consumerism. Billboards, screens, shops. They are all try to sell you something. However I believe that you do not need most of the advertised products. Better to be influenced by the beauty of nature then by the next commercial for washing powder, which screams at you that you can not live without it.

2. There is always more

In a big city everything is available at any time of the day. Although this certainly can be beneficial, it also causes stress. 24/7 availability means that you always have the opportunity to go out to buy something or to be entertained. You do not learn to be satisfied because there is always that option to purchase more products or have more entertaining experiences.

3. We know what is best for you

Big cities do not only push the consumer ideal through your throat. They are also playgrounds for politicians. Politicians who make great efforts to win peoples hearts, and of course they always now what is best for you. They will take every opportunity to bother you with pushy marketing campaigns and endless pragmatism. Sometimes politicians are useful but more often you just want to escape from them.

4. Busyness

Life never calms down in a city. Traffic jams, rush hours, crying ambulances, screaming video screens. It can be an overwhelming experience to stay in an urban environment. One that will easily make you tired. You do not have much opportunities to enjoy a quiet and serene moment. A moment where you can sit down and watch at the stars or stare at a beautiful sunset, while the day calms down.
Rush hour in Bangkok

5. Safety and crime

Sometimes your perception of freedom can be negatively influenced because you feel unsafe, anxious or even scared. Crime rates are higher in large cities. There are many people living in cities, so there will be less social control. People don’t know each other so they often fear others. This results in less friendliness and care for each other. Living in small countryside communities, where people know and help each other, provides a feeling of companionship and security.

Useful Links

How To Find An Apartment In Bangkok


How to find an apartment in BangkokLearn how to find an apartment in 9 easy steps

Finding an apartment in Bangkok is relatively easy. However keep in mind that you have to be patient, persevered and confident. Having some knowledge of the Thai language also go’s a long way. But no worries, there are many rental opportunities in Bangkok. If you are determined then you will find the right spot for the right price.

In this article I teach you how to find an apartment in Bangkok. When reading this article, keep in mind that I am focusing on one room rental opportunities in the price range of 100 to 300 dollars (about 3500 to 1000 baht). Of course the sky is the limit when you want to have a bigger home, but do not expect to get something decent if you want to rent for lower prices.

Step 1. Choose the area

The first important decision you have to make is the area in which you want to live. There are a few things you might want to consider when choosing a living area:

  • Is it the city center or a suburban area?
  • Is it a touristic area or a place with manly locals?
  • Is it a cheap or expensive area?
  • Is it a quiet or a busy area?

Living in the center is nice and convenient but the place will most likely be very touristic, busy and expensive. In addition, if you live outside of the center, you might have to spend more time and money to get to your places of interest. Check your area carefully to see what is available so that you avoid spending time and money on traveling around.

Where to go

I recommend Ramkhamhaeng if you want to live in a cheap area. This is a student area with many great restaurants and markets. Rooms and food prices are cheap but traveling can become a bit expensive due to lesser public transportation options. Sukhumvit is a nice area if you want to live in the center. More expensive but also more comfortable because you can enjoy the conveniences that a city center has to offer.

Step 2. Choose the neighborhood

Choose your neighborhood carefully. Look at the same attention points as with choosing the area, cheap or expensive, busy or quiet etc. Most neighborhoods are really safe places. However, I recommend living in a lively neighborhood with wide roads, which are well lit. It is most likely not criminal Thai people you have to worry about, but at night many unpleasant stray dogs roam around in the dark small allies.

Personally I like living in a lively neighborhood. You have a lesser change of getting attacked by something. It is also very convenient when you have many shops in your neighborhood, so that you do not have to travel far for any needs. Try to find a place in a local neighborhood. The prices are better, the people are more friendly, and you will not be bothered by annoying tourist hunters like tuk tuk drivers.

Step 3. Walk around

After choosing the area and the neighborhood it is time to start walking around with focused eyes. It is time to look around for the perfect spot. You can also choose to look online. However, I do not recommend this. Rental prices are often not up to date, talking on the phone can be difficult and you can not directly check the room. You will succeed quicker if you stroll around at your target destination.

When searching, try to bring a friend who can speak and read Thai. Many buildings have signs which say apartment for rent but many of those signs are written in Thai. Your friend can recognize those advertisements, and he or she can also speak with the building staff when you are interested in renting a room.

Step 4. Choose the building

When choosing an apartment building it is important to check the surroundings of your accommodation. Are there any noisy construction works going on? Is the place connected to a lively street ? Living close to a lively street is an advantage. For your safety it is important that you reach the main street quickly. Remember those dogs? They love to hang around in small and dark places.

Bangkok’s populations is increasing and so are its buildings. Construction is booming but booming means noise. For sure you do not want to wake up every morning because of construction sounds. I had to live with this inconvenience for six months as they where building a new building next to mine.

Step 5. Open doors

Have the courage to open doors. Step inside to ask for information. Don’t be shy and ask at every place that attracts your interest. Even if you think it is above your budget. When we went looking we where too picky. We ignored buildings which where labeled as mansions or resorts. thinking the rental costs would be to expensive.

The next day we dropped that thought. That decision opened up a whole new world. We figured out that even expensive looking resorts with swimming pools and fitness centers where offering affordable rental prices. You can walk past your dream location just because you think it will be to expensive. Don’t be picky and check every opportunity. Maybe you even decide to spend a little more because the place is so awesome.

Step 6. Check the room

Check if the building suits to your needs. Make sure to pay attention to the following points:

– What is the condition of the air conditioner?  Is it new or old? A new air conditioner can safe you a lot of money on electricity costs.

– Does the room have a water heater for the shower? Not necessary in a hot climate but maybe you hate cold showers.

– Does the room have a balcony? An absolute must for me but a room without it can be cheaper. Pay attention to the position of the balcony. You can have a problem with your privacy when your balcony faces the one of your opposite neighbor. I prefer an open view.

– Does the room have furniture?  Available chairs, closets, tables and a bed are important items for the traveler who settles only for a short period. Make sure you avoid having to buy those items.

– On which floor is the room situated? Higher floors are more hot (hot air goes up) but they can be more convenient as well. The higher you go the less sound you hear from the busy street.

Step 7. Discuss the rental conditions

Are you satisfied about the room? Then it is time to discus the rental conditions with the owners/staff. What are the renting costs? How much do you pay per electricity and water unit? Does the building provide WiFi and how much does it costs per month? are there any other costs? How much deposit money do you have to pay? Are you allowed to have guests? Are you allowed to cook in the room?

Step 8. Make the decision

Do not settle to quickly just because you are tired of looking. Remember that you make a decision about where you are going to spend most of your time. It needs to be a convenient place where you feel safe and comfortable. It can really suck if you signed a rental contract for six months only to realize in the first week that the room is not fulfilling to your expectations.

Step 9. Move in

Did you find your dream location? Then it is time to move. I always recommend that you travel light if you are a long time traveler. You can save a lot of money if you only have a few small bags. However, if you have a lot of stuff then you can choose different useful transportation options.

Do you have Thai friends? Check if you know someone with a pick up truck who can move your stuff to the new place. Maybe your friend is willing to do it for a free or for a cheap price. You can also ask a tuck tuck driver to move your stuff. For once these tuck tucks can prove to be useful. Small belongings can also be transferred with the help of a taxi.

Useful links

  • 9apartment.com: You can use this site If you decide to look online for an apartment. There are many offers on this website, but keep in mind that the provided information is not always up to date.
  • How to rent Cheap Apartments in Bangkok,Thailand: A very informative article from fellow blogger Mark Wiens. He describes how you can rent a cheap apartment in Bangkok. The post provides a lot of useful information. For example where to look and the rental costs that you can expect.
  • Fixed Costs For Renting in Bangkok: After one rental month you will have to pay the bill. Read this article about fixed costs and know which prices you can expect.
  • Back to the Home Page

Do you have any other tips for renting an apartment in Bangkok? Post your tips or questions in the comments section below?

6 ways to get rid of house bugs


6 ways to get rid of bugs.How to get rid of the insects in your house

It can be difficult to adjust to the environment when you travel from a (relatively) cold place to a hot and tropical country. One problem you have to deal with is a huge increase of insects. You will most likely be surrounded by them. Do not get scared but instead be brave, and prepare for war by using these 6 ways to get rid of house insects.

1. Block the entrance

Ants are very disciplined insects. They march in a line from the food to their hole. This is an interesting fact about these small insectes but it also makes it easy to find out where they are coming from. Just follow the long line of ants to their hole and then close that entrance with a tissue or any other material. Also block larger holes which can act as passageways for cockroaches, spiders and other unwanted guests.

2. Insect spray

Not my favorite method but if you like to cause havoc and destruction then spraying poisonous insect spray can be very effective. Make sure you leave your house or room for a while after you sprayed the poison, and open up windows and doors for some fresh air, otherwise you will also cause destruction on yourself.

3. Smoke coils

Smoke coils are used as a mosquito repellent. They are popular products in Asian and African countries. The smoke from the coils will keep mosquitoes away, but also seems to be unhealthy for people. Make sure that the smoke can leave your room easily, or only use the coils outside.

4. Electrical rackets

Using an electrical racket is probably the most fun way to get rid of mosquitoes, especially if you are in for a revenge attack. Use the electrical racket to fry your attackers with backhands, forehands and smashes. It is is a very effective tool for your war against mosquitoes. The crackling noises of frying insects will suite the pain of your itchy bumps.

5. Compulsive cleaning methods

Clean, cleaner, cleanest. Keep your house clean and the bugs will leave you alone. Do it yourself, hire a cleaner or find a compulsive girlfriend. The result will be that your creepy crawling roommates start to move out of the house. Strict cleaning regime’s are not being loved by them.

6. Mass evacuation

Woman and children first! If you are unwillingly housing a community of ants you might want to get rid of them. Try to cause an evacuation, for example by spraying some water at the nest. In a very short time you will cause mass panic. The ants will all run out of their nest, while carrying eggs and anything else they posses. This is a very effective way to get rid of ants.

What kind of insects are living in your house and which method do you use to get rid of them?