As much as we love it, travel has a significant impact on the planet. Thanks to the growing concern regarding environmental issues and the impact of international travel on the planet, eco-friendly holidays are gaining popularity.
You now have options to reduce your carbon footprint without compromising travel plans. Not sure how to book an eco-friendly holiday? Read on to find the best websites to help you book a more sustainable vacation.
What Is Sustainable Travel?
When we travel, we often seek beautiful landscapes and impressive wildlife, or a destination’s cultural history and meet the people who live there. While tourism can benefit local economies, it can also create negative impacts on local communities and environments if not managed well.
Sustainable tourism aims to elevate the benefits of travel while reducing any damaging impacts. This includes:
- The protection of natural environments, wildlife, and natural resources alongside the development of tourism activities.
- Promoting authentic experiences that respect local heritage and culture.
- Creating socio-economic benefits such as employment for local communities.
Luckily, plenty of tour operators and organizations offer eco-friendly trips, it’s just a matter of knowing where to look for and book them online.
Where Can I Find Sustainable Vacations Online?
If you want to book an inspiring vacation to far-flung destinations, but also helps support the local community and environment, have a look at these websites:
A great place to start looking for sustainable vacations, Responsible Travel promotes trips that support communities and preserves nature.
You can search for vacations by destination, holiday type, last-minute, or special offer trips. Or, if you’re overwhelmed by this choice, check out the Travel Guides section for specific information and tips about each type of vacation and destination.
Travelstride has over 50,000 trips, with itineraries from expedition cruises to safaris planned by local experts.
If you’re looking for eco, sustainable, or green travel tours, you’ve come to the right place. You can find over 591 sustainable vacations, including group tours, small ship cruises, self-guided, or vacation packages.
You can also read reviews from other travelers about their experience with a particular tour to see if it’s right before you book.
Dreaming of visiting the rainforest landscapes of Costa Rica? You can find eco-sustainable travel packages from Costa Rican Vacations.
This selection offers experiences from jungle and beach explorations to canyoning in the mountains—all designed to help protect the natural environments found there.
Not only will you discover the amazing biologically diverse habitats and local cultures, but you’ll also have a positive impact on the environment, society and economy.
More of a sustainable travel guide, rather than a vacation booking website, Green Vacations has the low-down on how eco-friendly airlines, hotels, and destinations are. The eco-friendly airlines section does exactly what it says on the tin: gives a list of airlines that are working towards more eco-friendly flights.
Within the eco-friendly hotels guide, you will find a general overview of what qualifies as an eco-friendly hotel (does the accommodation recycle? What energy source is it using?), as well as a list of eco-friendly hotel chains. It also breaks down what each hotel is doing to help support sustainability.
Finally, the eco-friendly destinations guide gives an overview of the steps some popular tourist destinations are taking to help support the planet within the tourism industry.
Sustainable Travel Websites
If you’re wanting to learn more about sustainable travel in general, these websites are a good place to start:
Not to be confused with the previously mentioned Responsible Travel holidays website, the Center for Responsible Travel is a great place to learn about eco-traveling.
There’s a handy resources section, offering information on topics such as biodiversity and cultural heritage, over-tourism, and responsible travel.
The International Ecotourism Society is a great place to learn more about ecotourism—a sub-division of sustainable travel that focuses more on the environmental impacts of tourism. The Society is a non-profit organization that aims to promote and develop an awareness of ecotourism through, training, technical assistance, and educational resources.
Here you can learn about ecotourism, read ecotourism news, or sign up for the newsletter to receive ecotourism tips and advice into your inbox.
Another non-profit organization, Ethical Traveler, seeks to protect human rights and the environment while empowering travelers to “change the world”.
Here you can find ethical destination reports, ethical travel news, and listen to the ethical traveler podcast archive for interviews, news, and ethical travel inspiration.
You Can Still Go on Vacation and Help the Planet
By choosing more sustainable vacation options, you're not limiting your travel experience, you're simply helping prevent further damage to the planet.
Making sustainable travel options means that you'll be helping to conserve protected wildlife, help local communities grow, and celebrate local heritage and culture.