What does sustainable travel really mean? What practical steps can I take to travel more sustainably, to reduce the negative impacts from my trip and increase the positive impacts? What does sustainable travel look like in action?
We’ll answer all of those sustainable travel questions on this page, plus share our best articles the topic so you can learn more about key issues, practical tips on traveling with purpose, what to avoid, and how to begin — or continue — on your journey to travel more sustainability.
This is not only important for the health of our planet, but it’s also crucial for the well-being of the people and communities we visit and love around the world. And, it’s a path to deeper connections and having even better travel experiences.
Our travel decisions and actions really do make a difference.
What is sustainable travel?
There are a lot of definitions of sustainable travel out there, but we try to keep it simple: respect for the local environment, for local socio-economy, and for local culture. This respect translates into a greater awareness and caring of the impact of our decisions and actions – good and bad – as travelers (and companies).
In practical terms, sustainable travel translates into travel and experiences that:
- Reduce your environmental footprint and support conservation
- Keep travel money local to support local businesses and jobs
- Preserve local culture and traditions
But here’s another thing about sustainable travel: it often creates more immersive and unique travel experiences for you the traveler.
The idea: we respect, care, and preserve so future generations can also enjoy this big, beautiful and diverse world of ours. And, our sustainable travel experiences enable deeper connection to the people and place we are visiting.
How to travel more sustainably?
We’ve spilled a lot of digital ink on this topic over the years so we’ve collected our best articles below regarding sustainable travel tips and ideas, what to look for in tours and experiences, questions to ask travel companies, pitfalls to watch out for, understanding when wanting to “do good” can do unintended harm, and much more. Remember that sustainability, like travel, is a journey where we are always learning, growing and trying to do better.
Read these Sustainable Travel Guides for Inspiration and Practical Advice
Even more good sustainable travel reading:
What does sustainable travel looks like in action?
Sustainable travel can take so many different shapes and and express itself through a diversity of experiences. Here is a selection of sustainable travel experiences from around the world — from environmental conservation to cultural preservation to income generation — that we've experienced.
Does sustainable travel need to be expensive?
The fact that expensive eco-lodges in the middle of nowhere tend to get most of the press give the impression that sustainable travel needs to be expensive or a luxury item. We firmly believe that it is possible to travel sustainably on any budget.
Think about it. The most environmentally friendly form of transport – walking – is free. Buying from local businesses and eating local food is often inexpensive. Not buying bottled water or reusing vs. buying new is also good for the budget.
Sure, there are some elements of sustainability that can cost more – fair wages for local staff, locally sourced organic food, handmade and artisan products, environmentally friendly packaging, waste processing – but we find that it is still possible to travel sustainably no matter what your budget. It's more about understanding key issues and then adjusting your behaviors and purchasing decisions to match your values and goals to travel more sustainably.
You can find a full listing of all our sustainable travel articles here.