Travel With Positive Impact
Better Places Travel is a social enterprise that organizes trips with a positive impact. We believe travel can make the world a better place when it’s done in a sustainable and responsible way. This means that we are committed to making a social impact above making a profit. Our aim is to maximize the positive impact of our trips, for example, through creating work opportunities and stimulating cultural interaction, while limiting the negative impact as much as possible by, for example, minimizing waste, CO2 emissions and overtourism.
Sustainability is also a major factor when choosing our partners. Our travel experts are enthusiastic, local professionals from the destination themselves or who have lived there for years. They work in small-scale local travel operators and help you design your ideal travel experience while trying to involve the local population as much as possible. This way we make sure you have an authentic travel experience, and the local people have a fair and direct source of income.
Your own impact trip
What better way to explore a new place than with a trip that positively impacts both traveller and local? We’ve put together the ultimate travel itineraries focusing on small-scale, local and responsible travel.
Responsible travel tips
Travel is a wonderful thing, and tourism contributes to the economic welfare of a country. But travel can also have some negative side effects on nature and local communities. It’s good to keep this in mind, and choose responsible travel options whenever possible.
Responsible tourism is about:
Creating job opportunities for locals
Fair treatment of animals
Preserving local culture and nature
Small-scale (e.g. accommodation)
Respecting local culture
Sustainable Development Goals
Our fair and green travel tips are centred around the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as Global Goals. These goals were set in 2015 by the UN with the aim of making our planet a better place to live by 2030—by ending extreme poverty, inequality, injustice, and climate change. In order to achieve this, we need cooperation among companies, social organizations, governments, universities, schools—and you, the traveller!
These goals set guidelines to make the world a better place for everyone. At Better Places Travel, we believe that by travelling in a responsible way, tourism can make the world a better place. The great thing about responsible travel? Making the world a better place is goes hand-in-hand with making memories and having unique and authentic travel experiences.
We have chosen to focus on a number of SDGs where the travel industry can have a particularly significant impact. Read more about them below.
Or jump straight to:
Goal 1 – NO POVERTY
The first and most important goal is ending extreme poverty—the biggest challenge of our times, according to the UN. Extreme poverty is classified as someone living on less than $1.90 USD per day. Tourism provides an important source of income in many countries and regions around the world; it creates job opportunities in the hotel and restaurant industry, transportation, and many other sectors. In some countries, tourism has become the most important branch of their economy.
Community Based Tourism (CBT)
Community Based Tourism (CBT) enables the local population to share the benefits of tourism in their region. This type of travel makes it possible for the local community to escape the drawbacks of mass tourism (overcrowding, pollution, depletion of resources), while contributing to job opportunities and development in the region. At the same time you, the travellers, are given the unique opportunity to get to know the locals and find out more about each other’s worlds. And let’s face it, isn’t that the reason you wanted to travel in the first place?
10% of profit invested in positive initiatives
Every year 10% of our annual profits are donated to worthy causes. In 2018, this meant we donated €15.000 to, among others, Doctors Without Borders, Plastic Soup Foundation, Refill My Bottle and Give Directly.
Homestays – staying with locals
The best way to really get to know the locals and their way of life is by staying with a local family in their home. By sleeping in a homestay during your travels, your money directly becomes the host family’s income. This way your travel spending directly gets invested back into the community.
GOAL 8 – GOOD JOBS AND ECONOMIC GROWTH
In many countries around the world, having a job doesn’t mean an escape from poverty. Goal 8 focuses on providing decent work to everyone, contributing to sustainable and inclusive economic growth. This means everyone who can work is provided with the opportunity to do so under proper working conditions. These jobs are intended to stimulate economic growth without harming the environment in the process. For Better Places Travel, this means using local tour guides, and focusing on small-scale hotels, homestays and eco-lodges, whenever possible.
Who knows their own country the best? The locals of course! That’s why we recommend using a local guide for various parts of your trip to really get to know your destination. They can tell you everything about their culture, sights to see and the daily life in their country. Do you want to travel without much hassle? In many countries you can easily rent a car with a personal chauffeur. This gives you the freedom to travel around at your own pace with the expertise of a local guide who knows the best places, the ones you can’t find in a travel guide book.
During most of our trips, you can visit a small-scale coffee, cacao or tea plantation. You’ll wander past the fields full of coffee, cacao or tea plants and your guide will tell you all about the process from coffee bean or tea leaf to a nice cup of coffee or tea.
Making responsible choices may sound complicated, but it doesn’t need to be. When it comes to accommodations, for instance, be responsible by choosing small-scale lodges in beautiful areas that operate sustainably. You’ll have plenty of choices when travelling with Better Places Travel, such as the Danpaati River Lodge in Suriname, Sambor Prei Kuk in Cambodia or the Refugio Amazonas in Peru.
Goal 12 – RESPONSIBLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION
Goal 12 is related to the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources. The world’s production patterns need to improve to encompass our growing population, ultimately allowing us to ”produce more with less.” To us, sustainability is about preserving nature and culture, and showing respect for the local culture and customs. This means all tours booked through Better Places Travel are offered in a responsible manner, always in keeping with nature and the local population. A few such tours we offer are the Sugar Trail in Suriname, a Mountain Vibes community tour in Jamaica, or the Khayelitsha township tour in Cape Town.
Travel during low season
Travelling during low seasons has many advantages. The costs of flight tickets and accommodations are much lower and you escape the busy crowds. It makes travelling much more relaxed for you, but is also better for the destination itself. Spreading out the influx of tourists throughout the year is a much more sustainable form of tourism that both travellers and locals profit from.
Being well prepared for your trip is very important. Your contact with the locals will go more smoothly if you’ve familiarized yourself a bit with the local customs.
We want our travellers to truly experience the local way of life, wherever they are visiting. Our sustainable excursions allow you to meet the locals and connect with local communities on the ground.
Visit the less well-known places
Of course, you’ll want to visit the highlights that your destination is known for. But if you really want to get to know a place, choose also for some unique excursions and accommodations where you can really get to know the locals. Stay with a host family, take part in a cooking workshop, help pick coffee beans or cycle through the countryside.
Goal 13 – CLIMATE ACTION
One of the most important issues facing our world today is climate change. Climate change literally crosses all borders, leaving no country unaffected. Reaching Global Goals is an important way of combating the negative effects of climate change that more and more countries are having to face: droughts, extreme storms and floods. Airline travel creates jobs and income around the world, but unfortunately it also produces CO2 emissions. Airline travel is responsible for the lion’s share of CO2 emissions caused by long-distance travel. The carbon footprint of your in-destination journey can be limited if you use sustainable, small-scale accommodations, eat in local restaurants, and limit your in-destination airline travel.
Reduce your CO2 emissions
Limit the CO2 emissions of your trip by staying overnight in small-scale, sustainable accommodations, eating in local restaurants and using as few domestic flights as possible.
Book a direct flight
By booking a direct flight, you can greatly limit the CO2 emissions of your trip. There are also many other reasons to book a direct flight. Read more
Longer and fewer faraway trips
It’s better to fly to a faraway destination once every so often than take several holidays with short flights to your destination.
Eat vegetarian food on holiday
Food is an important part of experiencing and getting to know a new culture. In some countries it’s easier to eat vegetarian than in other countries, but it adds a positive impact to your trip, is good for the environment and can be really taste! We’ve asked several of our travel bloggers to find out for you how to eat vegetarian in our various destinations. Read more
Carbon neutral travel
At Better Places Travel, we compensate the CO2 emissions of all our trips. Not only do we compensate the in-destination travel you book through us, but also the emission of the international flight you took to reach your destination – ensuring complete peace of mind when you travel. To compensate for all emissions, we make use of a carbon calculator (CARMACAL) that calculates the emissions per leg of the journey and invest in a Gold Standard project for more efficient cooking stoves in Ghana. Read more
GOAL 14 – LIFE BELOW WATER
Oceans (their temperature, currents and underwater life), which cover three-quarters of the Earth’s surface, are the motor of global systems that make our planet livable. Our drinking water, weather, climate, coastline, food and even the air we breathe are dependent on the sea. The aim of this goal is to increase economic advantages for smaller island states and the least developed countries by promoting responsible use of marine life through sustainable fishing, aqua culture and tourism. Better Places Travel is committed to ensuring the preservation of life below water by cooperating solely with responsible and certified marine tour operations, and contributing to limiting plastic waste, such as single-use plastic bottles, through various waste minimization initiatives and partnerships.
At Better Places Travel, it is our aim to go completely single-use plastic bottle free on all of our trips by the end of 2019. To do this, we give our travellers tips, such as bringing a refillable water bottle and a water filter or SteriPen to purify their water. We also make sure that, together with our local travel experts, we provide as many water refill points as possible where our travellers can refill their water bottles.
Refill my Bottle
In Indonesia, a number of luxury eco-hotels started an initiative to provide as many water refill stations as possible where you can refill your bottle. Besides hotels, there are also restaurants, shops and a water filter company that now take part. A special app has been developed that maps each of these refill stations, making them easy to find for travellers.
GOAL 15 – LIFE ON LAND
Preserve, repair and encourage the sustainable use of ecosystems, manage forests responsibly, tackle and turn back the clock on desertification and land degradation, and fight against the loss of biodiversity. For us, this translates into small-scale tourism with no damage to nature or culture, and ensuring the local population also reaps the benefits of tourism. This means the guides that accompany all our tours are well acquainted with local nature and culture, and can inform you, the traveller, about the do’s and don’ts of sustainable tourism. It also means we only have animal-friendly excursions as part of our travel experiences. We have opted against, for example, offering elephant rides in Thailand or swimming with dolphins in Jamaica.
Travelife – care for nature and environment
All our local travel partners are Travelife certified, or in the process of obtaining their Travelife certification. Better Places Travel has been Travelife certified since January 2017. In order to qualify for the Travelife certificate, a travel organization needs to meet specific criteria for internal policies, management, product range, trade partners and consumer awareness; pledging a lasting commitment to sustainability.
Visit national parks
Your entrance fee to national parks contributes to the protection of the nature there.
When you buy souvenirs, make sure you don’t buy anything that has been made from endangered animals or plants. It’s not always easy to tell so if you’re not sure, just ask.
We do not offer any excursions that harm animals. By not offering excursions, such as elephant rides or swimming with dolphins in captivity, we hope to contribute to fewer people asking for excursions like this.
Goal 17 – PARTNERSHIPS FOR THE GOALS
In order to reach all goals by 2030, governments, companies, citizens and organizations will need to cooperate. As part of this, Better Places Travel has made agreements with our local travel agents about the way in which they operate.
B Corp Certification
With an increased awareness of the impact we have on our surrounding communities and the environment also comes an increased responsibility for channeling this impact. At Better Places Travel, we are committed to channeling this impact for good. By becoming a Certified B Corporation in May 2018 – the first travel organization in the Netherlands to do so – we want to share our passion for making a positive impact and hold ourselves accountable to others, including our clients and employees. Being a B Corp for us is all about being the best for the world we live in, and redefining what it means to be a sustainable company, one that benefits all people and the environment alike. Read more
Better Places Travel is a social enterprise, which means we are committed to making a social impact above making a profit. Whether it is through supporting initiatives or spreading the word about how to limit plastic waste, we want to increase sustainable living – at home and abroad. You, as a traveller, play an important part in this.