Want to travel responsibly but don’t know where to start? Check out these sustainable travel blogs for some tips and inspiration on how to tread lightly while on the road.
Trying to live a more eco-friendly existence can often feel a bit like re-inventing the wheel.
As a society, we’ve stepped so far away from what is needed to be done to live in harmony with the planet, it’s hard to know where to begin.
That’s why it’s helpful to look to others for inspiration, particularly where travel is concerned.
The further you deep-dive into sustainability, the more multi-faceted it seems.
Responsible travel in particular means something different to many people and it’s important to play to your own strengths.
For some, it’s finding the joy in exploring their own backyard. Others travel in a way that aligns with their own belief systems.
Some travellers simply love the planet and want to do their part in leaving the world a better place, by treading lightly and being respectful to the places they visit and the people who live within them.
This is a recurring theme in this collection of sustainable travel blogs, who centre on responsible travel in some way.
Theirs are blogs that you’ll find yourself returning to again and again, because their content has heart and in their writing, they are unabashedly themselves.
This is something that is rare in the world of travel blogging and really… in the world as it is!
Solo Sustainable Travel Blogs
The following bloggers either travel or run their blogs on their own and are an inspiration for a number of different reasons.
Hello from yours truly!
I started Birdgehls in 2014, ostensibly to write about expat life.
However, in 2016 I tried to give up plastic for a year. It changed my life and my way of thinking, entirely.
After moving to Australia in 2017, I concentrate on writing about backyard travel in my city, state and native country.
I travel a lot less than I used to, but my travels are far more rewarding.
I’ve also become heavily involved in conservation, particularly as Australia has a unique range of endemic flora and fauna. Many of our species of plants, animals, birds and insects face imminent extinction.
Here’s my advice for sustainable travel and living:
“Travel is wonderful and exploring countries and cities beyond our own territory is a gift to be thankful for.
However – don’t forget about your own backyard! Exploring your home can be a rewarding experience. Sometimes even more so than travelling overseas.
Plus, it gives you the opportunity to deep dive even further. You can get involved with local communities, explore heritage buildings, lend a hand to conservation efforts.
The world is a big and beautiful place, but it’s up to us to protect the patches that mean something to us.”
The Invisible Tourist
The Invisible Tourist has fast become one of my favourite sustainable travel blogs.
Its founder Alyse encourages readers to see the best of what a destination has to offer, while making every attempt to blend in.
It all comes down to respect. For example, not littering or graffitiing historical monuments (it’s shocking that this is a point that even needs to be made) and considering the effects that services such as AirBnb have on cities (such as driving up rent and making it difficult for locals to source housing).
What I find most admirable about Alyse is that she blogs whilst refusing to put herself in the picture.
Many bloggers fall into the trap of making their blogs all about themselves (guilty as charged here, on many occasions). However, you won’t find her face anywhere on her blog (or in this post!) – just detailed itineraries and good, honest tips on how to travel and remain decent.
[bctt tweet=”Looking for some eco-inspiration? Check out these 15 travel bloggers whose blogs are all based in sustainability, whether that be vegan travel, minimalism, encouraging cultural connections or inspiring others to explore their own backyard. #SustainableTravel”]
Here’s her tip on what she considers good tourism:
“Try your best to “be invisible” when travelling!
As tourists, we should help locals where we can, not make their lives more difficult. This means learning a few things before your trip so you can blend in with locals once you’re there.
For instance, learn some local lingo, etiquette and research how you will get from A to B beforehand.
Staying longer also allows you to enjoy the busy tourist spots during off-peak periods and leaves plenty of time to explore off the beaten path at your destination.
Adopting these overtourism solutions will help you dilute your tourist footprint on your next trip!”
Look out for more tips on invisible tourism by following Alyse’s Facebook page.
Travel for Difference
This is the type of sustainable travel blog which will inspire you to do and be better, in every aspect of your life.
This is largely owed to Kate, who had an epiphany in her early twenties, as she was travelling through India.
When she returned home to Australia, she quit her career as a make-up artist, stopped eating meat and began implementing some massive lifestyle changes, all geared towards sustainability.
Her responsible travel tip is something that may not immediately occur to everyone, but is very important nonetheless:
“Most people get travel insurance before a trip, right? But what if I told you that many of the major insurance companies are investing millions of dollars into the coal industry… It’s not a good look, and it’s certainly not sustainable.
So before you book your insurance, look for companies that are clear and honest about their investment portfolios! The key is to look for ones that divest from fossil fuel assets and that rule out the underwriting of any further coal, oil and gas extraction projects.
You want to support a company that’s working to fight against climate change, not one that’s contributing to it!”
Sustainable travel blogs come in many forms.
Megan fulfils one aspect of sustainable tourism that doesn’t quite get the attention it deserves – that of spreading the tourist dollars in the destinations that need it most.
Megan has been one of my favourite bloggers for years now, mostly because we have the exact same taste in destinations (namely the Nordics, Eastern European and Central Asian countries), as well as a love for brutalist architecture, crap weather and fluffy canines.
A lot of sugar-coating goes on in the blogging world and so Megan’s honesty in her writing is refreshing.
If she doesn’t like a place, she will say so, with solid reasoning behind her statements.
She’s also one of the few bloggers I know with a big following, who decided Instagram was trash (a sentiment I agree with) and quit it for good.
I really admire the fact that she frequently shines a torch on places that other travellers tend to avoid, which are both very deserving of and in need of tourism.
“For me, travelling responsibly sometimes means going to places that others don’t frequent. I like to call it ‘spreading the wealth’.
Large cities tend to get more investment than smaller ones and by using your travel privilege to visit some of these places, you have the chance to invest your money in independent cafes, guesthouses, and other local businesses.
These areas with fewer people are places that others, including a country’s own government, tend to overlook. While this stands for places within a country, it also can apply to countries that aren’t necessarily getting the tourism that they deserve or have the potential for.
I am currently working on a site with my best friend to grow tourism in Armenia and it will focus on the country in its entirety, but also with a large aim at independent businesses.”
The Shooting Star
At the age of 23, Shivya quit her corporate job, to take up her dream of travelling the world.
Eight years later (as of 2019), she hasn’t looked back.
She’s embracing slow, overland travel, taking up a vegan lifestyle, writing a best-selling book and promoting responsible travel, particularly in her home country of India.
She delights in exploring regions of the world that many do not travel to. The aspect of her blog that stands out most for me, are the stories she shares from the road, of the places she visits and the people she meets along the way – life lessons she’s gleaned from people she’s crossed paths with, tales of others who are pushing boundaries and achieving their dreams.
Travel blogging has mostly turned into a mess of “10 things to do in x-country” and “How to see blah blah place in x days”, so it’s refreshing to find a blog where storytelling is a key theme.
Forging human connections is an important part of travel and it makes you a better person for it.
Onto her top responsible travel tip:
“Seeking an encounter with animals is high on the agenda of many travellers.
Unfortunately many animal attractions – including zoos, places that let you pet or take selfies with wild animals, establishments that serve up “exotic animals” as food – are hotbeds of animal cruelty.
Instead, read about their practices and the reviews of past travellers, and choose to visit an animal sanctuary or shelter that helps rescue and rehabilitate animals.
Consider visiting animal farms and ask questions to learn about where the food on your plate comes from; it’s what ultimately convinced me to adopt a vegan lifestyle.”
Follow Shivya’s travels around the world on Instagram.
Justin Plus Lauren
Lauren travels around the world, sometimes accompanied by her boyfriend Justin, often solo.
She’s been raised vegetarian from birth and has been vegan since her mid-twenties.
Lauren’s website is full of itineraries and ideas for a vegan lifestyle, as well as tips for anyone looking to embrace a plant-based diet.
I am personally not vegan, but agree that we consume way more meat that is healthy for us as a race and the planet.
Cutting out meat, or reducing the amount you eat on a weekly basis can have a positive impact on the world around you.
As it is her area of expertise, I’ll let Lauren take over from here:
By choosing a plant-based diet, you’ll not only be helping your own health and the lives of animals, but you’ll be saving the planet, too.
A person following a vegan diet uses 50% less carbon dioxide, 1/13th the amount of water, and 1/18th the amount of land for their food in comparison to someone who eats meat.
They also save 1100 gallons of water, 30 square feet of forest, 45 pounds of grain, and one animal’s life – every single day.
Why not consider a vegan lifestyle while travelling and in your everyday life, or at least choose a meatless meal when you can?”
For more of Lauren’s travels, check out her Instagram.
Claire’s blog is an excellent resource for anyone wanting to deep-dive into sustainable travel, particularly if you’re on a budget.
Having spent some time living, working and travelling in Oz, her backlog of Australian content is impressive (especially when it comes to road trips, something Australia does quite well).
You’ll also find itineraries for many different destinations, as well as vegan city guides.
A UK national, Claire is leaving South East Asia, where she has been previously based, to slowly make her way home. I know I’ll be following along on her adventure as she navigates from Bali to London… without flying!
“My best sustainable travel tip is to take trains rather than flying.
Taking trains – especially electric trains – emits far fewer greenhouse gases than planes. Of course, it’s not always possible to travel by train, but I would highly recommend choosing train travel over plane travel for short, easy journeys.
Some destinations where trains are especially good include Europe and various spots in Asia like Japan, China (go on the bullet train!) and Thailand.”
Follow Claire’s overland journey via Instagram.
Charlie on Travel
Charlie and her boyfriend Luke were digital nomads, who spent years slow travelling around the world, inspired by the six months they spent teaching English in Taiwan.
Due to an interest in sustainability, the two looked to options that would allow them to extend their travels, whilst having a low environmental impact.
As such, they embraced house-sitting, happily spent extended periods of time exploring the cities and countries they visited and travelled as vegetarians.
The two have recently returned to the UK, but continue to make travel and sustainability a priority, even striving to make their home base a zero-waste zone.
If you want to leave a positive impact on each country you visit, consider the following:
“Support local businesses when you travel.
Look for locally-owned guesthouses and cafe/restaurants instead of foreign-owned chains. When you spend money with locals, you’re supporting their businesses and the local economy.
If you stay and eat at foreign-owned hotels and restaurants, your tourist dollar is leaving the country and not helping the local community.
Staying and eating in local places is a richer cultural experience, as you get to learn more about local life and food.”
Follow Charlie on Facebook.
A Jaunt With Joy
As a wildlife biologist, Joy is passionate about animals and conservation and seriously has me thinking about changing my career path to one that actually aligns with my interests.
Joy splits her time between the west coast of the USA and onboard cruise ships, frequenting destinations like Alaska.
When she’s not working, she’s happily chilling out in nature, which has led to articles such as this great round up of tips for solo female hiking.
She also loves dogs, as all fabulous human beings do.
I’d expect someone with her background and passion to have some pretty good tips for travelling responsibly and as it turns out, my hunch is correct!
“One of my biggest responsible travel tips is to leave the Do Not Disturb sign on your hotel door to cut down on electricity and water your cleaner would have used.
Another tip is to buy a few stainless steel straws and carry them around in your bag. It may seem like such a little thing to do, but cutting down on the use of plastic straws (and bags) around the world can be incredibly impactful. Especially for the survival of wildlife!”
Want to keep up with Joy’s wanderings? Follow her on Instagram.
Sick of seeing others of her generation bouncing across the world at a rapid pace, Steph made a pledge to travel with meaning – embracing every opportunity and adventure that came her way.
It was this decision that saw her move to Bolivia in late 2014.
Here she spent two years exploring the continent of South America, whilst volunteering with communities that could benefit from her combined skill-set and passion.
Steph rightly points out that volunteering isn’t actually about the individual – shock, horror, but it needs to be said.
The role of a volunteer is only ever meaningful if your actions are proving to be beneficial to the community that you’ve chosen to work within.
Here’s her tip for thoughtful and responsible travel:
“Responsible travel has many different guises and a lot of people these days are seeing how volunteering can be a way of interacting more profoundly with a new country and being able to give something back.
To be most effective and responsible, choose to volunteer directly with a local NGO, charity or social enterprise as this means you won’t be paying an agency middleman and you’ll probably have more control over what work you end up doing.”
If you’re contemplating stepping into the wonderful world of volunteering, have a read of Steph’s in-depth guide to volunteering in South America.
You can follow her on Facebook, for more inspiration.
Of all the sustainable travel blogs on this list, Katie is the one I am most in awe of – and that’s saying something.
Many of us will have expressed shock and outrage over the treatment of refugees across Europe (and the world).
Katie, who is no stranger to volunteering actively went and did something about it, in 2016.
I’ll let her tell you her story in her own words…
“Though the “Jungle” has been evicted, refugees’ problems in Calais are far from over. With more people arriving every day, a large majority of them unaccompanied teenagers, the work of organisations such as Help Refugees, L’Auberge and Utopia 56 is essential. These grass-roots, volunteer run organisations exist purely through donations of time, goods and money. They provide the only food, warmth and support that is available to these vulnerable people who, now the camp is gone, are forced to sleep outside without any shelter at all.
After planning to help out for a week or two last July, I ended up staying until December. It was simple to get involved and help was desperately needed.”
Time is precious and the most valuable thing any of us have to offer. Something worth remembering.
Katie is now thoroughly exploring the Inner Hebrides of Scotland and beyond. Follow her explorations on Facebook.
Couple Sustainable Travel Blogs
Here are some responsibly-minded duos who are making a difference in the world of travel blogging.
Travel Off Path
If minimalism is your area of interest, this is a blog worth exploring.
High-earning Kashlee had worked herself into a cycle that many of us fall prey to – spending all of our time working, to buy nice things that we don’t really need and don’t always have time to use because we’re working so hard, yet we buy them to make ourselves feel better about all the time we spend at work… phew.
Kashlee and her husband Trevor took stock and did some serious downsizing in 2017, selling their house and 90% of their belongings. before setting off around the world.
They now live out of two suitcases one half of the year and in a campervan the other half and travel freely, in more ways than one.
For them, minimalism has become a way of life and is a no brainer when it comes to travelling responsibly, as a minimalist traveller will see the appeal in staying in hotels that do their bit to reduce waste and spending their money on quality experiences, rather than things.
“This year Trevor and I have been looking into how to be more responsible travellers beyond the re-usable water bottle. We’ve already made tiny tweaks regarding single use plastics, but knew we needed to step up our game because of how many flights we take.
We had heard of carbon offsetting, but didn’t realise how amazing it was until we tried it first hand!
In a nut shell, Carbon Offsetting allows you to reverse your environmental karma from all the Co2 emissions you contribute while travelling. You simply put your flight details into an easy calculator like MyClimate and it tells you how to right your carbon wrong-doings.
Our recent flight from Tokyo to Bali created 2.6 tonnes of Co2 that we decided to offset, which is 4x’s the amount we should be creating per year to help stop climate change. Since we had to take that flight, we decided to ‘offset’ the carbon by donating to help re-forestation in Nicaragua.
My Climate helped us calculate the amount based on the length of our flight, and organszed the donation for the trees being planted. It also helps to support the local economy of the farmers. Major win/win!”
Keep up with Kashlee on Instagram.
Two Wandering Soles
Minnesotans and high-school sweethearts Katie and Ben have been travelling full-time since 2014.
The longer they’ve been on the road, the more socially aware their travels have become.
These two responsible travel bloggers have taught English in South Korea, lived out the back of a van and spent extended periods of time in destinations, getting into local explorations whilst they grow their business.
If you travel often or long-term, you will see firsthand how negative travel affects the environment.
This can often be a powerful catalyst for change, in yourself, your habits and your actions (it was for me, at least).
Katie and Ben look to fund their travels in ways that are socially responsible, opting to support eco-tourism businesses and tread lightly, wherever they go.
“As travellers, the money we spend sends a “vote” and shows what types of businesses and activities we care about.
One of the biggest impacts you can make as a responsible traveller is to really think about what your money is supporting.
Everything you do on your travels – from the hotels you stay in, to the restaurants you eat at, to the tour companies you go with – shows your support for their business, and your money will fund their future. Make sure you know exactly what you are supporting.
It’s easier than it sounds: Shop at local mom-and-pop shops, instead of chains. Research the tour companies you choose and go with those that employ locals and can show proof of sustainable practices. And any time animals or a fragile environment is involved, do extra research.
For instance, we paid a bit more money to stay at a jungle lodge in the Amazon that employed only the indigenous people and is actively working on conservation. The extra $50 we paid shows support for this type of business model. And if enough travellers support this, more jungle lodges will start to incorporate these practices.”
Follow Two Wandering Soles on Instagram.
Drink Tea & Travel
The name of Drink Tea & Travel alone pays homage to two of life’s greatest pleasures (in my humble opinion), but there’s obviously more to it than just that.
Canadians Oksana and Max spent some time working in and thoroughly exploring Australia before hitting the road full-time in 2015.
They’re now semi-nomadic, with a home-base in Costa Rica (which is not a bad place to base yourself if you have a passion for sustainability!).
They strive to make a positive impact with their travels, seeking local human connections and cultural experiences.
Their sustainable travel blog is an excellent resource for responsible travel, with tips for travelling sustainably in certain countries, green accommodation recommendations and plenty of sustainable travel tips, such as the following:
“Eat Local! One of the best way to reduce your environmental impact while travelling is to ditch the foods that you are used to at home and eat whatever is in season and can be sourced locally in the country where you are travelling.
This will not only reduce the carbon footprint of the food, as it won’t need to be flown in from the other side of the world, but also help local businesses and local farmers in the country you are visiting.”
Settle down with a cuppa and check out their adventures on Instagram.
One really simple way to travel sustainably is to concentrate first and foremost on exploring your own backyard.
Fellow Melburnians Emma and Thom do just that, travelling across our marvellous country any chance they get, to poke around in hidden nooks and crannies across the state of Victoria and beyond.
They’re experienced campers and share their best camping tips for non-campers here.
They’re also renovating a vintage caravan, which they plan to take on a lap of Australia, making me very jealous in the process.
I’ve asked them for their responsible travel tip and it’s a good one for keeping Australia (and beyond) beautiful:
“One of the most important ways to travel responsibly is to leave behind no trace that you were there when you leave. This is especially important when you’re visiting anywhere in nature, whether you’re camping, hiking, or even just having a picnic on the beach.
Rubbish being left behind can have such a destructive impact on the environment, with plastics floating into lakes, rivers and oceans, litter clogging drains, and unsuspecting wildlife accidentally eating something that they shouldn’t have.
Before you leave your campsite make sure you’ve picked up every piece of rubbish from the site. When you drive away, you really want your site to look like no one had ever been there in the first place. It’s the only way to help maintain these fragile environments, and also to ensure that amazing free camps are always open for anyone to enjoy.”
Follow Explore Shaw on Instagram.
Alesha and Jarryd of Nomadasaurus
Australia’s number one adventure travel blog consists of writer Jarryd and photographer Alesha, who make a formidable team.
The two Aussies met in Canada in 2008 and kicked off their adventures together, driving across Canada and backpacking Central America.
Several years ago the duo embarked on an epic overland journey, planning to make their way from Asia to Africa without flying.
Their travels took them as far as Turkey over the course of two years, as they immersed themselves in local culture and had one hell of an adventure.
As long term travellers, Alesha and Jarryd understand the importance of having a positive impact on the communities they encounter as they traverse around the world.
What’s their number one tip for travelling responsibly?
“Always carry a metal water bottle with you and refill it to cut down on the use of plastic.
If you are travelling in a country where you can’t drink the tap water take a SteriPEN with you to sterilise the water, or buy large jugs and refill out of those.
This simple act will help minimise unnecessary waste, and will go a long way to helping improve the environment in the places you visit.”
Want to read more? Here are 10 ways you too can be a responsible traveller.
Keep up with Lesh and Jazza’s ongoing adventures on Facebook.
These are of course many other fabulous sustainable travel blogs out there, as it a movement that is only growing over time. And thank goodness for that.
If you have any favourites, do let me know in the comments!
Other Sustainable Travel Posts