Traveling sustainably is about making intentional choices to serve your destination and planet well.
We asked experts how to make these choices when planning a trip to be as sustainable as possible.
This article is part of “Better Me,” a series about improving your lifestyle and helping society through sustainable efforts and eco-consciousness.
Sustainable travel can feel like an oxymoron — as Justin Francis, the cofounder and CEO of Responsible Travel, a UK-based travel company that evaluates trips and vacation providers, told Insider.
The travel industry can create jobs, or it can lead to over-tourism that lowers residents’ quality of life. Flights emit harmful emissions, but transport travelers to destinations where they can support local economies and participate in positive, nature-based tourism. Lodging accommodations can boost the local economy, or price residents out of their homes.
But Francis believes people can travel “in a way that not only reduces harm but actively maximizes the benefits, for both planet and people.”
Five other sustainable travel experts who spoke with Insider agree and say there are actions travelers can take to lower their negative impact, support the destinations they’re visiting, and have an overall better trip. They suggest considering every aspect of your trip — from where you go to how you get there — as you plan to travel more sustainably.
Kelley Louise, the executive director and founder of Impact Travel Alliance, a nonprofit centered on informing travelers to help improve the world, told Insider that traveling sustainably takes practice and being an imperfect traveler is better than not trying.
As Louise said, “It’s about asking, ‘How can you make little decisions that add up over time and have