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Protecting the environment

Protecting the environment

Protecting the environment

Preserving the planet we love to explore

Costa Rica’s lush, leafy cloud forests. Kenya’s vast, wildlife-rich valleys and plains. Iceland’s otherworldly glacial lagoons. These places we visit on tour couldn’t be more diverse, but they all have one thing in common—they’re delicate ecosystems whose survival depends on the health of our planet. To ensure that our world remains beautiful, hospitable, and awe-inspiring for future generations of locals and travelers, we prioritize sustainability when designing our tours and choosing our travel partners. Here’s how.

Putting the planet first

We aren’t alone in our efforts to preserve the planet. In the places we visit on tour, we partner with restaurants, hotels, farms, and other local suppliers who promote eco-friendly practices, which range from waste reduction to the use of alternative energy.

Photo: Taste tomatoes grown with geothermal energy at family-owned Friðheimar Farm on our Iceland: The Golden Circle & Ring Road tour.

View of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia

Supporting conservation

Appreciating the world’s ecosystems goes hand in hand with helping to preserve them. We prioritize the health of the environment by offering no-impact travel experiences in fragile ecosystems, as well as learning opportunities at protected sites.

Photo: Visit the Great Barrier Reef with an ecotourism-accredited marine biologist on our Highlights of Australia: The Great Barrier Reef to Sydney tour.

Going green

We’re committed to minimizing our carbon footprint. In 2021, we rolled out Hello Zero, an ambitious plan to become carbon negative each year going forward and to offset our carbon emissions dating all the way back to EF’s founding in 1965.

Photo: Enjoy a farm-to-table lunch at an eco-friendly ranch—the country’s first carbon-negative company—on our Costa Rica: Rainforests, Volcanoes & Wildlife tour.

Green star

Hello Zero:
The EF Forest Initiative

Find out what we’re doing to erase our carbon footprint—
past, present, and going forward.

A few tours where culture and nature meet

Thailand Adventure: Bangkok, Chiang Mai & the Islands
14 days | 17 days with Cambodia extension

4.8 star rating

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Dive deeper into Responsible Travel

Watch our Responsible Travel webinar, explore our core commitments, and more.

Supporting local communities →
Responsible Travel home →
Head back to About Us

More ways to make a difference

How can I support local communities?
  • Eat at locally owned restaurants, where the food is more likely to be locally sourced. (Check out our travel guides for ideas about where to go.)
  • Support local businesses to ensure money is invested back into the community.
  • Be aware of monetary norms (think: tipping and negotiating) in your destination.
  • Talk to your Tour Director about when it’s appropriate to take photos, and ask people for permission before you take their picture.
  • You’ll learn a lot while on tour, but take some time to read up on your destinations before you go. A few words in the local language can go a long way. (Check out a Tour Directors tips for experiencing Italy like a local.)
  • Wear culturally appropriate clothing and be respectful when visiting religious sites.
  • Consider giving gifts or donations directly to reputable NGOs, charities, or schools, where they’ll make the most impact.
  • Approach cultural differences with empathy and an open mind.
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What can I do to protect wildlife?
  • Avoid buying any exploitative wildlife products.
  • Taking a dip in the ocean? Slather on sunscreen that’s reef-safe.
  • Let it be—there’s no need to remove anything from its natural environment or leave any litter.
  • Take the philosophies of World Animal Protection to heart.
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What can I do to be more environmentally conscious?
  • Consider using a water filter if tap water isn’t drinkable in your destination.
  • Travel with a reusable water bottle.
  • Reduce waste by avoiding single-use plastics as much as possible.
  • Recycle, recycle, recycle. Go digital when you can, and recycle any necessary paper documents. Can’t find any recycling options while out and about on tour? Bring recyclables back to your hotel.
  • Take public transportation, especially trains and rideshares, when traveling on your own. Better yet—walk if you can.
  • Reuse hotel towels and turn the lights off when you leave your room.
  • Pack your own toiletries and grooming products.
  • Bring your own headphones to use with your whisper headset and on the plane.
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