The start of the year (hello 2020) always has us browsing for possible trips and places to go. In the ocean of information we call The Internet it’s quite tough to find the right and responsible travel websites. Especially when the two biggest travel booking platforms worldwide, booking.com and airbnb.com, are still not facilitating sustainable accommodations. Sure, you can find ‘sustainable stays’ on these platforms. However, these accommodations haven’t always been checked on real key eco-qualities that actually make a difference.
If, by any chance, someone from these two platforms is reading this; please work on your sustainability values. As a leading booking platform, your reach is incredibly big and you have a dominant role in the travel industry. Invest money in sustainability, set clear sustainable criteria and let’s focus on more eco-stays and the development of sustainable accommodations.
But before my rant goes on and on, there are definitely great responsible travel websites out there that really stimulate sustainable tourism and eco-friendly ways of travelling. They will ensure that your next activity or trip is local, meaningful, socially conscious and fun. But where to start? Don’t worry, we got you covered. In this article, we will share the 7 best responsible travel websites to book your next trip with.
Founded in 2014 by Dutch entrepreneur Sanne Meijboom, I Like Local is an online platform that connects locals and tourists. Through the platform, local people across Asia and Africa, can offer personal and shared activities, receive 100% of the money and directly benefit from tourism in their country. I Like Local offers a wide variety of activities such as a homestay, farm stay, food experience (like cooking), art & culture (which also includes crafts) and much more.
As explained by Sanne: ‘’The main reason why I started this whole concept was that I was a really avid traveller and I was also very interested in different cultures. I would always try to find out more about how people are living and what their lives look like.
During my own travels, I realized that my favourite moments were the ones with local people. Most of the time these were spontaneous moments, but they were the most memorable. At the same time, I realized that locals are usually not the ones that are benefiting from tourism that is coming into the country’’.
When we travel, we mostly look for local tips, local spots and local places the go. We often say that the best and most real encounters are the ones with local people. How about you let local experts design your trip?
Better Places is a socially conscious, 100% tailor-made booking platform that connects travellers directly with one of the local travel experts all around the world. Together, the traveller and local travel expert design the individual travel experience.
It’s all about meaningful, and sustainable trips that have a positive impact. These local travel experts can perfectly advise you on the unique and special places to go.
Booking platform and eco-travel company, Book different offers over 2 million sustainable accommodations all over the world, from boutique hotels, urban jungle hotels, eco-tree houses and much more. With the website, you can find out the most responsible and best choice on where to stay.
Furthermore, you can also read about other people’s reviews, and how much kg co2 your night will cost. Bookdifferent.com ranks each accommodation using 4 key factors: sustainable management, fair & local practices, respecting the local culture and how environmentally friendly they work.
For example a night at the relatively new hotel Jakarta in Amsterdam gets graded a 9 by 4439 other travellers and will cost 21.9 kg co2.
Green Key is an award-winning, online database managed by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) that provides an eco-label to accommodations, tours, campsites & holiday parks, conference centres and other travel companies.
They have already awarded well over 2600 places in nearly 60 countries with the eco-label. The goal of Green Key is to increase the use of sustainable methods and environmentally friendly methods in tourism but also the hospitality industry. Next, they want to raise awareness and create responsible behaviour.
Furthermore, they want to also encourage accommodations to reduce the use of resources by providing technological improvements.
A few weeks ago we shared our blog What you can do to ensure your travel money stays local. In this blog, I talk how only 5% of every dollar spend by a tourist stays with the local people and their communities. This number is shockingly low, but sadly nothing new.
However, there are great initiatives such as Duara Travels that try to bring a change in this. They empower local people and small community businesses through the promotion of village home-stays in remote parts of Africa and Asia.
Responsible Travel is a leading organization in ecotourism and eco-friendly travel since 2001. They offer over 5,000 adventures to destinations across the world. Kayaking, cycling, hiking, ethical wildlife encounters and much more, they have it all.
They make sure that your travel money goes directly to the local communities and small business owners. Responsible travel always works with a great giving back program such as Trip for a Trip, that focuses on local NGO’s and change-makers helping disadvantaged kids going on an inspiring trip.
‘‘Do good as you travel’’ is the mantra of Backstreet Academy. Backstreet Academy is a social enterprise all about meaningful hand-crafted experiences in the travel space of Asia. They help these local hosts with direct access to the tourism market, ensuring that the benefits and money will also end up with them.
On the Backstreet Academy website, they connect travellers to local hosts with a particular set of skills, that is related to their indigenous heritage. We are proud new ambassadors of Backstreet Academy platform and are looking forward to taking the unique and small tours once we are in Asia.
During this Round Tour we will be sight-seeing areas in the following destinations: Polonnaruwa, Minneriya National Park, Sigiriya, Kandy, Ella, Yala, Galle, Mirissa. The guests will be provided with good quality, air conditioned, comfortable vehicles with a driver-guide to help with your tour and free wi-fi.