News Current Events Best of Green Awards 2021: Sustainable Travel It's time to rethink travel with a lighter footstep in mind. These winners lead the way. By Treehugger Editors Updated March 16, 2021 Snaefellsness Peninsula, Iceland. Vicki Jauron, Babylon and Beyond Photography / Getty Images Share Twitter Pinterest Email News Environment Business & Policy Science Animals Home & Design Current Events Treehugger Voices In This Article Expand The Judges Best Destinations Best Accommodations Best Experiences Best Organizations Best Transportation Best Products Reading List While a year of so little leisure travel wasn’t great for our wanderlust, it was nice to see that the planet got a chance to catch its breath. Air and water quality improved, noise pollution was reduced, and in many areas, ecology was restored. As we start looking forward to packing our bags again, we intend to pay homage to this momentum with a renewed commitment to traveling lightly. To help inspire a travel reset, we have dedicated this year's Best of Green Awards for Sustainable Travel to finding the people, places, and things that are leading the charge in eco-friendly travel. Seeing the world can be rough on the planet, but doing so through a lens of sustainability can make it much less so. Here’s to a new chapter in travel, one in which we return to globetrotting in all its splendor, watching our footstep along the way. How We Chose Our Winners For the travel edition of our Best of Green Awards, we partnered with TripSavvy, one of the top-10 travel information sites in the world. Treehugger and TripSavvy collected nominations from readers, contributors, staff, and outside experts. Combining Treehugger's authority in sustainability with TripSavvy's expertise in travel, we carefully vetted each nominee, looking beyond shiny lingo and marketing spin to find the places and businesses that are genuinely striving to make a difference. To help us spotlight the best of the best, we recruited six experts to serve as guest judges. Each judge selected five finalists in one category. Learn more about our panel below. The Judges Courtesy of the Judges Daniel Fox: Solo Wilderness Explorer Daniel Fox is a solo wilderness explorer, author of "Feel the Wild," founder of Feel the Wild VR, professional photographer, and publisher of the Proust Nature Questionnaire. He is also the creator of the FOX Rules, a roadmap for achieving a fulfilling life and a successful career, inspired by his time of solitude in the wilderness. Fox selected the winners for the Destinations category. Sarah Bonsall: Founder, KulörGroup Sarah Bonsall was introduced to hospitality design through her time at the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, where she provided technical expertise for world-class projects around the globe. She is the founder of KulörGroup, an international firm recognized for taking developments from a strategic vision to opening. Bonsall selected the winners for the Accommodations category. Jehangir Mehta: NYC Chef, Restaurateur Jehangir Mehta is the chef and owner at NYC restaurants Graffiti, Me and You, and Graffiti Earth. He was a participant in Food Network's Next Iron Chef Redemption 2012, the runner-up at the Next Iron Chef 2009, and a participant on Iron Chef American. For his focus on reducing food waste, Mehta was named a Change Agent on Restaurant Hospitality's 2019 Power List. Mehta selected the winners for the Experiences category. Laura Ratliff: Editorial Director, TripSavvy Laura Ratliff is TripSavvy’s editorial director. As a writer, her work has appeared in Architectural Digest, Condé Nast Traveler, GQ, Jetsetter, Bon Appétit, and more. Laura’s writing expertise spans numerous topics, ranging from travel and food and drink to reported pieces covering political and human rights issues. Ratliff selected the winners for the Transportation category. Chuck Leavell: Conservationist, The Rolling Stones Keyboardist Chuck Leavell is a musician, conservationist, and forester. As keyboardist for The Rolling Stones since 1982, he has traveled far and wide. Back at home in Georgia, he has a 4,000-acre sustainable tree farm. He co-founded the website Mother Nature Network in 2009 and became Treehugger's editor-at-large in 2020. Leavell selected the winners for the Organizations category. Ashley Renne: Sustainable Lifestyle Expert Ashley Renne is an on-camera host, environmental activist, and plant-based health expert. Her brand, Hey Ashley Renne, shares sustainable and vegan-friendly ways to have a healthier body, home, and planet. She is also the co-host of Beauty and Impact, a podcast showcasing changemakers who are disrupting the norms of beauty, wellness, and sustainability. Renne selected the winners for the Products category. Best Destinations David Broad/CC by 3.0; ARoxo/Getty Images; Beerpixs/Getty Images; LuxTonnerre/CC by 2.0; rob Stoeltje/CC by 2.0. Illustration by Julie Bang. AZORES, PORTUGAL What to Know: Located in the northern Atlantic Ocean, the Azores are an archipelago comprised of nine volcanic islands filled with natural parks, protected landscapes, and forest reserves. Known for their biodiversity, four of the islands have been designated as UNESCO Biosphere Reserves. The Azores, along with the archipelagos of Madeira, Canary Islands, and Cape Verde, make up the biogeographic region of Macaronesia, which comes from the Greek for "islands of the fortunate." Why We Chose It: "Part of being the best green initiative is the ability to communicate to the public the how and why of their commitment to sustainable travel," says Daniel Fox, our judge for the Destinations category. "The Azores in Portugal not only have a great website with a clear message but also they are certified EarthCheck." BAY OF PLENTY, NEW ZEALAND What to Know: Situated on the north coast of New Zealand, the Bay of Plenty offers a mix of beaches and fertile land, not to mention a remarkably high tally of sunshine hours. The area has received much acclaim for its focus on nature and ecotourism, including the development and implementation of an ambitious destination management plan, Te Hā Tāpoi (The Love of Tourism). The plan lays out the framework to develop a flourishing tourism industry while balancing the needs of the community and the environment. Why We Chose It: "Winning a spot on the Green Destinations’ Top 100 Sustainable Destination list is proof their strategy to being certified as an eco-destination is working," says Fox. SNAEFELLSNES PENINSULA, ICELAND What to Know: The name Snaefellsnes Peninsula translates to "snow mount's peninsula," a hint that a glacier-crowned volcano awaits visitors at the headland's tip. Located in western Iceland between Reykjavik and the Westfjords, the Snaefellsnes Peninsula boasts a remarkable mix of landscapes, from lava fields and volcanoes to glaciers, beaches, and cliffs – all of which play host to puffins, eagles, whales, seals, and arctic fox, among others. Why We Chose It: Snaefellsnes has been awarded EarthCheck destination certification, earning praise for an environmentally conscious community that strives for social responsibility and sustainability. "Iceland is once again showing that nature is an integrable part of its identity, Fox observes. "Not only are they certified EarthCheck, but they keep proving that tourism and sustainability go hand in hand." COSTA RICA What to Know: Aiming for net-zero emissions by 2050 and taking the innovative action of committing to protect its seabed before 2030, Costa Rica is at the forefront of sustainability. The country's decades of action combatting the climate crisis have yielded impressive results. Deforestation has been reversed, forest cover now stands at over 53%, and more than a quarter of the country’s land has been turned into protected parks and reserves. Costa Rica encourages visitors to offset their carbon emissions when traveling to this wonderland of natural beauty. Why We Chose It: Costa Rica was awarded the United Nations Environment Programme’s Champions of the Earth award for policy leadership, and it's no mystery why. "Numbers are hard to ignore," says Fox. "98% of Costa Rica's electricity comes from renewable resources and 30% of its territory is protected natural land. With a goal to have net-zero emissions by 2050. Do I need to say more?" PALAU What to Know: Renowned for its natural beauty and breathtaking water, the Pacific Island nation of Palau is one of the top marine tourism destinations in the world. But rather than allowing tourism to leave a heavy footprint, Palau is striving to become the world’s first “Carbon Neutral Tourism Destination.” To this end, it has established one of the world’s largest marine sanctuaries, created an eco-pledge that visitors are required to sign before entering, prohibited tour operators from using single-use plastics and foam products, and adopted one of the strictest national sunscreen standards we've seen. Why We Chose It: "Palau's pristine water boasting so much life is a testament to its successful sustainable strategy," notes Fox. "Their environmental stewardship is an example to the rest of the world." Best Accommodations Courtesy of Svart, KAJ Hotel, Treehotel, and Sarara Organizations; Amaia Arozena & Gotzon Iraola/Getty Images. Illustration by Julie Bang. TREEHOTEL, SWEDEN What to Know: Treehotel is located in Harads, Sweden, near the Lule River. And true to its name, it is a hotel of treehouses. All told there are seven treerooms, each designed by one of Scandinavia’s leading architects, and each with a different theme; there's a bird nest, a mirror cube, and even a UFO. And while we came for the treehouses, we stayed for the sustainability. Rooms are made from environmentally friendly materials and construction techniques while boasting combustion toilets and water-efficient sinks. Electricity is supplied locally by hydroelectric power, and lighting comes from low-energy LED systems. Why We Chose It: "By working with world-renowned architects and designers Treehotel was able to use design as a lever to differentiate themselves in a crowded marketplace," says Sarah Bonsall, our judge for the Accommodations category. "This approach underscores the importance of high quality, experiential design in placemaking, driving business to little known or appreciated regions. The seasonality of traditional hospitality is avoided by highlighting, rather than working against the changing weather, in effect using the landscape as canvas." SVART, NORWAY What to Know: Located north of the Arctic circle at the foot of the Svartisen glacier, this circular hotel is slated to open in late 2022 – but it's so aesthetically and sustainably spectacular that we just have to highlight it. Svart is being built to the Norwegian Powerhouse standard, by far the toughest sustainability standard in the world. Svart is not only net-zero energy, and not only Passive House – but it is "plus energy." With its full off-grid design and the eventual production of excess energy through its solar panel system, Svart will self-power all its projects, including a greenhouse farm and waste management system. Why We Chose It: "This net-zero, energy-positive hotel focuses on architecture as craft, embracing the local vernacular and traditional building techniques and reimagining them for a contemporary market," says Bonsall. "The layered textures and framed views represent today’s approach to experiential travel – 'luxury as experience.'" KAJ HOTEL, COPENHAGEN What to Know: Not quite a hotel and not quite a houseboat, KAJ is a unique accommodation that may be best described as a single floating hotel room. Nestled in a quiet part of the beautiful harbor of central Copenhagen, Denmark, this small urban oasis has been crafted entirely of reclaimed materials – from patio boards and former Danish defense command windows to railroad light poles and stairs and gangway from an old ship Why We Chose It: "A direct response to the incredible inroads of Airbnb, the KAJ Hotel proves that bigger is not always better," observes Bonsall. "The minimally designed space acts as a home base for exploration while offering guests a unique taste of local life." ALBERGHI DIFFUSI, ITALY What to Know: Italy's Alberghi Diffusi (“Scattered Hotels”) exemplify historic preservation at its best. Consisting of different accommodations in various buildings scattered throughout a village, the offerings allow for smart re-use of buildings that may have otherwise found little purpose. There are central common areas with dining and other services for guests, who can choose from various options such as renovated village houses, converted farmhouses, schoolhouses, villas, warehouses, barns, and even jails! Since the scattered hotels are promoted as one hotel, rather than different accommodations in the same town, the booking process is simplified. Why We Chose It: "Another example of a hotel/Airbnb hybrid the Alberghi Diffusi is a truly local experience. By deconstructing what makes a typical hotel, local residents are able to reimagine underused structures as high-end, unique hospitality offerings. This diffuse approach to hospitality allows for a selection of hospitality experiences from entry-level to uncompromising high-end facilities – all within the limited boundaries of smaller towns." SARARA, KENYA What to Know: Located in the community-owned Namyunak Wildlife Conservancy in Northern Kenya, Sarara offers luxury tents and other lodgings set amongst 850,000 acres of pristine wilderness in the Mathews Range. Far more than a fancy safari destination, Sarara is a model for conservation, partnering with indigenous communities to build sustainability for both people and wildlife. There are a number of wildlife experiences available, and the famed Reteti Elephant Sanctuary is just a 30-minute drive away. Why We Chose It: "A prime example of regenerative travel, demonstrating that supporting local communities can create a truly sustainable development by working within the intersection between people, profit, and planet," notes Bonsall. "Not content to offer 'once in a lifetime' trips to well-heeled guests, the Sarara Kenya is acting to protect this global resource, recognizing that by working with the local community travel can help support local economies." Best Experiences Courtesy of Earthwatch Volunteer Expeditions; Andyworks/Getty Images; Courtesy of Forest Bathing Hawai’i/Colby Takeda; Courtesy of Safari Surf School; Feifei Cui-Paoluzzo/Getty Images. Illustration by Julie Bang. A VOLUNTEER EXPEDITION WITH EARTHWATCH What to Know: Combining citizen science with community engagement, Earthwatch pairs researchers with volunteers to tackle environmental challenges. They currently support more than 40 research projects, offering volunteers transformative learning experiences that are sure to last a lifetime. Expedition offerings include searching for pink river dolphins from an Amazon riverboat, unearthing artifacts in Italy's Populonia Archaeological Park, or counting penguins in South Africa. Why We Chose It: "An organization that breathes nature and charters humans to do better," says Jehangir Mehta, our judge for the Experiences category. "Through their relentless educational efforts, they evolve the 'why' for which our planet needs a compassionate resident." SLEEPING WITH WOLVES IN NEW YORK What to Know: Fifty miles north of New York City, dozens of wolves roam the wilderness of the Wolf Conservation Center. Through the federal recovery and release programs, this non-profit environmental education organization works to protect and preserve the Mexican gray wolf and red wolf – both of which are critically endangered. The center's three "ambassador wolves" reside in an exhibit area where visitors can observe them, while the rest of the wolves, who are candidates for wild-release, live in the wild parts of the sanctuary. Visitors can come for a variety of educational programs, but the Sleeping With Wolves nocturnal adventure is the stand-out. While there is fencing that separates the sleepers from the animals, there is nothing quite like being serenaded by packs of howling wolves all night. Why We Chose It: Mehta selected the Sleeping With Wolves program for the "close interaction with wolves." While the center's mission may be to protect and preserve wolves, part of doing so is by communicating a broader message of "conservation, ecological balance, and personal responsibility for improved human stewardship of our world." WWOOF AROUND THE WORLD What to Know: Started in the 1970s, Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) is a global movement that connects travelers with organic farmers. Volunteers help with farm work and receive free accommodation (as well as valuable experience) in return. Central to the WWOOF experience is learning about and promoting ecological farming and sustainability practices. From organic farms in California to vineyards in France, there are WWOOFing opportunities all over the world. Why We Chose It: Mehta selected Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms for its ability "to create a marriage between farms and society." With volunteers working for around half a day each day of their stay, Mehta notes that "this is one of the best 25 hours/week one can spend truly understanding the earth." SURF SCHOOL IN COSTA RICA What to Know: For anyone looking to learn how to surf in one of the world's most beautiful – and sustainable – places, look no further than Safari Surf School (SSS) in Nosara, on Costa Rica's Nicoya Peninsula. Billed as the most sustainable surf school in the world, SSS was the first surf school to set up shop in Nosara back in 1999. SSS is Stoke Certified for sustainability. And if that weren't enough, SSS is housed in Olas Verdes, the first LEED Platinum hotel in Costa Rica. Every day, you'll wake up, grab your board, and walk through a strip of jungle (complete with a chorus of howler monkeys) – a four-mile stretch of glorious beach awaits. Why We Chose It: While the natural setting of this surf school and hotel might be merit enough, it's the passion for sustainability that sets it apart. As Mehta notes, it is "an organic and heartfelt enterprise believing in sustainability." FOREST BATHING IN HAWAIʻI What to Know: Led by Phyllis Look, Hawai‘i’s first certified forest therapy guide, the Oahu-based Forest Bathing Hawaiʻi offers forest bathing sessions in the tropical rainforest of the Lyon Arboretum. The meditative experience includes a gentle two- to three-hour walk with prompts to open one's senses and ponder nature. Why We Chose It: Forest bathing is a translation of the Japanese term shinrin-yoku, a wellness practice developed in Japan in the 1980s. There is ample scientific research showing the health benefits of spending time in green space; forest bathing fosters a deeper connection to the natural world. If you're spending time in Hawaiʻi, what better way to appreciate the natural beauty than by "bathing" in it? As Mehta notes, it offers a chance for "visitors to achieve a nature-filled zen moment." Best Organizations Courtesy of Sustainable Travel International; Courtesy of The Center For Responsible Travel; 1001slide/Getty Images; ICHAUVEL/Getty Images; Andrew Nguyen/EyeEm/Getty Images. Illustration by Julie Bang. SUSTAINABLE TRAVEL INTERNATIONAL What to Know: Sustainable Travel International has been working for the past 15 years to transform travel and tourism into a force for good. The organization acknowledges humans’ innate wanderlust and believes that tourism has a unique ability to inspire people towards conservation, especially when confronted with the impending destruction of places they love. STI counsels governments, companies, NGOs, and local communities on how to use tourism to alleviate poverty, improve gender equality, mitigate environmental degradation, and protect wildlife. Why We Chose It: "I like the wide range of outreach this concept has," says Chuck Leavell, our judge for the Organizations category. "Working with government officials, corporations, communities, etc. to help alleviate poverty, inequities, hunger, and other challenges while helping improve the environment ... good stuff!" THE CENTER FOR RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL What to Know: The Center for Responsible Travel (CREST) wants to protect the planet through better travel management. CREST helps governments, policymakers, tourism businesses, non-profit organizations, and international agencies find solutions to some of the most critical issues relating to tourism, then works to implement those solutions in ways that benefit local communities. Why We Chose It: "I think the name itself says it all," says Leavell. "Designing and promoting policies that pair travel with responsibility and sensitivity to the environment, and taking into account the diversity of local needs and special opportunities." SAVE ELEPHANT FOUNDATION What to Know: Save Elephant Foundation is a non-profit organization in Thailand dedicated to protecting Asian elephants. It does so by rehabilitating elephants rescued from captivity, working with communities to establish self-sustaining eco-tourism operations, and educating the public about the plight of Asian elephants. In 2010 Save Elephant’s founder Sangdeaun Lek Chailert was honored in Washington, D.C., as one of six Women Heroes of Global Conservation and named one of Time Magazine’s Heroes of Asia for her conservation work in 2005. Why We Chose It: "When we watch nature shows on television, it seems that the elephant is always considered one of the most important species that is being challenged," says Leavell. "Seeing the poaching being done for the tusks is just so cruel and needless. The elephants definitely need our help." ETHICAL TRAVELER What to Know: Ethical Traveler is a non-profit organization that uses the economic clout of tourists’ dollars to advocate for human rights and the environment. It offers guided tours that adhere to high ethical standards and are designed to maximize benefit to the communities visited. Ethical Traveler publishes an annual list of Ten Best Ethical Destinations; this year’s special COVID-19 edition recognizes countries that have suffered greatly from the pandemic but are on track to launch sustainable, regenerative tourism industries once the world reopens. Why We Chose It: "Taking the challenge straight to the traveler is an excellent idea," notes Leavell. "This organization takes a broad approach to help all aspects of environmental travel." TRAVEL UNITY What to Know: Travel Unity was created in 2016 with the goal of increasing diversity within the tourism industry. Their certification program, Certified by Travel Unity, identifies tourism organizations that meet their diversity, equity, and inclusion standards. Travel Unity also advises travel companies on how to make their businesses more inclusive to people of all backgrounds and abilities. Why We Chose It: "I like that they work with communities as well as individuals, and partner with travel-related businesses," Leavell tells us, "bringing folks together to understand how to be kinder to our environment when we travel." Best Transportation Courtesy of Rocky Mountaineer; Courtesy of Revel; Courtesy of General Motors; VisionsofAmerica/Getty Images; Tabor Chichakly/Getty Images. Illustration by Julie Bang. ROCKY MOUNTAINEER What to Know: Canada’s Rocky Mountaineer is a luxury train operator that serves Western Canada and, starting later this year, the American Southwest. The sustainability-focused company has added energy-efficient GoldLeaf rail cars to its fleet and even made smaller changes like upgrading dishwashers to use less water. Guests dine on reusable flatware, and last year, Rocky Mountaineer set the progressive goal to divert 90 percent of its waste from landfills by 2023. Why We Chose It: "Train travel has become increasingly popular in the era of experiential travel, but it also happens to be an excellent means of reducing one’s carbon footprint," says Laura Ratliff, our judge for the Transportation category. "But just the act of, well, existing as a locomotive isn’t enough, which is why the Rocky Mountaineer a worthy award-winner." MAINE WINDJAMMER ASSOCIATION What to Know: A cruise from the Maine Windjammer Association is not your grandma's cruise. Unless, of course, your grandma cruises abroad a vintage schooner meandering through the islands and bays of coastal Maine. "The Maine Windjammer Association is the largest group of such vessels in the U.S. and offers sailing vacations that are both sustainable and incredibly cathartic," Ratliff tells us. "You might spot incredible wildlife like whales, bald eagles, and porpoises on your trip – to say nothing of Maine’s bucolic coastline." Why We Chose It: "The captains have restored, or in some cases, built their vessels themselves, which rely primarily on wind power to jet along the coast – in most cases, the average fuel consumption is only about one gallon per person per week of travel," Ratliff says. It doesn't get more sustainable than traveling by wind alone. GENERAL MOTORS What to Know: An automobile maker receiving a sustainable travel award might seem blasphemous, but General Motors is "reinventing the road trip with its pledge to eliminate tailpipe emissions from new light-duty vehicles by 2035, a goal that will be met with a whopping $27 billion of investment from the company," says Ratliff. "Plus, you don’t need to worry about getting stranded roadside with a dead battery – part of the company’s commitment includes working with EVgo to add more than 2,700 new fast chargers across the country by the end of 2025." Why We Chose It: It's hard to talk about travel without talking about road trips, and it's hard to talk about road trips without talking about cars. As the internal combustion engine slowly becomes a relic of the past, we are looking forward to a new era of electrification, with carmakers like GM leading the charge. REVEL What to Know: Revel is an electric moped sharing service currently serving New York, Washington, D.C., and several other U.S. cities. Riders can simply download the Revel app, reserve a nearby moped, and put on a helmet – you can't power on the bike without submitting a helmet selfie. Revel also offers free riding lessons to all users. "Revel mopeds do get charged and rely on a fleet of gas-guzzling vehicles to do so," notes Ratliff. "Still, their increased usage slowly but surely will positively impact traffic congestion and the other adverse effects of car dependence." While we don't expect to see you traveling across the country by means of an e-moped, there is no denying that Revel and its peers are changing the face of mobility in cities like New York and Washington, D.C. Why We Chose It: "The much-beleaguered scooter-sharing app Revel wins an award solely because it’s been able to accomplish a few things that beloved bike shares have not," Ratliff says. "While bike shares have impacted many cities worldwide, they require more significant infrastructure to be successfully and safely implemented, such as bike lanes. Their slightly faster speeds and more extensive range also means that users are more likely to forego their car or an Uber when they need to go, say five miles or a little more." ECOCLIPPER What to Know: "When we talk about sustainable travel, the elephant in the room has to be transcontinental travel – and that doesn’t just mean moving people," says Ratliff. "Moving humans and goods from A to B with minimal environmental impact is no easy feat." But EcoClipper plans to do just that by offering emission-free transport and travel by using engine-less sailing ships. While still in nascent stages, the company has introduced its prototype – based on the 19th century Dutch clippership Noach – and is inviting investors to join its mission. Why We Chose It: Perhaps not everyone will be game to eschew a plane and hop aboard a ship to cross the Atlantic, no matter how retro-glamourous it might be. But we think EcoClipper will be a fantastic alternative for many travelers who are wary of the environmental cost of air travel. Best Products Courtesy of Ruby Love, LUSH Solid Hair Care, Ebby Rane, Ashley Renne, and Bites. Illustration by Julie Bang. LUSH SOLID HAIR CARE What to Know: LUSH is the original purveyor of shampoo bars, and its formula is among the best out there. Rub the bar into wet hair for an immediate lather and a squeaky clean, sweet-smelling result. Better yet, no plastic waste is created in the process. Lightweight, liquid-free, and carry-on approved, shampoo bars are ideal for travel. Why We Chose It: "Just the other day, I received a text from a friend raving about her newfound obsession with LUSH. Can anyone blame her?" recounts Ashley Renne, our judge for the Products category. "100% of their products are vegetarian and at least 80% are vegan, they don’t compromise their ethics on animal testing, they have an easy-to-use recycling program for their packaging, and 35% of their products don’t even have packaging – which means no waste for the consumer. Needless to say, if you have a passion for sustainability, it’s easy to be passionate about LUSH." RUBY LOVE PERIOD APPAREL What to Know: Ruby Love's period apparel is designed to be leakproof, odor-free, and supremely comfortable to wear. It stands out for its period-friendly swimwear, which allows anyone who doesn’t wear tampons or a menstrual cup to have worry-free days at the beach or pool. Tossing this into your suitcase is sure to provide peace of mind. Why We Chose It: "Ruby Love creatively filled a very prominent gap in the period underwear concept!" says Ashley. "I’ve been using period panties for over a year now, but could never go for a swim while wearing them. With the innovation of period swimsuits, now I don’t need to choose between skipping out on the beach or going back to tampons. I can honestly say this is a game-changer." Q2 VEGAN LUGGAGE What to Know: The Q2 Aviation Gray is a luxurious vegan carry-on crafted by luggage maker Ebby Rane. Trimmed inside and out with sustainable cork, the Q2 is both eye-catching and highly functional, with a specially designed interior that holds five packing carryalls in place (included). Carry-ons are always a good choice for sustainable travel, as they contribute less weight to the airplane than checked bags and make it easier for you to move around on your adventures. Why We Chose It: "I have a lot of respect for planet-forward companies that understand the connection between sustainability and veganism. Not all do!" says Ashley. "This may be an unpopular opinion, but to me, a product isn’t truly cruelty-free if it has animal-derived ingredients or materials. I applaud Ebby Rane for developing sustainable luggage that doesn’t exploit animals in the process." BITE TOOTHPASTE BITS What to Know: These clever toothpaste "bits" from Bite are a replacement for heavy, plastic toothpaste tubes – and they do just as good a job at cleaning teeth as the conventional stuff. Packaged in a refillable glass jar, you can toss however many bits you need into your travel toiletries bag. Why We Chose It: Zero-waste toothpaste that's easy to transport? Sign us up. Ashley calls these easy-to-use tablets a "worthy opponent to the billion plastic toothpaste tubes that end up in landfills and waterways each year." EC30 BODY WASH What to Know: EC30's body wash is a small swatch infused with cleanser that lathers up when it touches water. You can rub it directly onto your skin or use a wet washcloth. Made of polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), the swatch dissolves fully by the end of your shower. Dry, lightweight, and plastic-free, EC30 is an ideal choice for travel. Why We Chose It: "EC30 was at the top of my innovative sustainable brands list last year and continues to impress me. They go way beyond the whole 'anti-plastic movement," says Ashley. "They’ve taken big steps towards carbon-neutral cleaning, removed unnecessary ingredients like water from their products, and created swatches that dissolve when you add water to them which eliminates the need for plastic bottles altogether. EC30 gave body wash a whole new vibe." Reading List The 6 Best Carbon Offset Programs of 2021 How to Be a Sustainable Traveler: 18 Tips Destinations Dependent on Ecotourism Are Facing a Silent Crisis 10 Ways to Protect Coral Reefs When You Travel What Is Sustainable Tourism and Why Is It Important?