What is Sustainable Family Travel?

Put simply, sustainable travel means reducing your impact on the planet.

Sustainable travel is making choices to reduce your impact as an individual and as a family on the world around you.

These simple choices/changes help reduce the long term damage to our environment and everything in it.

Is that not the same as green travel, responsible travel or eco-friendly travel?

Not really!

Sustainable travel is not…

Green Travel – this focuses mainly on reducing your carbon footprint. For example: reducing the number of flights you take, walking instead of taking a taxi etc

Responsible Travel – this focuses mainly on respecting local culture, people and destinations. For example: learning and experiencing the local culture and traditions of the places you visit.

Eco-Friendly Travel – this is similar to Green Travel and focuses mainly on making conscious decisions to choose products/services that are better for the environment.


Sustainable travel encompasses ALL of these things and a whole lot more.


There are 3 main aspects of Sustainable Travel…


  • Reducing your impact on the surrounding environment and nature. For example: leaving somewhere in better condition than you found it.
  • Respecting nature. For example: not disturbing wildlife.
  • Minimising your carbon footprint. For example: reducing air travel, water usage, packaging and plastic waste.
  • Using responsible tour operators. For example: those who are concerned about the well-being of the surrounding environment.


  • Your impact on local people and communities. For example: respecting the customs/beliefs of the local people.
  • Supporting local businesses. For example: using tourism products and local traders.
  • Raising awareness of local issues – your own and others.


  • Contributing positively to the local economy. For example: using your money to support local businesses and the local tourist industry.
  • Ensuring local businesses are treated fairly and sustainably. For example: Not supporting businesses that do not treat their employees fairly.

Maybe you're thinking 'But can my family really make a difference?'


Sustainable travel - it's only one straw meme

You may have seen this meme before. Take a moment to think about it because it says so much in very few words.

All it takes is for everyone to make just one small decision – to stop using a plastic straw – to make a huge difference.

If your family makes just a few small changes to your purchasing and planning habits you’ll reduce your impact on our planet straight away!




Why is it so important?

Our world is incredible.

And we all want it to stay that way, right?

Every single person living on this planet has a responsibility to protect and nurture the world, to protect the human race if not for anything else.

Those of us that choose to travel have an even bigger responsibility because our actions not only affect the place that we live but also the places we visit where other people live. These places/people do not always have the infrastructure required to clean up the effects of tourists who don’t respect their culture or surroundings.

You are completely dependent on this beautiful world we live in.

It provides EVERYTHING you need to survive – food, water and air.

So we must all play our part in protecting it – for ourselves, for our children, for our children’s children and many generations to come.

So does it mean we shouldn't go anywhere?

No – sustainable travel does not mean you should stay at home. (Unless there is a world wide pandemic of course!)

In fact all over the world many countries rely heavily on tourism to keep their economy running.

You just have to be a little more mindful of how you travel.

We need to value everything around us and learn not to put our selfish desires first. It is important to not fall into the ‘Just because I can, I will’ attitude.

For example: don’t take an internal flight if you can easily get the train to the same destination. Not only will you reduce your carbon footprint but you’ll most likely get to see some stunning scenery too!

And don’t think ‘I have the money, I’ll buy whatever I like’ take the time to think about your choice. For example: don’t buy from an international brand when you can buy something authentic, unique or hand crafted from a local seller.

Sustainable family travel means slumming it?

Far from it!

You do not need to limit what you do on vacation to incorporate sustainable practices. You just need to think a little more carefully about what you choose to do.

There are many luxury hotels, tours and trips that pride themselves on following sustainable practices.

Simply do a little research, or take advice and recommendations from people who have been to your chosen destination, and you’ll find the perfect bucket list accommodation and experiences.

You’ll still get that experience of a life time and as a bonus you’ll get a warm fuzzy feeling inside because you’ll be traveling sustainably whilst you do it!


If you feel that more people should know what sustainable family travel is, please share this post on social media or forward to a friend!

Find out more:

Check out the Nonprofit organisation Sustainable Travel International for more information and to find out how they are protecting and conserving our planet’s most vulnerable destinations.


18 Easy Ways To Travel More Sustainably

See all sustainable travel posts – Sustainable Travel



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