If you’re like us, you’re conscious about the footprint you leave as you travel around the world. Over the years, we have come across SO MANY unethical travel companies that exploited people, animals, nature, and culture, and we’ve made it a point to only support companies that leave a positive impact around them.

We’ve taken so many tours with various companies around the world, and we’re happy to reveal 20 sustainable and ethical travel companies you absolutely should know about! We hope that this list helps you on your adventure to become an ethical and conscious traveler.

Before we jump right in, here’s a very fitting quote by David Attenborough that succinctly summarizes why you should travel as sustainably and ethically as possible:

“Since tourists are a source of income, and a very good one, there will always be pressure to increase their numbers. But there comes a point when the wildlife and the environment begin to suffer, and the tourists destroy the very thing that attracted them in the first place.” – David Attenborough.

1. G Adventures

G Adventures - Best Sustainable travel companies

Of course, the first company that comes to mind when you want to list sustainable and ethical travel companies is G Adventures. G Adventures is one of the biggest travel companies in the world, but they’ve always stayed true to their roots. When crafting their tours, they do so in a manner that directly benefits the locals. They build relationships with the local communities in order to help the Indigenous peoples (instead of exploiting or bypassing them) as travelers pass through. G Adventures organizes amazing tours all over the world in literally every continent (yep – including Antarctica!).

2. Intrepid Travel

Intrepid - Sustainable travel companies

Intrepid Travel is another one of our favorite sustainable travel companies. Of course, at their core, they create unique tours that really help you to learn more about the world around you. But more than that, Intrepid is aware of the negative impacts tourism can have on the environment and local communities. So, they work hard to offset that. In fact, Intrepid has been carbon-neutral since 2010! Furthermore, they joined the B Corp to show their commitment to using their business for good. And finally, they give back to the locals by hiring local guides and supporting Indigenous communities.

3. FairBnB

Fairbnb-Best ethical travel companies

It’s no secret that booking Airbnbs can have a negative impact on the locals due to rising rent and cost of living. In order to offset that, the best thing for you to do is to book more ethical forms of accommodation. This is where FairBnB comes in.

FairBnB directly benefits the local community with the help of tourism by donating half of all booking fees to local groups and charities. While FairBnB may not be as widespread as Airbnb at the moment, they have a growing list of destinations in Europe you may want to check out! Plus, FairBnB screens all hosts and has a one host, one house rule. So, you won’t find companies overrunning the entire site like you will on websites like Airbnb.

Click here if you want to check out more ethical alternatives to Airbnb!

4. Responsible Travel

Responsible travel - sustainable travel companies

It’s not surprising that a company named Reponsible Travel is all about sustainable and ethical travel! Founded in 2001, Responsible Travel believes that your trip and travel experiences are only enhanced when the trip benefits others, most notably the local communities and surrounding nature. They create holidays that maximize any benefits tourism has while reducing any negative impacts on the communities and our planet. One thing we love about Responsible Travel is that they specifically mention what benefits each holiday has when you click on the Responsible Travel tab underneath the Reviews tab. They have destinations and holidays all around the world!

5. Adventure Alternative

Adventure Alternative -sustainable travel companies

Started by a mountaineer in 1991, Adventure Alternative has been a leading travel company organizing and guiding expeditions on every corner of the earth! This is the sustainable travel company you want to go with if you’re interested in crazy adventures, such as hiking Mount Everest, going on a wildlife safari, and trekking Borneo or the Sahara Desert.

Adventure Alternative understands that tourism can be an exploitative business. So, they work hard to reduce any negative impacts they may have on destinations by benefiting local staff and companies. They also give profits back to the local communities and businesses.

6. Earthwatch Expeditions

Earth Watch - Sustainable travel

Earthwatch is an environmental nonprofit organization that’s been pairing volunteers with researchers all across the world. They offer more than 40 types of expeditions, including those that don’t have any experience in field research expeditions. Earthwatch aims to safeguard critical habitats, conserve biodiversity, and promote sustainability. These 40+ research projects produce meaningful research in order to solve the Earth’s environmental issues. So, if you’re passionate about the environment and nature, one of Earthwatch’s expeditions could be a life-changing experience for you.

7. Seacology

Seacology - ethical travel companies

If you’re on the lookout for an ecotourism adventure, check out Seacology. Seacology offers expeditions on islands around the world from Fiji to Borneo and beyond. Through their expeditions, you’ll not only travel to these amazing islands but also meet locals and really see the difference Seacology is making in conserving island habitats and helping the local communities as well. Beyond that, you’ll still be able to enjoy yourself immensely on their trips by seeing cultural sites, staying in luxurious resorts, and partaking in various activities like snorkeling and hiking.

8. Lokal Travel

Lokal Travel -ethical travel companies

As evidenced by their name, Lokal Travel is all about local tourism. The company is passionate about empowering local communities and leaving as much of a positive impact as possible. They create itineraries that not only make a memorable trip but also a meaningful one by purposefully connecting with local companies and accommodations owned by indigenous communities. They aim for 80% of the dollars you spend to stay local. When you travel with Lokal, you’re guaranteed to stay away from the inauthentic giant hotel chains but instead, help curate an itinerary for you that best supports the local culture and community while also protecting the environment.

9. Operation Groundswell

Operation Groundswell -sustainable travel

Operation Groundswell, or OG, is built with ethical tourism in mind. This is a great sustainable travel company if you are on more of a budget but still looking to make a positive impact on the world as you travel. OG partners with local organizations wherever they go and creates trips that are made up of local sleeping arrangements, local food, and local forms of transportation. All of this creates an incredibly meaningful trip you wouldn’t be able to plan on your own! Plus, you’ll really get to know the local and global issues during your trip.

10. Off Season Adventures

Off Season Adventures - sustainable travel companies

Looking for a sustainable safari in Africa? Off Season Adventures uses many different methods to become a more ethical travel company every day. First of all, the whole crux of their company is that they promote travel in the off-season. This means their trips are often unique, with a better opportunity to directly connect with the locals without the bustling crowds. 

Furthermore, Off Season Adventures understands the local and environmental impact of travel, so the company operates completely paperless and recycles all plastic bottles. They also invest a percentage of your money to invest straight back into the local communities and wildlife.

11. bookdifferent

book different - ethical travel

bookdifferent has a specific mission in mind to transition the world into more sustainable travel. After all, the way that most of the world travels right now is leading to a myriad of issues, including overcrowding and pollution. To help combat this, bookdifferent is all about creating a space where travelers can easily find green accommodations and businesses. This website makes it so much easier to lessen the negative impact you’ll generally leave as you travel. With more than 2 million options on the website, you’ll be spoiled for choice when picking a place to stay with bookdifferent.com.

12. Earth Changers

earth changers-sustainable travel

An easy way to make a positive impact when you travel is to book with a sustainable travel company like Earth Changers. This company focuses on crafting tourism experiences for travelers who want to travel the world but leave a positive impact while doing so. Earth Changes specializes in sustainable tourism, engages with local communities, and educates themselves and others on local and environmental issues.

With this company, you can travel from Costa Rica and the Galapagos to Nepal and even the world’s oceans with their awesome sailing expeditions!

13. Weeva

Weeva - sustainable travel companies

Ever since the Covid-19 pandemic, the tourism industry has been a pretty volatile place. Many travel companies have seen massive ups and downs. And many had to shut their doors after the pandemic, which essentially barred all travel for a couple of years. This not only affected standard tourism but also many sustainability and environmental organizations and Weeva aims to address this. 

Weeva is a sustainability platform for travel businesses that helps track and manage their ecological impacts. The company’s goal is to educate people about the massive amount of emissions created by the tourism industry (around 9% of total emissions!) and provide resources and solutions to lessen this impact. If you run a tourism business and are looking for ways to track and optimize your ecological impact, Weeva is an excellent choice.

14. Regenerative Travel

Regenerative Travel - sustainable companies

One of the coolest sustainable travel companies out there, Regenerative Travel is a company that I think we will hear a lot more of as sustainable travel becomes more of a necessity. The company is working to influence and educate both travelers and travel providers to shift to a more environmentally sustainable form of travel. This will not only be healthier for the planet, but it will also be beneficial to the communities in the countries we visit.

Regenerative Travel started out as a booking platform connecting tourists with regenerative hotels around the world. Now, they offer experiences and special memberships for businesses, industry professionals, and travelers. You can sign up for their traveler membership for free, which gives you a $99 credit on all regenerative hotels booked through the Regenerative Travel portal.

15.  Gondwana Ecotours

Gondwana

Gondwana Ecotours is a travel company that offers tours to several destinations around the world, including Patagonia, Alaska, Rwanda, Norway, Costa Rica, and more. The ethos of Gondwana is to provide a travel solution that leaves a smaller carbon footprint and less negative impacts on the local communities. In fact, ALL of Gonwana tours are carbon neutral, even offsetting the emissions from flights Gondwana guests take to get to tour locations. This is not an easy feat! They are one of the few verifiable carbon neutral travel companies, so Gondwana sets an awesome example!

Beyond their environmental efforts, Gondwana Ecotours also supports local businesses and family-owned hotels and lodging. They strive to bring money into the local economy of the countries they operate in rather than supporting large hotel corporations. Gondwana definitely gets a gold star from us!

16. Byway Travel

Byway-ethical travel companies

Thinking about lessening your carbon emissions by going flight-free? Then, Byway is the travel company you should check out! Byway is the first-ever 100% flight-free travel platform. So, they create travel and accommodation packages that use just trains, buses, and ferries. They hope that travel will eventually become more flight-free as sustainable travel becomes crucial in the face of climate change and other environmental challenges the world is facing.

Byway definitely has the right idea, so we highly recommend checking out their services if heading on a trip to Europe somewhere.

17. Contiki Tours

COntiki - sustainable travel

Contiki Tours is one of the biggest travel companies on this list. It may be a surprise that such a massive name in the tourism industry is also a leader in sustainability and ethical practices. However, for such a huge company, Contiki Tours does a good job of prioritizing sustainability. The company has a climate action plan with hopes to cut its carbon emissions by up to 90% in the next few decades. They also prioritize bus travel over plane travel and use public transportation when possible.

Contiki invests in conservation and nature restoration in an effort to offset their carbon emissions and even urges tour-goers to eat vegetarian meals!

18. Kind Traveler

Kind traveler - sustainable companies

Something we always preach is to leave a positive impact on the communities you visit. It happens too often that tourists visit a country and harm the communities there more than they benefit them. Kind Traveler is a tourism company with a great cause that supports sustainable and ethical travel practices that we just love to see! 

The company has a Give+Get hotel booking system that supports various charitable causes in the same location as your booking. This system is ingenious, as you can see exactly what your money is supporting when making the booking. For example, if you book a certain hotel in Paris, your donation supports a French animal rescue center.

19. Charitable Travel

Charitable Travel - Ethical travel companies

As you would expect from the company’s name, Charitable Travel is a travel agency that gives its profits to charity instead of pocketing the extra money. Charitable Travel has partnered with companies all over the world and acts like a third-party search engine of sorts to link travelers with ethical tour companies—all in the name of charity!

The company offers luxury travel, volunteer opportunities, and just about everything in between, so if you want to book a vacation and give a bit of money to a noble cause in the process, we highly recommend checking out Charitable Travel!

20. Food. Stories. Travel.

Food Stories Travel - sustainable

An Italy-based tour company that focuses on cycling, good food, and unique experiences Food. Stories. Travel. is a company we couldn’t leave off this list. The small tour company offers everything from food tours and cooking classes to cycling tours and cultural experiences.

Italy is an extremely touristy country, so finding a unique tour company that aims to get visitors off the beaten path is very reassuring. The company steers clear of the obvious and over visited sites, instead offering visitors unique experiences in less-trodden areas. Additionally, Food. Stories. Travel is a carbon-neutral company and does its best to minimize the environmental impact of its tours.

Make a Positive Impact on Your Travel Destinations!

The reality is that no matter how physically small your footprint is, you make an impact when you travel. Historically, travel has always been exploitative of the local communities and the nature around us. So, the best thing to do to minimize the negative impacts you have is to book your trips with the help of sustainable and ethical travel companies.

If you’re a digital nomad, you might also want to check out our guide on how to be an ethical digital nomad.

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