By Intrepid · June 2022
As the world’s largest carbon-neutral travel company, we’re always looking for new ways to cut down on emissions (you can pull up a chair and read our entire carbon management strategy, if that tickles your fancy). This year, we’ve re-vamped many of our trips to make them even more climate-conscious.
All of Intrepid’s 1000+ tours around the world are carbon offset. Which is a great place to start. But the best way to help the planet while you travel is to minimize your footprint in the first place. That means fewer internal flights (or preferably none at all), lots of public transport, good old-fashioned walking (or cycling), and eating plant-based meals (and less meat, generally) wherever we can.
If you’re looking for a climate-conscious, low-impact trip this year, here are five of our absolute favourites.
Our 13-day Vietnam Family Holiday proves that it’s possible to take the kids overseas without loading up on carbon-heavy travel. We’ve actually removed an internal flight from this trip, between Hanoi and Hoi An. Instead, you’ll take an overnight train, which runs all the way along the coast. Much more fun. We’ve also included plenty of zero-emission Cyclo transport in the major cities, plus a special dinner at KOTO, a not-for-profit restaurant which provides hospitality careers for disadvantaged young people in Vietnam. This trip is a nice reminder than small footprints can still have big impact.
All our walking and trekking itineraries are low-emission by nature (the clue’s in the title), but the Larapinta Trail takes climate-conscious hiking to the next level. It’s one of the most famous, most beautiful and most remote multi-day walks in Australia, which means it’s also off-grid. When it comes to limiting your footprint, off-grid beats offsetting every time. Apart from your flights to and from the Trail, this itinerary is almost completely human-powered. You’ll spend your days hiking and swimming, and your nights camping in swags beneath star-filled desert skies.
When we sat down to refresh our popular 12-day Egypt Experience trip, we decided to take out the flight between Aswan and Abu Simbel. Not only did this cut down the tour’s footprint substantially, but once you factored in check-ins, baggage collection, and hunting for airport snacks, it was actually just as fast to drive. This is a great tour for seeing Egypt from ground level: you’ll travel on boats down the Nile, have dinner with a Nubian family near Aswan, and drive the dusty highways from A to B. It’s also a nice reminder that flying isn’t always faster.
One thing we’ve learned over the years: community-owned stays are better. When you travel, it’s usually a good idea to make a conscious effort to keep your tourism dollars in the hands of locals (it’s why we employ local guides on all our Intrepid trips). We also stay in local-owned accommodation wherever possible, including the epic Posada Amazonas, nestled on the side of the Tambopata River, deep in the Peruvian Amazon. This is an incredible community-owned lodge, owned by the Indigenous Ese Eja people, and you’ll stay there for two nights on our Premium Peru trip.
The Grand Canyon might not be the destination that leaps to mind when you think ‘undertourism’, but there’s so much more to explore here than the fabled South Rim. On our 5-day walking adventure, we’ll visit some of the lesser-known spots in the Grand Canyon – the bits most travellers never get to see. The North Rim, for example, gets about 10% of the visitors of its southern counterpart. By seeking out rarely visited trails, and walking as much as possible, we can reduce our strain on the local environment and make sure other places benefit from tourism. When it comes to more climate-conscious tourism, taking the road less travelled – sometimes literally – is often the best way to go.