Sustainable Travel is the new buzz term out there, when considering vacations and really, travel in general. Adventure Junky, a new adventure travel app, actually rewards players for traveling in a conscientious and sustainable way. So we went looking for ideas on how you can plan vacations and other long term adventures and still make a positive impact on the world.

  1. Specialized Vacations: A popular vacation idea lately, is spending vacation time in a third world country or environment and volunteering or contributing in some way to the betterment of life there. According to USA Today’s 10best.com, Carnival Cruise Lines has launched a cruise line called Fathom, that “offers guests an opportunity to embark on shore excursions that allow travelers to engage with local communities directly and with great impact.”
  2. Book an Eco tour. Instead of going to a zoo to see animals confined, take a tour with a expert or scientist who provides an education in a natural environment. Be careful to choose a tour operator who is a member of The International Ecotourism Society so you can be sure they operate their business in a responsible manner.
  3. Volunteer Responsibly: It is shocking to learn that as volunteering becomes a lucrative industry, many business are popping to take advantage of those profits, sometimes mistreating the very people others are coming to help. Try community based tourism where you will stay with locals and engage in activities within the community. Focus on business growth and see your efforts affect the whole community.
  4. Look for Carbon Neutral Options: It might seem like a small effort, but choosing operators who offer net zero carbon emissions is a very responsible action. Basically, any carbon emissions impact, is counter balanced with a positive action on the planet’s atmosphere, like planting trees.
  5. Use Public Transit: This one is related to #4 and allows you to personally reduce your own carbon footprint. So, instead of hiring a cab or renting a car, use public transit. Not only will you save money, you will immerse yourself in the community, experiencing the culture of the places you visit.
  6. Walk, Bike, Hike: Again, this further reduces your carbon footprint and can really reveal the hidden gems in the city that you are visiting.
  7. Giving back to local community: Do some research on your local operators and make sure they are giving back to their local community. They can do this simply by referring visitors to local businesses for restaurants and souvenirs.
  8. Look for the LEED Certification: If you are staying in a hotel, especially a newer one, make sure it has the LEED Certification. This is given by the U.S. Green Building Council and tells us that the building was designed with standards in sustainable development. In addition to aesthetic design, the certification ensures the building responsibility uses water consumption, energy efficiency and materials.
  9. Choose venues that donate to a cause: If you had a choice between booking a hotel that donates a portion of your room fee to a worthy cause or one that does not, you would most likely choose the hotel that gives. Well, this option is available more than you realize. Kind Traveler has a developed a digital “Give and Get” hotel booking platform that allows travelers to donate to charity in exchange for discounted stays.
  10. Respect for Wildlife: If you are traveling to new places, especially abroad, you are likely to run into wildlife that is new to you. Observe them from a distance and don’t try to lure them to you. Even chumming water during a dive can make the ocean life sick.

This information was originally published on USA Today’s 10Best.