The tiny house phenomenon is one of the most curious and captivating travel and living trends in the sustainable movement. But just what are tiny houses, and why are they fast becoming a social movement? Put simply, this is part of a push to downsize our living spaces and to give up our regular-sized homes in favor of smaller accommodations. These tiny houses can range anywhere from 100 to 400 square feet in size, which makes them quite a change from the norm (the average American home size recently surpassed 2,600)!
The result of this new architectural craze? A bite-sized, eco-friendly, and cost-saving lifestyle that massively reduces your carbon footprint.
And in a time when more and more urban centers throughout the world are experiencing problems with overcrowding and housing shortages, shrinking the space that we each take up is certainly going to be an idea that sticks around.
Environmental friendliness aside, these tiny houses are proving to be an aesthetic hit, too! Packing everything we need into a space that’s only 10% of what we’re used to may be a great way to cut down on our material possessions, but it also forces some creative designs and nifty innovations in the design sector. These petite homes come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and have been constructed to fit everything from small families to bachelor pads!
Some can be found in the middle of busy city districts like London or Hong Kong, while others are found out in the middle of nowhere—barely leaving a mark on the natural landscape they occupy. They can be tall and narrow for a townhouse with a twist, pod-shaped for a vision of the future, or built completely out of glass. There are even tiny houses on wheels that can hook up to the back of your car!
There are plenty of benefits to living in a tiny house full-time. For anyone looking to go green, the reduced power consumption of a smaller space is easily powered by renewable energy, and downsizing on space is a great way to make you make more purposeful purchases in terms of furniture and other belongings! But the tiny house movement is making waves in other sectors, too.
Now more than ever before, vacationers are choosing to be more conscious of the effect that their travel has on not only themselves but the community and landscape that they are visiting, as well. For these more sustainably-minded travelers, staying in a tiny house while on vacation is the perfect way to make sure that their travel stays green.
And when we say green, we really mean it! On a year to year basis, a tiny house produces just 2,000 pounds worth of carbon dioxide. For comparison, a regular home produces roughly 28,000 pounds in the same amount of time—14 times as much! Staying in a tiny home on vacation is, then, a great way to offset the carbon footprint created by whichever means of travel you choose.
Given that tiny houses are also now commonly associated with the glamping movement (a portmanteau of ‘glamourous camping’), what can we say about the effects of these minuscule rentals on the natural areas they are often found in? Well, while a typical log cabin might need up to seven trucks worth of timber, a tiny house can make do with less than one half of one truck! That means that having that perfect view over the lake in the heart of the forest is possible without making a dent in that landscape itself.
Even within cities, choosing to stay in a tiny house over a regular home or apartment can also have huge benefits to the local community. These not-so-big homes are finding spaces throughout several larger U.S. cities, with plenty of tangible results. Placing tiny houses on unused land unable to be granted zoning permits for regular housing is being proven a great way to save on the costs and social displacement involved in demolishing abandoned lots.
Moreover, given that tiny houses tend to sell for less than 10% of the price of a regular home, roughly two-thirds of tiny house owners claim to not have a mortgage. This means that more of your vacation rental spend goes into the pocket of small business owners!
But these stats aside, how many travelers are taking the plunge and taking advantage of everything a tiny house has to offer?
According to data sourced from Glamping Hub–an online booking platform specializing in unique, ‘glamping’-style vacation rentals in nature–the number of tiny houses available for rent throughout the world increased dramatically in 2017. More impressively, however, is that the level of interest in booking these listings has also increased more than 300% in the first two months of 2018, as compared to the same period in 2017.
These new, eco-friendly vacation rentals are clearly offering something that hugely appeals to a new generation and a new type of traveler interested in sustainable travel. All across the U.S.A., and as far-flung as Europe, New Zealand, and South America, tiny houses are shaping up to be the next big thing in travel. So why not check out a tiny house getaway for yourself? Whether you see it as testing out the concept before downsizing permanently, or just a new and unique way to explore the world, we’re convinced that there’s nothing as chic as these places right now!