Four Sustainable UK Travel Companies
If you’ve been around these waters for a while you’ll know that not only am I an avid traveller, but I also actively try to promote and get involved in sustainable practices and environmentally friendly businesses, that includes on my very own travels.
According to Luggage Hero I’m not alone - 87% of travellers want to travel more sustainably, while only 39% of travellers say they currently manage to do so. The travel industry as a whole is certainly making waves in the right direction, but it’s still not easy to source sustainable travel alternatives.
Luckily for you, I’ve sailed the virtual seas of Google and social media extensively over the years to do the hard work for you. I’ve also embarked on many sustainable travel trips and volunteer projects myself, and I’m eager to share my inside knowledge with you! You can consider this your message in a bottle, as I introduce you to these four leading sustainable UK travel companies I think you’ll love.
Responsible Travel is a company that does what it says on the tin. Their ethos is to arrange holidays that do good, supporting communities and preserving nature. Rather than just trying to minimise impact, they’re trying to maximise their benefit on both the people who take the holidays and the planet they explore. Responsible Travel organises trips all over the world, from Africa to Antarctica and America, and each trip is ‘screened’ to make it as sustainable as possible. This company is particularly vocal about the concept of carbon offsetting, something we’ve all heard of as a way to make travel more sustainable - think planting trees to combat carbon emissions. Responsible Travel says it simply does not work, and so this isn’t something they try to incorporate as a sustainable UK travel company.
I embarked on a volunteer trip with my mother to Thailand arranged through Responsible Travel to work alongside the mahouts and their elephants. While the experience was bittersweet, as we saw first-hand what both the mahouts and the elephants are asked to do such as the chair rides which made the mahouts a majority of their money, to then look after the elephants. We were lucky in that our mahout genuinely loved his elephant, and cared a lot for her whereas some, were not so kind. While we were there, our tasks was to observe and enrich the elephant such as giving them a shower in the nearby river and herding them to fresh grass while the mahouts carried out other tasks.
We certainly grew attached to our elephants, and it was great to be able to holiday with nature while supporting a local and his beautiful elephant even for a short time.
The Great Projects
The second of my four sustainable UK travel companies is one very close to my heart: The Great Projects. It all started with The Great Orangutan Project in Borneo, and now there are over 35 projects to choose from. They all centre around wildlife volunteering - so what’s not to love?
Their dedicated UK-based team can send you all over the world, working with organisations to promote high standards of animal welfare and conservation. I love this company because they’re aiming to protect endangered animals and fragile ecosystems, and you get the most incredible holiday at the same time! A portion of what you pay towards your trip is donated to support the staff, animals, and communities in the place you volunteer, meaning your contribution just keeps on giving. If you’re over 18 and keen to have the sustainable adventure of a lifetime, The Great Projects are perfect for you!
The orangutan experience in Borneo opened up my eyes to the hard work of the people who worked to do whatever they could to help these gorgeous creatures who are so innocent, but what I loved is that we were able to learn a lot about the causes for their decrease in population. As a group, we took part in the enrichment tasks such as cutting down palms, making organic treats, and cleaning and maintaining their enclosures while watching how the staff worked with the baby orangutans as part of their rehabilitation programme. We learned that palm oil is a huge factor in damaging the habitat of orangutans and had devastating consequences, an ingredient that is sadly in many products and snacks.
This made us more aware of what to look out for and how we can avoid foods that devastate habitats like this. This experience of working so closely yet sustainably with the orangutans (from a distance yet close enough to see their beautiful faces and their wild ways!), truly enriched my knowledge and gave grounded perspective on what needs to change in our lives in order to change theirs.
I also hopped on another conservation project at Daktari Bush School and Wildlife Orphanage in South Africa, home to many animals who needed a safe home, and a school that taught local children about the importance of protecting their environment and the animals they share the land with. You couldn't be more immersed in nature here, with the dorms within the campus, you wake up to the sound of animals! The relationships you build with the animals, the children, and the staff are amazing, and you'll never forget them. I highly recommend coming here, I loved it so much that I have become a monthly donator to support their ongoing goodness that touches the locals, the animals, and visitors like me.
Coco Travel is next up, and these guys are aiming to disrupt the world of corporate travel. They offer business travel with a net zero carbon footprint. Remember earlier when I said that carbon offsetting doesn’t work? Coco Travel is going one step further, and rather than simply being carbon neutral they are proud to be carbon positive, pledging a little extra in the way of offsetting.
You can book your business travel through Coco, and they’ll find the most eco-friendly itinerary for you as well as offsetting your carbon footprint. They also offer an eco-friendly fuel card - every litre of fuel you buy will be offset (and then some!) by them. This sustainable UK travel company is perfect if you travel a lot for work, and want to do so more environmentally consciously.
Fins up for this innovative sustainable travel company!
Finally, Wayfairer Travel is bringing you luxury, tailor-made trips that are kinder to the planet. If you think luxurious and sustainable don’t go together, think again! From safaris and luxury honeymoons to family beach holidays and treks, they value travel that doesn’t negatively impact the environment - leave nothing behind, and take nothing away but memories! If you’re looking for a touch of luxe without the hefty environmental price, Wayfairer Travel could be the perfect sustainable UK travel company for you.
Me and my husband wanted to book a sustainable once in a lifestime honeymoon trip, and Wayfairer did not dissappoint! They delivered an eco-friendly, sustainable sourced trip that embraced the non-tourist spots to give us a remote and nature rich trip in Tanzania. We experienced a beautiful safari in one of the remote national parks, Ruaha, abundant in wildlife, and then headed to Mafia Island to snorkel with whalesharks, scuba dive and enjoy snorkelling in crystal clear, blue seas. They sourced independent boutique hotels that supported the local community, and the water activites were all within the National Marine Park, a protected area of ocean from fishing and certain guidelines to help protect the delicate ecosystem.
So if honeymooning, bucket-list trips and sustainable travel, then Wayfairer are a fantastic agency to get in touch with.
These four companies are certainly making a splash in the world of sustainable travel. I love them because they prove that it’s possible to still enjoy our beautiful world and all it has to offer, whilst still being sympathetic to its fragility. In a coconut shell, I’m a big believer that we should enjoy our planet kindly - if you want to travel and sustainability inspiration, come and follow me on Instagram and check back on the blog regularly.
I hope this blog helped to inspire your next Earth-friendly vacay, your next eco-adventure, awaits!