How to be a conscious traveller How to be a conscious traveller

Your guide to becoming aConscious Traveller


International Traveller is moving toward a more conscious and responsible way of looking at travel. We have recalibrated our whole focus in the knowledge that the now-everyday act of getting on a plane and going somewhere has a wide-ranging impact on the world we live in.

In this section you will find information that will allow you to make conscious decisions when you travel, from sustainability ratings on the hotels we review to practical information on travelling better and respecting the destinations you choose to visit.

But what does it mean to be a conscious traveller? In short, it means you make conscious decisions that enhance rather than detract from your life and the lives of the people (and the animals) you meet along the way, and allow you to tread a lot lighter on the places you visit.

With that in mind we have created three icons to help you swiftly locate this information on our website. They indicate content that helps you choose sustainable, community minded and wildlife supporter experiences and destinations as you travel. You will see them outlined in more depth below.

Travel is a wonderful thing, an act that connects us all to each other and results in myriad positive social and economic outcomes. We just need to remember that it is also a privilege, and we must approach it accordingly.

Conscious Traveller Tips

Becoming a conscious traveller is simple: make sustainable choices, support the community you visit, protect the wildlife and the environment.

It is all about doing your research and making the most respectful and responsible decision possible and we’ve got all the tips, hacks and information you need to help you make changes to the way you travel.

Make sustainable choices

Consider taking one long holiday rather than several short ones and travel by trains, rather than planes, where possible. Tally your carbon footprint and buy offsets to match.

Help rehabilitate turtles in the marine environment you are visiting, offset your flights, buy seasonal produce, avoid single-use plastics and #take3forthesea

Visit an operator’s website to assess its credentials by reading its policy on sustainable tourism practises.

Plan wisely when it comes to your consumption when visiting a fragile environment: avoid the use of single-use plastics, skip the straw, eat less meat, avoid using coffee pods and use reef-friendly sunscreen.

Be community minded

Responsible travel extends to investing in the economy of the destination you’re visiting to support local entrepreneurs and spend money in the communities where it is needed.

Join community groups that actively address environmental issues in the destination: pick up litter on a beach in Bali or connect with wilderness in northern Australia while eliminating noxious weeds.

You can also make a difference by supporting local sustainable tourism operators that invest money where it is most needed and empower members of the community.

Be a wildlife supporter

Do your research: make sure the wildlife experience you sign up for is ethical and doesn’t adversely impact on native animals or habitat. Never ever feed, attract or chase wildlife.

Travel within wildlife conservation parks that help maintain critical habitat thanks to much-needed income from visitors. Voluntourism activities include fostering an orphaned elephant or interning at an anti-poaching organisation in South Africa.

There are animal sanctuaries around the world that let you help make a difference: sign up to protect rescued wildlife or collect data for marine conservation.

Conscious Traveller Experiences  

Here you’ll find advice on destinations, accommodation and experiences to help you make sustainable, responsible and respectful choices when you travel.


A key aspect of being a conscious traveller is choosing when and where to travel in order to lessen your impact. Travelling in the low season or shoulder season takes the pressure off local resources.

Ponder pedal power. Why not visit some of the world’s most bike-friendly cities: Malmo, Sweden; Strasbourg, France; Amsterdam, Netherlands; and Copenhagen, Denmark.

Expand your eco efforts when on the road by: avoiding over-touristy areas and opting for destinations that are pedestrian-friendly or have great public transport.


The Global Sustainable Tourism Council manages the global standards for sustainable travel and tourism. Check the GST Council Site to assess the sustainability of a hotel before you book.

Socially conscious travellers make informed choices. Look for initiatives relating to energy conservation, water conservation, recycling and waste reduction, bathroom amenities, cleaning products and more.

Choose a carbon-neutral hotel such as Olakira Camp in the Serengeti or Kong Arthur in Copenhagen, part of the Arthur Hotels, which was the first hotel chain in the world to achieve carbon-neutral status.

Best things to see and do

Choose wisely when it comes to spending your money so the community and wildlife receive some benefit from your visit. When you’re choosing things to see and do, think about giving back by volunteering on a nature preservation in the Faroe Islands ­– which is closed for maintenance; open for voluntourism one weekend a year– or on a community tourism project in Myanmar.

Travelling sustainably is also choosing eco-conscious attractions: from the Eden Project in the UK which features the largest rainforest in captivity and towers that teach children about pollination to the carbon-neutral Aerial Cableway that transports you to the top of Table Mountain in South Africa.

But it’s not just accommodation, experiences and attractions conscious travellers have to consider. Key consideration for responsible travel is where to eat and drink and shop. Is the food sourced locally and ethically? Are the souvenirs or fabrics produced locally by local craftspeople. Does the money go direct to them? Is the restaurant you’re eating at locally owned?

Conscious Traveller Commitment


If you see the green leaf icon on our content it means you will find advice, destinations, accommodation, experiences or tips that will help you make a sustainable travel choice.

Community minded

If you see the hand and heart icon on any of our content it means you will find initiatives, advice, tips and information to help you enrich the life, environment and economy of the local community you are visiting.

Wildlife supporter

If you see the koala icon on any of our content it means that we have included experiences, destinations, initiatives or advice on how to protect wildlife, marine life and habitat as you travel.