Top 12 eco-friendly travel companies for 2018
Whether you call it green travel, eco-travel or sustainable travel, if you’re trying to travel more lightly and in a more eco-friendly way, we’ve got you covered.
From conservation projects and off-grid lodges to all inclusive safari tours that really do help the local communities, boutique hotels and bespoke luxury itineraries, the below eco-friendly travel companies really do wear their green heart on their sleeves.
Fri 29 Sep 2017
The clue is in the name with Responsible Travel. They’ve lead the way in eco-friendly holidays and ecotourism tours since 2001. This eco-friendly company have over 5,000 adventures on offer to destinations all over the world. Choose from hiking, conservation, diving, kayaking, cycling or head off to track snow leopards, swim with the whales or cruise Antarctica.
Responsible Travel have a give back programme, it campaigns for positive change with NGOs and activists. Its eco-tours and holidays focus on local culture and local people, making sure your money goes to independent businesses and and supports animal conservation. You won’t find any elephant riding or exploitative practices here.
Luxury sustainable safari tour operator AndBeyond go above and beyond investing back into the local environment. The company has just installed an electrical micro-grid at their Xaranna Okavango Delta Camp in Botswana, the second on the African continent, which decreases the need for a generator and it’s looking at ways to install water bottling plants similar to those found at its South African lodges. The company has a responsible travel policy which looks after the land, local people and animals.
This eco-tour company offers a range of luxury safaris in 11 African countries with 29 camps and lodges that all employ local guides. Search for wildlife on the Serengeti, track the great migration, explore Masai Mara national park or glide in a hot air balloon over Namib Desert.
Kynder cut to the chase. This eco-conscious platform brings together the best hotels, cafes, bars and restaurants in Europe and the USA who are eco-friendly, humane, kind and community loving. We're talking kind to the planet, kind to staff and their locality and kind to you - so that you find the places that make your trip, from coffee shops hiring only refugees to the coolest ecohotels and holistic retreats.
Eco-travel company and booking platform, Ecocompanion pulls together the world's best eco-lodges, tours, and conservation projects which you can chop and change into personal itineraries for countries as varied as Costa Rica and Malaysia. This is a brilliant start if you want an active holiday, getting involved with projects including rainforest research or marine conservation in Raja Ampat, one of prettiest places to dive in the world. Stay in off-grid cabins, hike Scandinavia or simply potter around the UK coast, helping out with beach cleans.
Undiscovered Mountains is a sustainable tourism company that specialises in experiences in the French Alps. From skiing and snow-touring to building an igloo in winter to mountain biking and cycling in the summer. It has special packages for families and singles and ensure that they only work with local guides, independent accommodation and responsible partners so that all your hard earned cash goes to the people who deserve it and those who help protect Europe’s stunning mountain range.
This responsible adventure travel tour operator is based in Ireland but takes intrepid souls all over the world, from Borneo to East Africa, and there's a real focus on wildlife, the company rediscovered the New Guinea singing dog on a trek in 2012, which until then had been feared extinct in the wild.
As well as hiking, trekking, Adventure Alternative is a member of Fair Trade Volunteering and runs volunteering trips through Moving Mountains in various countries across the globe, which makes sure each project is needed and useful. (See here for a look into some of the issues with volunteering abroad if you don't know what you're doing). It also invests heavily in its whole supply chain, from local guides to community projects and the company works to sustainable tourism principles.
While Intrepid Travel has been around for years, the company is no slow coach when it comes to slow and sustainable travel. The company has become a B Corp in 2018, the largest travel company in the world to become one.
It prides itself on incorporating the principles of sustainable development in the way it provides travellers with real life experiences. Simply put these are small group tours all over the world, from Greenland to Oman that get you up close and personal with wildlife and cultural highlights with local guides and specialist experts. You can also book specialist cycling, sailing or wildlife trips with them. The Intrepid Foundation also supports 50 community and conservation projects all over the world.
Kind Traveler is a socially conscious 'Give + Get' hotel booking platform that empowers travelers to be a force for good. $10 goes to a local community or charity close to where you’re staying and you’ll unlock an exclusive rate at that hotel or destination across the US and beyond. Kind Traveler is one of a growing number of companies that want to harness the power of the daily actions and routine bookings we already make and use them to benefit the planet. Kind Traveler's goals are purposefully aligned with the United Nations' Global Goals for sustainable development: preventing poverty and hunger, protecting the planet, and promoting wellbeing for individuals and animals.
Luxury and sustainable South American travel operator Aracari, organises boutique trips around South America. It’s recently been awarded the prestigious Butterfly Mark from sustainable brand consultants, Positive Luxury. Aracari is also a favourite with Conde Nast Traveller and its specialist guides are some of the best in the business. Through Aracari discover Peru, Bolivia and the Galapagos Islands, it infuses all of its tours environmental and social good, fosters long term relationships with local communities, helps you reduce your environmental footprint and everyone gets paid a living wage. Really experience these countries with homestays on Lake Titicaca, stay in amazing private homes from Aracari's owner's black book or spend time with community projects like Tierra de los Yachaqs, a philanthropic organisation determined to preserve the history and traditions of local people in the Sacred Valley.
Meaningful travel company Rickshaw Travel has expanded its Asian tours into Japan. This sustainable tourism tour operator has a whole host of independent and authentic trips that get under the skin of South East Asia. Explore Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand as well as China, India and Nepal. This eco-friendly travel company is all about meaningful travel experiences, meeting local people and discovering unique cultures and customs. Choose to go trekking, discover landscapes by bike, tuck into amazing street food and meet the people that make a ecotravel trip a once in a lifetime one.
Bouteco round up the most stylish and sustainable eco-hotels on the planet. It’s as simple as that. Want to travel more lightly but don’t know where to start? Get inspired by one of these beauties, which range from adults only The Scarlet in Cornwall to the hippie-luxe UXUA in Brazil. The new social enterprise-inspiration station is easy to use and beautiful looking.
Inspirational, transformative tourism is what’s on offer at Earthchangers, a online eco-travel booking platform which brings together active, adventure and conservation trips you can take. At the moment there are 10 destinations which include the first ever marine conservation reserve in Tanzania to Floreana, which is the smallest of the inhabited islands in the Galapagos archipelago. This is eco-tourism that truly has a positive impact, and you’ll get to meet world-changing pioneers along the way.
Steppes Travel offer eco-luxury holidays that are tailor-made for people who are interested in wildlife, discovering different cultures and giving back to the environment. Its wildlife tours are guided by some of the best people in the business, including professional wildlife photographers and conservation experts and it also specialises in architectural, photographic and archaeological tours. Each international trip booked donates £10 to an international charity and this green travel tour operator has tours going across every continent. Discover Uzbekistan, Madagascar, the Russian Arctic or Equador - they're just some of the small tour destinations on offer.
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