Wondering how to travel responsibly, without having to rough it or settle for less of an incredible experience?
Then you’re in the right place!
We’ve rounded up our favorite sustainable travel companies helping travelers pack, sleep, eat, and play with conscious.
*Note that some of the sustainable tourism companies below feature affiliate links, meaning we earn a small commission if a purchase is made, at no extra cost to you. We’ve only recommended sustainable travel brands we truly think you’ll love!
Sustainable Travel Companies
Booking through the World Nomads “Footprints Network” allows you to put a donation toward a cause you care about (while protecting your trip against unforeseen circumstances).
Just a few ways this program has left a positive impact on communities in need, at the time of writing, include:
- Raising almost $29,000 AUD toward educating disadvantaged youth in Australia
- Raising almost $28,000 AUD toward cleaning up litter in Nepal
- Raising almost $20,000 AUD toward protecting sharks and rays in Belize
Day Tour Operators
This New York photo tour company is owned by Epicure & Culture editor, Jessica Festa.
On their Private Photo Journey, which is part tour / part photoshoot, you’ll explore the city with a local and will leave with a folder of print-ready shots from the day to keep.
Along with supporting local businesses, they donate $3 per TripAdvisor review left to the charity of the moment.
Moreover, 1% of profits get donated to 100 Cameras, who have “developed a custom curriculum that teaches kids both storytelling and technical photography skills in a way that impacts how they view themselves and their role in their community.”
Lokal Travel — a platform for booking sustainable tours, hotels, and experiences — believes tourism has the power to transform travelers as well as the places they visit.
They thoroughly vet their partners to ensure every booking adds dollars to local economies, protects the environment and upholds local heritage.
Some of the incredible experiences you can book through Lokal Travel include:
- Sleep in a gorgeous Peruvian eco-lodge within a 200-hectare private reserve
- Spend the day with Guatemalan coffee farmers
- Take part in a Rio de Janeiro community visit (to the Favela Organica project) and cooking class
These are just a few of many unforgettable options!
Note that Lokal Travel offers day and multi-day tours.
Backstreet Academy offers conscious local tours and experiences in Asia.
To introduce visitors to local culture while helping to improve local communities at the “Bottom of the Pyramid (BoP).”
You can pick a “backstreet” from 10+ countries and 40+ cities. From there, choose your activity and leave a deposit.
What’s great is that most of their hosts are found through NGO’s and handicraft organizations, giving priority to artisans and craftsmen who are underprivileged and struggling.
Some experiences you can book include:
- Cooking Momos in a local home in Kathmandu, Nepal
- Taking part in a batik and shibori design workshop in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- Appreciating the Angkor Temples in Siem Reap, Cambodia
Not your usual tour, these fun 24-hour adventure races take place all over the USA (and a few cities in Canada).
Twenty-four hours before the start of the race, you’ll learn what your challenges are, which can be quirky, daring, cultural, community-focused or something else.
Some past sample challenges have included:
- Taking a dip in the ocean
- Petting animals in an animal shelter
- Snapping photos of specific local landmarks
- Telling a complete stranger why you’re thankful for them
- Sampling the food from a local street vendor
- Mailing a letter to a veteran
- Giving a pillow to a homeless person
You have 24 hours to complete the challenges, each of which earns your team points.
And when you need a break, there’s live music and food to enjoy.
By the end of the event, massive amounts of trees have been planted, litter picked up, donations made and more.
Every participant gets a free backpack!
Intrepid Travel is dedicated to offering conscious, small-group tours all over the world with social responsibility in mind.
In fact, they’ve been huge in helping to change the corrupt elephant tourism industry, are passionate about gender equality and choosing local guides when it comes to hiring, and run 1400+ carbon-offset cycling trips, just to name a few sustainable tourism strides.
Through their non-profit, The Intrepid Foundation, they’ve invested over $3.5 million USD into education, community development, healthcare, and wildlife.
Just a few incredible responsible travel experiences you can book through Intrepid include:
- A two-week off-the-beaten path biking trip through Tanzania
- A 10-day Patagonia trekking expedition
- A 15-day Balkan adventure
Note that Intrepid Travel is the parent company of Urban Adventures, listed above in the Day Tours section.
Looking to combine yoga with travel?
This platform showcases yoga retreats from all over the world, allowing you to stay in some really top-notch sustainable accommodations while deepening your practice.
You can search the site by yoga style, destination, fusion experience or an array of other filters to find your perfect yoga trip.
Along with selling high-quality travel and adventure gear, they have an incredible lineup of green travel trips for active and adventurous nomads wanting to immerse themselves in the outdoors.
You’ll enjoy traveling with a local guide who will lead you on a unique itinerary that keeps sustainable tourism in mind.
A few of their many noteworthy small group tour experiences around the world include:
- Hiking, rafting, and ziplining the USA’s Great Smoky Mountains
- Having a multi-sport Peruvian adventure from Machi Picchu to Rainbow Mountain in South America
- Ireland coast-to-coast hiking
- South Africa Ultimate Adventure & Safari
One of the best ways to immerse yourself in local community and culture:
This involves staying in a local home and becoming an active participant in local life.
You’ll see the way people live, how they cook, what they do for fun, and will truly experience a place as a local (vs a tourist).
Homestay.com is a great website for connecting you with these opportunities.
Their website showcases over 33,000 homestays in 160+ countries, too.
Now, if you’d like to do a complimentary homestay, CouchSurfing is a great resource.
Creating an account is free, and you’ll be able to sleep on local couches — and sometimes even have your own bed — in cities all over the world.
CouchSurfing features a passionate community of over 14 million travelers and locals and offers more than just a place to sleep.
In fact, you can also make use of the local city forums for meeting up with locals.
Their tagline is “gear for good”.
This makes sense, as this adventure gear company has “giving back” woven into their mission, specifically alleviating poverty.
Cotopaxi writes grants that help fund education, health and livelihood projects.
Moreover, they host service-focused Questival Races (mentioned above) that are not only fun but lead to trees being planted, clothing and food being donated, and more.
They’re B-Corp Certified, meaning they meet the highest criteria for being a company truly making a difference when it comes to balancing “profit and purpose”.
The mission of NOVICA — in association with National Geographic — is to empower artisans and put dollars into their pockets.
And the way they do this is by offering a gorgeous platform showcasing hand-made clothing, accessories, housewares, and art for sale, made by locals from around the world.
Our personal favorites are the alpaca shawls and sweaters — so comfortable for cool weather trips!
At the time of writing, NOVICA has put almost $90 million in the pockets of artisans around the world.
These handmade scarves are not only stylish, but practical, featuring hidden pockets to keep valuables safe.
They’re made for travelers by travelers, using only the most high-quality fabrics.
Moreover, they come in an array of styles meant for all different climates and travel destinations; so whether you’re going to Antarctica or Thailand, there’s a scarf for you.
Looking for quality earbuds that also give back?
Oomo Sound 3D 5.1 Surround Sound Earbuds offer sound so crystal clear it feels like you can see it, as it comes at you from five different directions.
Yes, you read that right.
The best part?
A portion of each purchase goes toward providing hearing aids or surgery for the hearing impaired.
Empower women with your purchase!
ABLE is an online shop selling apparel and accessories for women.
In fact, this ethical company is also about female empowerment, with a focus on training, educating and investing in women.
Moreover, 96% of their employees are women, and they share their company wages right on their homepage for transparency.
You’ll find a ton of beautiful pieces for travelers in their collection, too, from bags to practical clothing to trip-inspired jewelry.
Their online store showcases lifestyle goods by female-founded brands.
Along with an entire section of the website devoted to travel, you’ll find items related to wellness, self-care, sex, feminine-care, style, and more.
Don’t miss their travel-inspired jewelry selection, full of classic and statement pieces for those with wanderlust in their hearts.
There are many reasons why we love Rheos sunglasses:
- They’re extremely lightweight and don’t give you a headache
- They float — perfect for water activities
- They come in a variety of styles (we love the aviators!)
- Their polarized lenses offer 100% UV protection
- The company offers a 30-day money-back guarantee
- The brand was founded by two passionate travelers, husband-and-wife team Jake and Becca
And if that’s not impressive enough, 1% from each purchase goes to environmental nonprofits protecting the globe’s waterways.
If you’re the type of traveler that has trouble falling asleep — and staying asleep — because of fluctuating body temperature, here is your solution.
The Cool-jams technology was originally developed for the Canadian armed forces, designed to wick away moisture and keep you temperature and comfortable.
Additionally, the pajamas come in a variety of styles, whether you love sets, nightgowns, loungewear, robes, maternity pajamas — they even have an entire collection of travel sleepwear.
A portion of each purchase gets donated to charities focused on important causes like education, family services, and medical research and disease prevention.
Once you sleep on Celestial Silk’s 100% pure Mulberry Silk pillowcase, you’ll never go back.
Along with being uber comfortable, it’s healthier, helping the skin to retain moisture and regulating body temperature.
It’s also non-irritating to hair and skin.
Furthermore, the brand donates 10% of proceeds each month to charities like the World Wildlife Fund, Earth Justice and KARM. Additionally, they gift pillowcases to chemotherapy patients as part of the HairToStay program.
Wowe Lifestyle is on a mission to help people, including travelers, go plastic-free.
They sell everyday products that are natural and made with recyclable materials, from bamboo toothbrushes to reuseable straws to stainless steel water bottles and beyond.
This US-based family-owned business is passionate about sustainable products that minimize waste.
On their site, you’ll find a wide range of zero-waste goods related to beauty, self-care, cleaning, cooking, family, and more.
They even have a section dedicated to low-waste travel!
Can you imagine a life without plastic — or plastic-free travel?
This brand can!
And they’re helping to make it happen by selling high-quality plastic-free products for people at home as well as on the go.
They also have a sustainable travel section on their site!
Additionally, you can peruse their official Plastic Pollution Coalition Store.
Shop sustainably and limit your waste by shopping EarthHero’s wide range of goods related to the outdoors, pets, tech, beauty, clothing, home, and more.
And, yes, they also have a travel section and a zero-waste section.
Snag 10% off most items with code “JESSIE10”.
Made up of a team of artists and activists, this activewear and swimwear brand is all about making high-quality garments featuring bold and beautiful prints — that are also sustainable.
Not only are their products climate neutral, but they’re made with recycled PET plastics and feature minimal packaging.
Additionally, Wolven Threads is a member of 1% For The Planet, meaning that they donate at least 1% of their annual sales to environmental causes.
Get 20% off with code “EPICUREANDCULTURE” (cannot be combined with another sale or discount).
Sustainable Travel Brands: You?
Is your travel brand (or a travel brand you love) high quality, as well as committed to social responsibility, the environment and having a positive impact on the world?
Please fill out this application form and we will get back to you.
Note that we vet all partners listed on this page.