Looking to travel more sustainably? Check out this list of the top 10 green travel destinations according to Lonely Planet!
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There is a growing trend in travelers to seek out environmentally sustainable options when planning their vacations. Whether it’s because they want to reduce their carbon footprint, support local economies, or simply enjoy more natural surroundings, more and more people are looking for eco-friendly travel options.
Here at Lonely Planet, we’re all about responsible travel, so we’ve put together a list of our top 10 green travel destinations for 2018. These are places that are not only beautiful and unique, but also have a commitment to sustainable tourism practices. So whether you’re looking for a beach vacation or an adventure in the mountains, you can be sure that these destinations will give you an eco-friendly experience you won’t soon forget.
What is Green Travel?
Green travel is any kind of travel that has a positive impact on the environment, whether it’s by reducing carbon emissions, supporting local communities or protecting wildlife.
With the tourism industry responsible for around 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions, it’s more important than ever to make sustainable choices when we travel. And it’s not just about flying less – there are plenty of other ways to make your holiday more sustainable.
Here are some of the best green travel destinations around the world, where you can enjoy beautiful scenery and wildlife while helping to preserve the planet.
The Top 10 Green Travel Destinations
The world is waking up to the benefits of eco-friendly travel, and there are now more places than ever before that are committed to sustainable tourism practices. From entire countries working towards carbon neutrality to individual hotels and tour operators offsetting their emissions, the travel industry is slowly but surely becoming greener.
Lonely Planet has released its first-ever list of the top 10 countries to visit for sustainable tourism, based on criteria including a commitment to reducing carbon emissions, supporting local communities and protecting natural resources.
Topping the list is Norway, which was commended for its “outstanding” efforts in sustainable tourism, including a nationwide program that encourages visitors to offset their carbon emissions. The country is also working towards becoming ‘carbon neutral’ by 2030.
Following close behind in second place is New Zealand, which has been praised for its efforts to protect native animal species and reduce wastefulness. The country has also introduced a new ‘biodiversity passports’ initiative, which will allow visitors to learn about the importance of conserving natural habitats while they travel.
Rounding out the top three is Costa Rica, which was commended for its strong commitment to sustainable tourism practices, including a ban on plastic bags and straws and a focus on supporting local communities. The country was also praised for its work in reforestation and conserving natural habitats.
The full list of Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Green Travel Destinations are as follows:
2. New Zealand
3. Costa Rica
Why these Destinations?
The Top 10 Green Travel Destinations were selected for a variety of reasons. Some are at the vanguard of the green movement, others are simply beautiful places that have managed to remain largely unspoiled. All offer visitors the opportunity to get away from it all and enjoy some of the best that nature has to offer.
So whether you’re looking for a place to hike, bike, paddle or just relax and enjoy the scenery, you’ll find it on this list. And while you’re there, you can take comfort in knowing that your vacation is also helping to preserve some of the planet’s most precious places.
How to be a Green Traveler
Green travel is about much more than just using public transport or staying in eco-friendly accommodation – it’s about changing the way you think about and approach travel. Here are our top tips for how to be a green traveler:
1. Do your research
Before you book your trip, spend some time researching your destination – what are the local issues and what can you do to help? For example, if you’re visiting a country where deforestation is a problem, look for eco-friendly tour operators who are working to offset their impact.
2. Pack light
The lighter your baggage, the less fuel your journey will use. So pack only what you need and leave space in your case for souvenirs. If you can, avoid buying new clothes for your trip – shop second-hand or borrow from friends.
3. Choose eco-friendly accommodation
From treehouses to yurts, there are now all sorts of amazing eco-friendly accommodation options available. Not only will you be doing your bit for the environment, but you’ll also get to experience somewhere truly unique.
4. Travel slowly
Slow travel is not only kinder to your wallet, but it’s also better for the planet. By staying in one place for longer, you’ll use less transport and have a more authentic experience as you really get to know the area and its people.
5. Eat local food
Eating locally grown food is not only good for your health, but it also reduces transportation emissions and supports farmers in the local community. Wherever possible, try to eat seasonally too – food that’s in season tastes better and costs less.
6 .Buy souvenirs responsibly
When choosing souvenirs, look for items that are made locally from sustainable materials such as wood or bamboo. Avoid plastic tat that will just end up in landfill – nobody wants a key ring made from recycled tyres!
Tips for Green Travel
Lonely Planet has announced their top 10 green travel destinations for 2019, and we’ve got the inside scoop on how to make your vacation more sustainable and eco-friendly. From plastic-free beaches in Bali to off-the-grid electric cars in Norway, here are some tips on how to make your next trip a little greener.
The first tip is for anyone planning a beach vacation – try to find a plastic-free beach! Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport has implemented a plastic bag ban, and there are many other beaches around the world that are following suit. This is great news for the environment, as plastic pollution is a huge problem for ocean ecosystems. When you’re packing for your trip, be sure to bring along reusable bags and water bottles to help reduce your plastic footprint.
Off-the-Grid Electric Cars
Norway is leading the charge when it comes to sustainable travel, and one of the coolest things they’re doing is renting out electric cars that you can use to explore the country. These cars are completely emissions-free, so they’re great for the environment. And since they’re electric, you don’t have to worry about finding a gas station – just plug them into any outlet when you’re finished exploring for the day.
There are many hotels around the world that are making an effort to be more sustainable. Some of these hotels use solar power, recycled materials, or green building practices. Others focus on offsetting their carbon footprint by investing in renewable energy projects or planting trees. When you’re booking your hotel room, be sure to look for ones that are taking steps to be more eco-friendly.
The Benefits of Green Travel
Green travel is not only eco-friendly, but it can also offer many benefits for both the traveler and the destination. Green travel can help to reduce carbon footprints, support local economies, and promote sustainable tourism practices. Here are 10 of the best green travel destinations around the world:
1. Norway – With its stunning fjords and glaciers, Norway is a naturally beautiful country that is also committed to sustainability. This European nation was one of the first to sign the Paris Agreement and has set ambitious goals to become carbon neutral by 2030.
2. Costa Rica – Costa Rica is a pioneer in eco-tourism and has been working hard to preserve its natural environment for years. Visitors can experience its rainforests, volcanoes, and beaches while contributing to the local economy and supporting sustainable tourism practices.
3.Australia – From the Great Barrier Reef to Uluru (Ayers Rock), Australia is full of natural wonders to explore. The country has become a leader in sustainable tourism, with initiatives such as the Great Barrier Reef Foundation working to protect this vital ecosystem.
4. Iceland – Iceland’s unique landscapes make it a top destination for nature lovers. The country is powered entirely by renewable energy sources, making it one of the most sustainable countries in the world.
5. Nepal – Nepal is home to eight of the world’s ten tallest mountains, including Mount Everest. Adventure seekers can enjoy hiking and mountaineering while knowing that their travel is supporting local communities and businesses in this impoverished country.
6 . Tanzania – Tanzania is renowned for its wildlifesafaris, but it is also working hard to promote sustainable tourism practices. Its community-based tourism initiatives allow visitors to have an authentic experience while contributing directly to local development projects.
7 . China – From Beijing to Shanghai, China is full of amazing destinationsto explore. The country has made great strides in recent years in terms of sustainability, with projects such as the world’s largest solar farm helping to reduce its reliance on coal power.
8 . Bhutan – Bhutan is a small country with a big commitmentto sustainability. It was one of the first nations to impose a tax on carbon emissions and has set a goal of becoming 100% carbon neutral by 2050. Visitors can enjoy its beautiful landscapes while supporting its green initiatives.
9 . Ecuador – Ecuador is another South American country that has made sustainability a priority. It was one of the first nations to create a Ministry of Environment and has implemented various programs to protect its natural resources. Travelers can explore its rainforests, volcanoes, and beaches while knowing that their visit is contributing to Ecuador’s green efforts.. Setting an example for other developing nations, Cuba has worked hard in recent years create more sustainable tourism practices.. From renewable energy sources like solar power organic farming initiatives , Cuba is leadingthe way in terms of sustainability.. However , poverty remains significant issue onthe island , so visitors should be awareof how their spending could impact locals.. Korea may not bethe first countrythat comes mind when you thinkof “green travel “ but it actuallyhas some impressive sustainability credentials .. Seoul ,the capital city ,has developed an extensive public transportation system which includesa commuter rail network , subways , buses ,and even a bike sharing program .. In addition , Korea has been workingto reduce air pollution by planting treesand investing in clean energy sourceslike solar power ..
The Drawbacks of Green Travel
Despite the many benefits of eco-tourism, there are a few potential drawbacks to consider before planning your next green vacation.
The first is the issue of cost. While it’s true that some sustainable travel options can be more expensive upfront, the long-term savings and benefits often make up for the initial investment. However, if you’re on a tight budget, green travel might not be the best option for you.
Another potential drawback is the lack of infrastructure in many eco-friendly destinations. This can lead to a less comfortable vacation, as you might have to forego creature comforts like air conditioning and hot showers. However, this is often offset by the breathtaking natural beauty of these places.
Finally, it’s important to do your research before booking a green vacation. Make sure that the company you’re working with is reputable and that their sustainability claims are backed up by actionable steps. Otherwise, you might not be getting the eco-friendly experience you were hoping for.
Here are our top 10 picks for the best green travel destinations:
1. Argentina – With its incredible array of landscapes, from the glaciers of Patagonia to the rainforests of Iguazú, Argentina is a nature-lover’s paradise.
2. Australia – This vast country is home to an astounding array of natural wonders, including the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru and the Gondwana Rainforests.
3. Chile – Another South American gem, Chile boasts an array of eco-friendly attractions, from its world-famous national parks to its sustainable vineyards.
4. Costa Rica – A leader in eco-tourism, Costa Rica has something for everyone, from zip-lining through the rainforest to soaking up the sun on one of its many pristine beaches.
5. Ecuador – From the Amazon jungle to the Galápagos Islands, Ecuador is a nature lover’s dream come true.
6. Iceland – With its majestic glaciers, geothermal pools and active volcanoes, Iceland is one of the most unique and beautiful countries in the world.
7. New Zealand – A land of unparalleled natural beauty, New Zealand is perfect for those looking to get off the beaten path and explore some truly wild places.
8. Norway – With its dramatic fjords and stunning landscapes, Norway is a nature lover’s playground. And with its new focus on electric cars, it’s also becoming one of the most sustainable countries in the world.
9. Sweden – Another Nordic country with a commitment to sustainability, Sweden is home to some of Europe’s most breathtaking scenery, from snow-capped mountains to glassy lakes.
10. Tanzania – From safaris in Serengeti National Park to climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania offers visitors an incredible array of outdoor activities set against a backdrop of stunning African landscapes.
1. Costa Rica
3. Galapagos Islands
7. The Amazon rainforest
8. The Okavango Delta
9. Svalbard, Norway
10 .The Great Barrier Reef