How and where we travel has changed radically. So, as we begin planning our vacations for the year ahead, it makes sense to look for trips that safeguard our own health and safety, and the well-being of our planet. Here, we round up four ways—from a new sustainable travel guide to the top eco-conscious destinations to visit—to help you make great green travel choices and elevate your journey along the way.
Known as the land of a thousand hills, Rwanda offers breathtaking scenery alongside some of the world’s top conservation efforts and sustainability practices. Home to some of the largest groups of mountain gorillas in Africa, the country was one of the first in the region to adopt responsible wildlife tourism practices. Plus, its green attitude—plastic bags are banned outright, and a day is set aside each month for everyone in the country (including the president) to head outside and help look after the environment—make it a top choice for eco-conscious travel.
Bisate Lodge, situated near Volcanoes National Park in the northwest of the country, promises both a luxurious and sustainable stay. Here, you’ll not only see gorillas in their natural habitat but, as Bisate believes that each of their guests “becomes a conservationist,” you’ll also be provided with a tree to plant on the property. It’s a wonderful way to make a positive impact during your trip, and contributes towards Rwanda’s goal of reforesting 30 percent of its land to make way for more wildlife corridors and habitats.
If you care about the environment, and are equally passionate about exploring it, The Green Edit: Travelmay be just the book for you. Written by eco-travel expert Juliet Kinsman, this guide is packed with useful advice for the “eco-friendly traveler,” including which airlines are “greener,” which cities have the best eco-credentials, and what to pack for your trip (plus, what to leave behind).
As Kinsman points out, green travel isn’t about eschewing luxury. Instead, she says, it’s all about making sustainable choices in order to “experience the world in a more enriching and authentic way.”
Farm-to-Table Inspired Fine Dining
With just 17 rooms, Hotel Château du Grand-Lucé is the perfect base from which to explore France’s Loire valley, as well as savor its local produce and unrivaled wines. Here, “green” is embraced in the classic French style, with 80 acres (32 ha) of grounds—inspired by the gardens at Versailles—featuring topiary, an orangery, and an inviting swimming pool, as well as orchards and greenhouses that supply fruit and vegetables for farm-to-table-inspired restaurant Le Lucé. The interiors, which date from 1764, have recently been restored and updated by U.S.-based Paul Allen Design, and blend 18th-century opulence with modern-day comfort.
Rewilding the City
For your very own green oasis in the heart of Manhattan, book into the newly revamped Meadow Suite at the Crosby Street Hotel. The elegant two-bedroom suite is situated on the hotel’s second floor and has a totally unexpected American woodland meadow terrace, complete with luscious lawn and a shade-giving apple tree.
Like other rooms at the hotel (part of the Firmdale collection) the design here is by Kit Kemp and features her eclectic mix of colors and textures, with high ceilings and full-length windows and doors leading out to the private terrace and its secret garden. This space offers more than a welcome escape from a busy day: much like the nearby High Line, it also aids in efforts to rewild the city’s green spaces and bring bees and other fauna back to metropolitan areas.
Banner image: Courtesy of Bisate Lodge