Sustainable Travel

Creating positive impact and unforgettable experiences through travel view posts
Sustainability is used so often in the business world today in so many different contexts, it’s lost its meaning. You’ve probably heard the term “greenwashing,” a practice that intentionally misleads customers to believe that a company is more sustainable than it actually is. I define sustainability using the terms below. If you have different definitions or ideas, I welcome your emails and comments to open the dialogue about how to truly define sustainability in the travel world!

5 Months of Travel in 3 Minutes: One-Second Daily Videos

It's difficult to sum-up travel experiences when you return home. The best and occasionally the worst question: "How was your trip?" requires you to continually summarize experiences that shouldn't be summarized: to package them into little digestible bits that fit...
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Living and Learning Mapuche Culture in Curarrehue, Chile

William was driving about 50 miles an hour along a windy valley road towards one of the elementary schools in Curarrehue (kuɾaˈrewe), Chile, and talking about twice as fast. I was trying to keep up with the conversation with marginal success. Our topic of...
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Be a More Responsible Traveler with Travel Better Club

When I tell people that I’m a sustainable travel blogger, the first question I get most of the time is, “what is sustainable travel?” Good question. Most travelers that I speak with want to be more environmentally and socially conscious on the road, but don’t know how...
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Community-Based Tourism in Manquemapu

For thousands of years, nestled between cliffs that Pacific Ocean swells have carved out of the Southern Chilean coast, the gentle Rio Lliuco has sculpted a mystic, idyllic valley that the Mapuche people have called home for fishing and gathering. Today Manquemapu, a...
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But wait, what the heck is sustainable travel anyway?

Environmental Sustainability

This might be the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear sustainability: Clean, renewable energy, energy efficiency, recycling and upcycling, circular economy, sharing economy, carbon offsets, etc. Supporting travel brands, destinations, and initiatives that do not harm our environment.

Social Responsibility

Socially responsible travel supports the people and lifestyle of the destinations we visit.

This includes fair treatment of workers, human rights, philanthropy, and responsible community development. What’s the point of visiting a place and spending your time, energy, and money there if you leave the people and place worse-off than when you arrived?

Cultural Sensitivity & Awareness

Sustainable travel is cognizant of the history and culture of a place: respecting traditions and cultural norms and supporting businesses that foster those traditions without any cultural appropriation. It’s about empowering communities to develop tourism and their destination on their terms. In his book Abstract Wild, Jack Turner talks about the “aura” of a place – it’s inherent wildness and authentic nature. Sustainable travel seeks to keep that aura intact.

Every decision we make as, well, humans generally, has an impact on the people around us. As travelers, we’ve made the decision to visit a place to experience its authentic nature, people, culture, etc. In doing so, we have the potential to negatively impact those very things that we want to keep intact for generations of future travelers.

But we have a choice

We can also choose to spend our time and money supporting businesses and activities that seek to create net-positive impact on the people and places that we visit.

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