Travelers who make educated purchase decisions in an effort to make a positive economic, cultural and environmentally-friendly impact on the destination they’re visiting know that traveling in this fashion is far more rewarding than your typical tourist jaunt. Whether you already know a thing or two about sustainable tourism, or you’re looking to find more purpose-driven travel experiences, there are an incredible amount of resources online for ensuring that your next adventure abroad benefits the community you’re visiting. Here are seven of my favorite travel blogs that specialize in pointing out destinations, methods, and companies to help you travel sustainably:
A beautifully designed and thoughtful site, The Culture-ist covers topics ranging from general travel inspiration to eco-travel, volunteer opportunities and holistic wellness. Their online magazine is an oasis for building a more centered life, both at home and abroad, and topics range from saving endangered species to helping refugees and all the way down to travel book recommendations. The Wellness Warrior section provides helpful advice on reducing stress, eating well and trying innovative therapies. For those looking to get more involved, The Culture-ist’s sister nonprofit Humanity Unified invests in women to empower communities to rise out of poverty.
Epicure & Culture is a blog for lovers of food, wine and ethical travel. There are articles about travel destinations around the world, and the site also touches on important topics like global problems such as sweatshops and child trafficking. There’s a special focus on food and drinks, with articles on local wineries, breweries, chocolatiers, and other food-based businesses. If you’re looking for inspiration for your next trip, Epicure & Culture is a great place to start, especially if dining is one of your main pleasures when traveling. And for those of you looking to get involved in-person, I definitely recommend checking out the founder Jessie’s tours in New York City – NYC Tours & Photo Safaris.
In search of tips for a greener living, both at home and when traveling? Look no further than Ecophiles. In the Earthbeat section, you’ll find an incredible amount of articles on environmentally progressive practices and policies like banning plastic bags, sustainable energy and fighting climate change. For those looking for city guides, check out the team’s travel suggestions to places from the Caribbean to Europe and Asia for ecological travel. The Ecophiles vision is to empower people to think, live and travel on greener paths, and the platform has an incredible amount of resources to provide travelers with the information and inspiration to travel more sustainably.
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My personal favorites articles on Bemused Backpacker are those that take a critical look at the state of animal-related tourism, as Mike provides a thoughtful critique of the current state of our industry. As a whole, the site is focused on tips and advice for backpackers and world travelers, with a special emphasis on young travelers looking for adventures during their gap year. Unsure as to whether your travel experience is ethical? Bemused Backpacker includes specific travel resources and consultation services to help people travel safely and ethically.
A nonprofit organization founded to empower travelers to change the world, Ethical Traveler is an incredible resource for travelers seeking to impact the world. Ethical Traveler was founded in 2002, and their first campaign was a successful full tourism boycott of Nepal (read more here). Today, Ethical Traveler exists not only as an online resource for travelers, but also as an organization dedicated to improving economic conditions, protecting human rights and helping the environment through travel. In addition to recommending ethical destinations, Ethical Traveler also organizes trips of its own (and I’d eye this one to Cuba if I were you). Ethical Traveler releases a list of the ten best ethical destinations every year (read the best ethical destinations for 2017 here), and is an invaluable resource if you’re interested in making a real difference in the world through your travels.
Uncornered Market believes that the best way to experience life fully and communicate with diverse people is to tell stories, both in words and photos — and they certainly inspire others to do so as well. The blog invites readers to tell their own stories as they travel and interact with locals and other travelers on their journeys. Uncornered Market founders Daniel Noll and Audrey Scott are particularly enthusiastic about “two-way” storytelling, which means not just listening to the people you meet, but also sharing your own stories with them. The site also has an amazing selection of travel photos and videos highlighting some fascinating trips, and some of my personal favorites include their recommendations on local cuisines around the world.
“Delta” John Carter, a local legend for his knowledge and wisdom drawn from growing up in a village along the Okavango Delta. He served as one of our guides, including on this late afternoon makoro (dugout canoe) paddle along the slowly rising network of waterways just outside Camp Okavango. A remarkable experience all its own, but astonishing when you consider the ecology and cycle that sees the annual filling of these channels, then absorption of the water into the sands of the Kalahari Desert. In the current season, in only a few days, once dry patches turn to lagoon as the flood waters arrive. It gave us a sense of what the same land looks like flush with water…and without.
Of course, my list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Travel+SocialGood’s blog. TSG is a global nonprofit and community aimed at propelling the travel industry to meet its potential for positive impact. One of our initiatives is the Media Network, an alliance of content creators who are passionate about sustainable tourism. All of the bloggers listed in this article are a part of the Network, and we work together to collaborate and cross-promote with one another. On the TSG blog, we syndicate some of the articles to provide the TSG community with a variety of educational resources, travel anecdotes on sustainable tourism, current issues around the world and other topics. Interested in applying as a part of the Network? Learn more on our site.