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How to Travel Sustainably

beautiful Ireland scenery

In honor of Earth Day, we are looking at ways that we can all travel a little more sustainably to make sure the planet is beautiful for future generations to explore.

As you prepare to travel this year, now is a great time to learn about ways to travel sustainably, so that you can plan for your next excursion with the environment in mind. Informed decisions and actions are the best way each of us can make a difference. No single person can change the world by themselves, but if everyone as individuals make small changes, then a lot can be achieved as a collective to protect our planet.

Here are some of our top recommendations for how to travel sustainably.

Trek Travel Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Park Bike Tour

Consider transportation to your destination

Transport is a large contributor to global emissions, so well-planned travel, especially if going abroad, can drastically reduce the impact on the environment.

If you are planning a domestic trip, ask yourself if you can use public transportation most or part of the way there. If you are traveling with friends or family, can you carpool in one vehicle? Not only is this better for the planet, it will also save costs on gas and parking!

International travel will almost always involve airplanes, so here are a few tips that can make a difference when flying.

  • ● Fly with as few stops as possible, this means fewer emissions emitted through take-off and landing when more fuel is used. It also means you’ll get to your destination quicker, which is a win-win!
  • ● A mix of flights and public transport like trains will also reduce emissions.
  • ● Travel with less luggage because this reduces the overall plane weight and fuel burnt. An added bonus for you, packing light can also save you money on baggage fees!
  • ● Some airlines offer a carbon offset for a small extra fee (usually the cost of a coffee), where the airline commits to helping reduce emissions in some form, such as planting trees. If your airline doesn’t offer the option, you can carbon offset your flight on your own! There are multiple websites that will help you calculate your impact and offer ways to offset through donations to sustainable initiatives.

Explore Bryce & Zion National Park on a Trek Travel bike tour

Book your vacation with companies that have sustainable practices in place

Sustainable practices can be incorporated in many different ways. The aim is to maintain the qualities of the area you are visiting, both culturally and environmentally. Sustainable tour operators like Trek Travel will look to use eco-friendly hotels, locally run restaurants, and experiences that make the tour interesting and beneficial for both the traveler and the locals.

If you aren’t booking with a tour group, make sure to conduct your own research to see if the hotels you are considering for your trip have practices in place to help protect the planet. The EPA has resources to help find green hotels. And when you choose restaurants, look for places that source locally because this reduce the emissions needed to transport food.

Whether booking with a tour operator or on your own, consider traveling outside of peak vacation time as this reduces foot traffic that can damage a local environment.

Trek Travel cycling vacation in Yellowstone National Park

Sustainable actions while on holiday.

When it comes to travel, sustainability is not just related to protecting the environment but also protecting local culture and traditions. Traveling around your destination by public transport, on foot, or even better, by bicycle is a great way to see the area, connect with locals, and minimize your environmental impact. Here are other actions you can take on your trip to make a difference:

  • ● When possible, opt-out of having housekeeping clean your room daily.
  • ● Pay attention to your electricity use. Always turn off lights and unplug your charging items before leaving the room or as soon as the items are done charging.
  • ● Pack a small, lightweight reusable bag with you to skip plastic bags if you decide to shop at local markets or boutiques. This is easy to pack, and it’ll come in handy more than you’d think!
  • ● Bring your own water bottle and coffee cup to avoid needing the plastic water bottles in the hotel fridge or a disposable coffee cup at breakfast.
  • ● Purchasing locally-made souvenirs make great authentic gifts for friends and family back home, while also supporting the community you are visiting for generations to come!

These are just a few tips on how to travel sustainably. They may be small changes but added up can have a big impact on protecting the environment and unique culture around the world, enabling generations to continue exploring!

Trek Travel has launched a series of green initiatives in our office and on our trips.

Learn more

Our Top 10 Most Sustainable Hotels

The pool at Hotel La Gavina

The environment does so much for us; it inspires, surprises, delights, and helps us celebrate our own humanity. At Trek Travel, we know how much the planet matters, and it’s why we choose to go green. Part of our commitment to sustainability means working with partners who share our values. Over the past year, we have developed a survey to assess the eco-friendly efforts of our hotel partners.

Here are the top-ranked hotels from our sustainability survey:

Hotel La Perla

La Perla

Stay Here On: Classic Climbs, The Dolomites

This family-owned hotel is located in the heart of the village of Corvara. Since 2012, sustainability has been a major initiative for the property. Today, they are members of Economy for the Common Good and have a dedicated team working to continuously improve their eco-friendly efforts.

The Oxford Hotel

The Oxford Hotel

Stay Here On: Crater Lake & Oregon Cascades

Bend’s “eco-chic” boutique hotel is the pinnacle of luxury and sustainability. With a carbon offsetting program, recycling and composting options, locally sourced ingredients in their restaurant, and use of 100% renewable energy, The Oxford genuinely seeks to reduce its impact on the local environment.

Basecamp Hotel

Basecamp Hotel

Stay Here On: Boulder Self-Guided

In the heart of downtown Boulder, Basecamp is a contemporary boutique hotel focused on going green. From the products they use to the amenities they offer and even the partners they work with (like their bank), Basecamp believes in protecting and preserving our natural resources.

Villa Beccaris

Villa Beccaris

Stay Here On: Piedmont Self-Guided

This 18-century villa is nestled near medieval village of Monforte d’Alba. To reduce energy consumption on the property, they are changing out their lightbulbs to LEDs and offer guests the option of reusing towels and sheets for multiple days during their trip.

Palazzo Ducale Venturi

Palazzo Ducale Venturi

Stay Here On: Puglia

Built in 1500 and beautifully renovated to maintain its historic charm, this 5-star hotel is working towards removing single-use items from their property and already utilizes recycling, composting, and renewable energy.

Ojai Valley Inn

Ojai Valley Inn

Stay Here On: Ojai to Santa Barbara

Nestled on 220 acres of beautiful property, this impeccable resort is a positive force in protecting our planet. In 2017, they eliminated single-use plastic items from their spa and their golf course has a sophisticated watering system to maximize efficiency and reduce water waste.

Chateau de Mazan

Chateau de Mazan

Stay Here On: Provence Explorer

Nestled in the tiny town of Mazan, only a short distance from the base of Mont Ventoux, stands Château de Mazan. Amongst other eco-friendly initiatives, the property proudly provides toiletries and cosmetics from the eco-responsible brand “La Compagnie de Provence.”

Harbor 360 Hotel

Harbor 360 Hotel

Stay Here On: Alaska Multisport

The Harbor 360, located in the heart of Seward, Alaska, is a certified “Green Business” through the Adventure Green Alaska Program. To protect their stunning environment, they use biodegradable plates, cutlery, and cups during their breakfast service. They also provide support to local groups working to clean and protect Alaska’s marine ecosystem.

Hostal de la Gavina

Hostal de la Gavina

Stay Here On: Costa Brava

This beautiful hotel, overlooking the Sant Pol beach on the Mediterranean Sea, is contributing to going green by replacing small, single-use toiletries with larger, refillable containers and sourcing local ingredients whenever possible for their restaurant.

Park Hotel ai Cappuccini

Park Hotel ai Cappuccini

Stay Here On: Ride Across Italy

Situated in the heart of the Umbrian countryside, Park Hotel ai Cappuccini Park Hotel Ai Capuccini is helping to protect the planet with use of solar panels, composting, and eco-friendly cleaning products. In the past, the owners of the hotel have even donated a tree to each of their employees to plant.


Want to learn more about what Trek Travel is doing to go green?

See our sustainability initiatives

Read On

Trek Travel’s Commitment to Sustainability

Vote for Trek Travel as a Travel+Leisure World's Best tour operator

During this difficult time in the world, we are continuing our efforts to make it a better place for all by reducing our carbon footprint one step at a time. Our goal is to become an environmentally friendly company and influence others to join us in protecting our beautiful destinations around the world.

We believe it is our responsibility to protect and preserve the beautiful planet that we love to share with our guests. Learn more about some of the green initiatives we have in place and a few new ones we are laying the groundwork for, too! This is just the start for Trek Travel, and we look forward to continuing to expand our sustainability efforts.

Going green at the office:

    • Green Miles: Our office staff is encouraged to commute to work by bike in order to reduce the amount of emissions we put into the atmosphere. Every team member who participates logs their daily mileage and earns a reward based on how many miles they commuted by bike in a year. In 2019, our team completed over 1,500 green miles!
      — Does your company have a similar program you could participate in? If not, could you start one? Think about the impact you and your coworkers could have if you each swapped even one weekly commute to your bike!
    • Volunteer Time Off: Our employees are encouraged to support the local community through volunteering. Each employee receives paid time off to complete volunteer activities like park cleanups.
    • Wind power: In order to reduce our carbon footprint, our office purchases wind power for our electricity as part of Madison Gas and Electric’s Green Power Tomorrow program.
    • Eco-friendly kitchen updates: In order to reduce plastic waste in the office, we stocked our office kitchen will reusable utensils, plates, and cups instead of single-use options. We also replaced our water cooler with an sink filter system. We already have recycling in place but plan to implement a composting station in the near future as well to help put food waste to better use.
    • Guide Clothing: During past Guide Training events, we held guide clothing swaps, where guides upcycle gently-used cycling clothing by gifting it to newer guides who want additional gear. Starting in 2021, we ordered guide clothing from more sustainable brands and the 2021 guide hat is even made from recycled materials. When it comes to supplying guide clothing, we set up an internal ordering system so guides can request only what they need instead of getting a pre-made pack with items they may not want. As much as possible, we send guide clothing out with our vans as they depart from our warehouses to reduce shipping and our carbon footprint.
    • Catalogs: We print our catalogs on recycled paper to help minimize environmental impact, and in 2021, we took our catalog digital to save thousands of sheets of paper.
    • Measuring our carbon footprint: We will be working with an outside organization in the coming months to officially measure our carbon footprint and determine the areas where we can reduce our impact.

Rocky mountain bike tours with Trek Travel

Going green on our trips:

  • Reduce Plastic Waste: We have banned single-use plastic water bottles and utensils on our trips and provide every guest reusable water bottles to use during and after our trips. We are in the midst of modifying our standard from two water bottles per guest to one and encouraging guests to bring their own bottles for us to fill. This could save up to 750 pounds of plastic annually.
  • Reduce, Reuse, Upcycle We have started bike tube upcycling by finding local artisans that take used bike tires and tubes to create cool new products to sell.
  • RWGPS To reduce the number of printed materials that we produce for every on of our trips, we have shifted to using Ride with GPS (RWGPS) to offer a simplified digital version of necessary trip information.
  • Shopping Local As much as possible, our guides try to shop locally for supplies, food, and other items that are used on trips. This not only helps to support to local economies where we travel, but also provides a more authentic experience for our guests, who get to try regional food and more.
  • Best of all… biking! One of the sustainable practices most near and dear to our hearts is at the core of business: biking. Discovering destinations by bike is a fantastic way to reduce the impact you have on the local environment.

Ride in the Alps on a Trek Travel bike tour

Working with Green Partners:

For many years, we have been supporting People For Bikes, an organization dedicated to making biking more accessible to all. We believe that commuting by bike should be a safe, enjoyable option for more people and have been proud of the work done by People for Bikes in making this a reality.

People for Bikes
Show your Support

More recently, our trip design team and sustainability team developed and sent out a 16-question sustainability survey to all of our hotels, collecting information about the sustainability practices they have in place. This survey will help us determine if current and future partners are taking action to be good stewards to guests and the planet.
Get to know a couple of our hotels that are finding ways to make a positive impact for the planet:

Under Canvas Glacier


From Mount Rushmore to Glacier, Under Canvas has eliminated single-use plastic wherever possible and utilizes pull-chain showers and low-flow toilets to significantly reduce water usage compared to most hotels.

See the trips >

Earthbox Inn


Located in Washington’s charming San Juan Islands, this inn uses body care products from the local, organic Pelindaba Lavender Farm, which are provided in bulk dispensers to cut down on plastic waste.

Explore the San Juan Islands >


If a date is marked as Private, it is reserved for a private group.

Looking to travel with a small group or looking for a custom date?
Call our trip consultants at 866-464-8735

What is the Difference?

Ultimate Luxury:

Savor some of the most spectacular, 5-star properties in the world. Exuding luxury and elegance, these one-of-a-kind accommodations offer the chance to rejuvenate at award-winning spas, dine at Michelin-starred restaurants, and more.


Enjoy luxurious accommodations handpicked for a refined experience. From signature spa treatments to delicious local cuisine, you’ll be more than provided for; you’ll be pampered.


These handpicked hotels provide relaxation and fun in a casual and comfortable environment. Delicious cuisine and great service mix perfectly for a memorable stay.


On select cycling vacations, you’ll stay at a mix of Explorer and Luxury hotels. Rest assured, no matter which hotel level you’re at, our trip designers carefully select every accommodation.

Activity Level

Level 1:

Road: 1-3 hours of riding. Up to 25 mi (40 km). Up to 1,000 ft (300 m).

Gravel: 1-3 hours of riding. Up to 20 mi (35 km). Up to 1,000 ft (300 m).

Hiking: 1-3 hours of hiking. Up to 5 mi (8 km). Up to 1,000 ft (300 m).

Level 2:

Road: 2-4 hours of riding. 20-35 mi (35-60 km). Up to 2,500 ft (750 m).

Gravel: 2-4 hours of riding. 15-30 mi (25-45 km). Up to 2,000 ft (300 m).

Hiking: 2-4 hours of hiking. 4-8 mi (6-12 km). Up to 1,500 ft (450 m).

Level 3:

Road: 3-5 hours of riding. 25-55 mi (40-85 km). Up to 4,500 ft (1,500 m).

Gravel: 3-5 hours of riding. 20-40 mi (35-60 km). Up to 3,000 ft (900 m).

Hiking: 3-5 hours of hiking. 6-10 mi (9-16 km). Up to 2,000 ft (600 m).

Level 4:

Road: 4+ hours of riding. 40-70 mi (60-110 km). Up to 8,000 ft (2,400 m).

Gravel: 4+ hours of riding. 30-50 mi (45-80 km). Up to 4,000 ft (1,200 m).

Hiking: 4+ hours of hiking. 7-15 mi (11-24 km). Up to 4,000 ft (1,200 m).

What are your trip styles?

Classic - Reserve:

Savor the finer things as you relax in luxurious 5-star accommodations and wine, dine, and ride in some of the most unforgettable destinations around the world.

Classic - Signature:

Explore beautiful destinations by bike, enjoy extra inclusions, savor delicious local cuisine, and enjoy the perfect mix of accommodations.

Classic - Discover:

Enjoy a casual cycling vacation with fantastic routes and comfortable accommodations.

Ride Camp:

Train like the pros in some of their favorite riding destinations.

Pro Race:

See the pros in action at the biggest cycling events of the year.

Cross Country:

Tackle an epic adventure that takes you point-to-point across mountains, countryside, and more.


Enjoy a bike tour on your schedule with just your chosen travel companions.

Single Occupancy

Sometimes it’s more convenient and comfortable to have your own room while on vacation. We understand and that’s why we offer a Single Occupancy option. The additional price guarantees a private room all to yourself