Traveling can be enlightening, transformative, and joyous—but it can also come with a heavy environmental cost. From carbon emissions produced by flights to all the various disposable plastics that travelers may encounter during their trips, it’s no secret that traveling is hard on the planet. Thankfully, an increasing number of tour operators are taking the call for sustainability seriously.
Here are 10 eco-friendly trip options for the climate-conscious traveler.
1. Journeys With Purpose
What we love: 1.87 million acres of protected land in Argentina
From $14,225. Book now.
Journeys With Purpose’s “The Return of the Jaguar” trip is led by Sofía Heinonen, executive director of Fundación Rewilding Argentina. Participants learn about the history of Iberá National Park in the country’s northeast and about the reintroduction of endangered species (such as the jaguar) to its wetlands, home to more than 30 percent of Argentina’s biodiversity.
2. Wheel the World
What we love: Eight days of accessible travel in Egypt
From $3,696. Book now.
Wheel the World offers multi-day trips on six continents, and for each destination it researches attractions, transportation, and hotels to optimize mobility and access for all travelers. On its “Wonders of Egypt” tour, participants visit the pyramids in Cairo, then board a four-day Nile cruise to see such historical hot spots as the Karnak and Luxor temples.
3. Volcanoes Safaris
What we love: Seven days of chimpanzees in Uganda
From $9,448. Book now.
Volcanoes Safaris (a 2022 AFAR Travel Vanguard honoree) is recognized not only for protecting endangered mountain gorillas in East Africa but also for supporting the surrounding communities. Its new seven-day “Chimpanzee Tracking Safari” in southwestern Uganda aims to spot chimps, of course, but elephants, lions, and leopards too. Guests can also meet members of the Kyambura Women’s Coffee Cooperative, harvest honey with a beekeeping group, and go birding in a wetland sanctuary.
4. Butterfield & Robinson
What we love: Two wheels (and some sake) in Japan
From $11,295. Book now.
Traveling from Tokyo to Kyoto, Butterfield & Robinson’s eight-day “Central Japan E-Biking” journey is loaded with activities on and off the e-bikes it provides. Cyclists stop for a paper-making lesson in an artist’s studio and a sake tasting at a fifth-generation brewery, then relax in ryokan accommodations and hot springs.
5. Intrepid Travel
What we love: 100 percent carbon-neutral biking in Sri Lanka
From $2,540. Book now.
Intrepid Travel, a 2022 AFAR Travel Vanguard honoree, has been carbon neutral since 2010. Now it’s adding carbon labeling to every tour on its website to show how the company is trying to reduce the emissions produced. So bikers on the 14-day “Cycle Sri Lanka” trip, for example, will know that they’re not harming the environment when they pedal to see national parks and the UNESCO-designated ruins of Polonnaruwa.
6. Arctic Bay Adventures
What we love: 24 hours in the Arctic
From $9,220. Book now.
Inuit-owned and -guided Arctic Bay Adventures leads a nine-day trip through Canada that brings guests to its camp on Baffin Island’s floe edge. There, they’ll look for polar bears, beluga whales, and narwhals while surrounded by fjords and red-rock cliffs. Travelers can also try dog-sledding and sample traditional Inuit food such as maktaaq (whale skin and blubber).
7. Natural Habitat Adventures
What we love: Four nights by Greenland’s ice sheet
From $12,995. Book now.
The apex of Natural Habitat Adventures’ 100 percent carbon-offset, 10-day “East Greenland Arctic Adventure” is a stay within view of the Greenland ice sheet at the company’s minimal-footprint temporary camp of eight private, heated cabins. There’s plenty to draw you outside, too, with kayak excursions through iceberg-dotted waters and hikes to the ice sheet on the itinerary.
What we love: Experience three ecosystems in Ecuador
From $9,999. Book now.
Backroads’s 11-day Ecuador journey bundles three destinations into one itinerary. It starts with a river cruise on the Amazon to spot toucans and river dolphins and visit Indigenous Kichwa women. It then heads to the Andean highlands to stay at a 4,000-acre dairy farm and hike through pre-Inca ruins. The trip ends in Galápagos National Park for kayaking and snorkeling.
9. Kensington Tours
What we love: 10 days of fjords in Norway
From $8,146. Book now.
In a sustainable twist on the road trip, Kensington Tours offers a custom-tailored 10-day self-drive jaunt around Norway’s southern fjords in an electric vehicle (EV) such as a Jaguar Pace or Tesla S 70. After picking up the EV in Oslo, travelers can navigate stops in Bergen, Flåm, and Solvorn at their leisure, joined by a private guide at some locations.
10. Mountain Travel Sobek
What we love: See six national parks in the Balkans
From $7,995. Book now.
Mountain Travel Sobek’s 22-day “Balkans Via Dinarica Hiking Tour” winds through Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, and Albania. Guides who grew up in the region point the way through remote alpine villages, old-growth forests, and six national parks. Hikers can also raft the Tara River Canyon and visit Bled, Slovenia, and Stari Grad, Croatia.