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Responsible Travel

Responsible Travel

For a brighter future in the places we visit around the world

At EF Go Ahead Tours, we believe that travel should help make the world better. Travel is a powerful way to foster understanding of and respect for the people, cultures, and places of the world. Ultimately, travel can change the way we think, feel, and act, and therefore has the power to affect tremendous change throughout the globe.

Introducing Hello Zero: The EF Forest Initiative

Learn more about Hello Zero on the EF blog.

EF Go Ahead Tours Responsible Travel commitments

When you explore the world with us on tour, know that we seek to benefit the world—now and for years to come. Our EF Responsible Travel initiatives focus on three specific commitments: to support local communities, promote animal welfare, and protect the environment. Each commitment helps us work toward a more sustainable world and fulfill our mission of opening the world through education.

Supporting local communities

Travel has always been about more than “seeing a place.” We’re committed to providing economic, social, and environmental benefits to the communities that you visit with us.


Photo: A textile cooperative run by Quechuan women you’ll visit on A Week in Peru: Lima, Cuzco & Machu Picchu

Lifelong learning

Your EF travel experience directly supports local businesses and livelihoods, and along the way, you’ll learn about the importance of local production and heritage.

Experience it on tour: Try local ingredients and enjoy lunch with an Oaxacan family at their home on Highlights of Mexico: Oaxaca to Mexico City.

Cultural immersion

We collaborate with the communities in which we live, travel, and work to preserve local cultures and encourage sustainability.

Experience it on tour: Enjoy a performance by the Major Voices South African Choir on South Africa: A Journey of Discovery.

A movement for good

We seek to make a long-term impact, focusing on regenerative solutions that benefit communities long after you depart a destination.

Experience it on tour: Meet the women of Nar Kadin, a collective that provides culinary employment opportunities, on Grand Tour of Turkey.

Promoting animal welfare

Truly experiencing a destination should not mean harming the animals that call it home. We’re committed to taking care of our furry, fuzzy, and scaly friends.


Photo: An elephant sanctuary visited on our Thailand Adventure: Bangkok, Chiang Mai & the Islands tour

Celebrating wildlife

At EF, we're proud to work with the non-profit organization World Animal Protection to implement animal welfare guidelines throughout all our travel programs worldwide.

Experience it on tour: Discuss anti-poaching efforts with an expert from the International Fund for Animal Welfare on Kenya Wildlife Safari.

Improving lives of animals

Rescue and conservancy visits not only fund organizations creating positive change, but also allow us to learn about vulnerable animal populations.

Experience it on tour: Visit Chimp Eden, the Jane Goodall Institute South Africa Chimpanzee Sanctuary on South Africa: A Journey of Discovery.

Observing with respect

When we're out exploring our world on safaris, cruises, and in national parks, we're there to watch—never disrupt—animals in their natural habitat.

Experience it on tour: Set out for low-impact observation of nature and wildlife in the Galápagos on Ecuador & Galápagos Islands Cruise.

5 things to know about EF’s commitment to animal welfare
Read the article

Protecting the environment

We’re taking steps toward sustainability by embracing eco-friendly practices that are kind to our planet and reduce our carbon footprint. Our tours include experiences that get you out in nature learning about traditional land use, conservation efforts, the protection of iconic sites, and more.


Photo: Planting a tree on our Costa Rica: Rainforests, Volcanoes & Wildlife tour

Putting the planet first

We work with local suppliers that promote eco-friendly practices—from reducing waste and recycling, to being mindful of our energy use and choosing locally-sourced ingredients.

Experience it on tour: See how tomatoes are grown with geothermal energy at the family-owned Fridheimer Farm on Iceland: Reykjavik & the Golden Circle.

Supporting conservation

Appreciation and preservation go hand in hand. We prioritize the health of our environment by providing no-impact tourism in fragile ecosystems and learning opportunities at protected sites.

Experience it on tour: Pay a responsible visit to the Great Barrier Reef with an ecotourism accredited marine biologist on Highlights of Australia: The Great Barrier to Sydney.

Going green

We're committed to minimizing our carbon footprint. Stay tuned for an announcement of an ambitious new project to address our programs' historical and future carbon emissions globally.

Experience it on tour: Enjoy a farm-to-table lunch at an eco-friendly ranch—the country’s first carbon-negative company!—on Costa Rica: Rainforests, Volcanoes & Wildlife.

Tips for being a responsible traveler

Working toward a better and more sustainable future for the destinations we visit is the only way to ensure that travel will be available to all for years to come. Start small with a few easy ideas for taking action right away:

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Shop local

To ensure money is invested back in the community you’re visiting.

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Bring a reusable water bottle

To skip single-use plastic. (Try one with a filter for no-stress refills!)

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Use reef-safe sunscreen

To be mindful of marine life in our oceans while protecting your skin.

More ways to make a difference:

In the community
  • Eat at locally-owned restaurants, where the food is more likely to be locally-sourced. (Check out our travel guides on the blog for ideas of where to go!)
  • Support local businesses to ensure money is invested back into the community.
  • Be aware of monetary norms (think: tipping and negotiating) in your destination.
  • Talk to your Tour Director about when it’s appropriate to take photos, and ask people for permission before you take their picture.
  • You’ll learn a lot while on tour, but take some time to read up on your destinations before you go. A few words in the local language can go a long way!
  • Wear culturally appropriate clothing and be respectful when visiting religious sites.
  • Consider giving gifts or donations directly to reputable NGOs, charities, or schools, where they’ll make the most impact.
  • Approach cultural differences with empathy and an open mind.
To protect wildlife
  • Taking a dip in the ocean? Slather on sunscreen that’s reef-safe.
  • Avoid buying any exploitive wildlife products.
  • Let it be—there’s no need to remove anything from its natural environment or leave any litter.
  • Take the World Animal Protection’s philosophy of the Five Freedoms to heart.
For the environment
  • Travel with a reusable water bottle.
  • Consider using a water filter if tap water isn’t drinkable in your destination.
  • Reduce waste by avoiding single-use plastics as much as possible.
  • Recycle, recycle, recycle. Go digital when you can, and recycle any necessary paper documents. Can’t find any recycling options while out and about on tour? Bring recyclables back to your hotel.
  • Take public transportation, especially trains and rideshares, when traveling on your own. Better yet—walk if you can.
  • Reuse hotel towels and turn the lights off when you leave your room.
  • Pack your own toiletries and grooming products.
  • Bring your own headphones to use with your whisper headset and on the plane.

Stories on the blog

Responsible travel changes hearts and mind. Here's how our community is contributing to a better world through travel.

Travel buzz
3 responsible travel experiences on tour
Read more

Let’s travel responsibly together

Join us on a Small Group Tour for an in-depth look at your destination while making a positive impact on it.

view of arenal volcano through lush rainforest trees in costa rica
view of arenal volcano through lush rainforest trees in costa rica
Costa Rica: Rainforests, Volcanoes & Wildlife
9 days | 12 days with Manuel Antonio & San José extension
219
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