National Geographic - Center for Sustainable Destinations: Working to protect the worlds distinctive places through wisely managed tourism and enlightened destination stewardship.

Resources for Travelers

Photo: Dogsled team in Alaska

Dogsledding in Antarctica.

Photograph by Albert Moldvay

Resources for Travelers

These links may help make your trip more rewarding while supporting the quality of your destinations. Selections are limited to multidestination enterprises with strong sustainability policies and practices. For news on sustainable, authentic travel, subscribe to National Geographic Traveler's blog, Intelligent Travel.

Check out these Geotraveler Tips for a more authentic, memorable trip.

Multipurpose Sites

World Hotel Link

Uses a network of local travel professionals to help you find and book off-the-beaten-track hotels, B&Bs, tours, and activities worldwide, as well as mainstream hotels. WHL's core values focus on authentic travel experiences that highlight local destinations, people, cultures, and environment.


This eco-friendly tour operator organizes sustainable biking, walking, and multisport tours worldwide. The company supports a variety of conservation and ecotourism organizations.

The Connected Traveler: Sustainable Tourism

Learn how to determine good from bad ecotourism. Includes a code of ethics for travelers, and links to numerous sustainable-tourism websites.

Costa Rica: Certification for Sustainable Tourism program

The Costa Rican Tourism Institute's developing certification program has evaluated dozens of lodges, inns, and hotels that you can search by province, certification level, and hotel type.


Lists small scale, locally produced, low-impact, customizable ecotours and culture trips. Worldwide destinations. You can search trips by region and by activity.

Earthwatch Institute

Scientific research trips supported by paying volunteers, with many educational and conservation projects geared toward sustainability issues.


Gives information on alternative tourism projects and trips worldwide in both urban and non-urban destinations. Provides a small searchable directory of alternative tour operators, lodgings, learning and volunteer programs. Includes "how to" miniguides for the independent traveler.

"Green" Hotels Association

Provides environmental travel tips for individual and business travelers.

Green Tourism Association

This extensive Toronto-based website presents "urban green tourism," which protects metropolitan resources and cultural diversity. Provides general and Toronto-specific information, including publications, press releases, websites, and television shows.

International Porter Protection Group

Guidelines for travelers when employing porters.

Leave No Trace

Helps you visit outdoor recreation destinations without harming them. The nonprofit program works to build awareness, appreciation, and respect for public recreation areas.

Namibia Community Based Tourism Association (NACOBTA)

Lists Namibian community tourism enterprises, including campsites, traditional villages, museums, tours, and local crafts.

National Geographic Expeditions

High-end educational tours, many of which use operators pledged to sustainable practices. Proceeds benefit National Geographic research programs.

Pacific Asia Travel Association

Traveler's codes for visiting indigenous cultures and for sustainable tourism.

Partners in Responsible Tourism

This San Francisco-based network provides guidelines for traveling responsibly.

Justin Francis provides a small, well-organized database of responsible ecotours and accommodation worldwide that he has evaluated and approved. Posts tips for responsible travelers and guidelines for tourism professionals.

Scotland: The Tourism & Environment Forum

Discover the cultural heritage of small Scottish towns by patronizing sustainable-tourism establishments. Selections by area, accommodation type, and town.

Tearfund: Tourism Campaign

This U.K. Christian nonprofit hosts the Right to Know campaign, helping travelers to make informed holiday choices. Volunteer travel programs, too.

Tread Lightly!

Through educational materials, editorial coverage, and manufacturer-supported promotions, this nonprofit organization encourages motorized outdoor recreation that is environmentally responsible.

WWF: Tourism Advice

General information and guidelines from WWF-UK on traveling responsibly.


Conservation International: Ecotravel Center

The nonprofit conservation group lists links for ecotourism trips to the world's biodiversity hotspots.


An Athens-based ecotourism club that offers direct worldwide booking online, eco-products, eco-events, and free consultations by member experts.

Key to Costa Rica

Beatrice Blake lists sustainability ratings for ecolodges in her guidebook, New Key to Costa Rica, plus additional information.


This U.S.-based company offers ecotouring trips to destinations worldwide, working only with tourism businesses inspected on-site for environmental and cultural sensitivity.

Hawaii Ecotourism Association

Lists activities and attractions that promote Hawaii's culture and environment.

The International Ecotourism Society

An information program called "Your Travel Choice Makes a Difference" helps consumers make educated responsible travel decisions. The site also provides a database of ecotourism operators and ecolodges.

The Nature Conservancy

The conservation group provides ecotourism trips, as well as lodging for independent travelers. Both international and U.S. nature destinations.

Oceanic Society

This conservation research organization offers natural history expeditions throughout the world, including whale-watching tours and hands-on field trips for students and teachers.

Orangutan Foundation International

Offers several five-day orangutan tours and 11-day study tours annually in Kalimantan, Borneo, as well as a six-week field volunteer program (

Pacific Whale Foundation

This research and advocacy organization offers ecotours with proceeds channeled toward saving the oceans.

Includes language and travel guides, info on how to choose a trip, event lists, and resources for travelers looking for work or volunteer positions abroad.

Culture and Heritage

Global Exchange

This nonprofit organizes socially responsible and educational study seminars; fact-finding, solidarity, and activist delegations; and customized tours for business, and professional organizations. Not for hedonists.

HandMade in America

Promotes crafts and heritage trails in western North Carolina. The website notes craft heritage and garden tours for independent travelers in the area.

National Trust for Historic Preservation, Historic Hotels of America

You can reserve rooms in historic U.S. hotels here. Links to other National Trust tours, historic sites, and a heritage traveler bookstore.

Native Tourism

This well-organized site allows you to find Native American tour attractions and services throughout the U.S. by state or by tribe. Includes the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial, tourism businesses, newsletters, travel tips, and scenic byways.


This educational organization lists some three dozen links to indigenous tour operators worldwide.


American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy

Offers a user's guide to green transportation. For a small subscription fee you can consult an online catalog of environmental cars and trucks.

Northeast Sustainable Energy Association

This U.S. organization provides information on eco-friendly cars and trucks, plus guidelines on reducing pollution from transportation.