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World Nomads’ top travel tips for eco-conscious travelers

Before you pack your bags and start your journey, make sure you travel with the planet in mind and do so responsibly.

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Traveling is a fantastic experience, but wherever you go, you should consider ways of giving back to the people and the places you visit.

World Nomads offers you the chance to give back to communities around the world through a micro-donation whenever you buy travel insurance with us. Through our Footprints Network, travelers have helped us fund more than 250 projects, and raise more than $3 million. We continue to partner with reputable charities and NGOs to ensure your micro-donation goes to the project of your choice.

Whether you want to donate, volunteer, or stay in eco-friendly accommodation, here are some handy travel tips for you to consider when planning your next trip:

  1. Do your green research before you head off: look for accommodations, destination, products, and tour companies that have been deemed sustainable by a legitimate certifying body. In the sustainable tourism world, that means organizations such as the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, The Rainforest Alliance, and Earth Check.
  2. Go off-grid or visit less-visited locations: after the pandemic caused a reset of travel, it makes sense to leave the beaten track and create your own path. Visiting places further away from the masses will give you a more authentic experience, and also help to reduce degradation of popular sights. But be aware that the more remote your destination, the more chance there is that these may not be covered if you choose to purchase. Always check if your off-the-grid destination(s) are covered. While we offer cover for more than 100 destinations, we do not offer travel insurance to sanctioned countries, and cover may be affected if you travel to a destination that your government has advised against traveling to. Also, some destinations may not be covered due to violence, terrorism or possibly due to being designated a COVID hotspot.
  3. Choose from more than 150 activities, sports and experiences: while we do offer cover for more than 150 activities, sports and experiences, we don't cover everything. For example, we do not cover big game hunting or Spain’s running of the bulls. Many activities will have special conditions and exclusions attached to them. Read the policy wording carefully to choose the right plan and/or adventure sport option for your trip. Your policy may have conditions and exclusions.
  4. Volunteer when abroad: giving back to the places or communities you’re visiting can be a rewarding experience. Volunteerism is on the rise, for example, reforestation, cleaning up beaches, nature trail construction and invasive species management are just some volunteer work examples. With World Nomads, the types of volunteer activities that are covered will depend on your country of residence. Check your plan and policy wording to get more details. For example, you won’t be covered if you intend to work near dangerous animals such as sharks, elephants, big cats, bears, and deadly snakes or if you go against local authority warnings or enter closed or restricted areas or places or situations known to be unsafe or dangerous.
  5. Immerse yourself in local communities and culture: a big part of traveling is exploring new cultures and environments. So, it goes without saying that you shouldn’t do anything that might endanger or exploit local people or wildlife. Don’t litter, stay on public footpaths and follow local laws and cultures. Help protect the places that you visit by following local customs. Under our policies, you won’t be covered if you cause any physical injury or property damage deliberately or if you cause any damage with intent, malice or gross negligence.
  6. Airbnb, green resorts or homestay: when traveling, there are many eco-friendly options to choose from depending on your budget. You can stay at an eco-friendly Airbnb rental, at a hostel or hotel or live in a local community, all these options can offer eco-friendly options. When staying at a private vacation rental please remember that illegal activities and any incidents caused by being under the influence of alcohol and drugs are not covered (partying is banned at most vacation rentals). For those who have a higher budget, some resorts have tree-planting and other supporting environmental programs such as a no plastic policy, and using local foods in their restaurants. At the other end of the budget, staying with local families will give you knowledge of local habitats, wildlife, and traditional cultures. Seeking out local experiences such as homestays, and hiring local guides are great ways to learn about a culture, while providing direct economic benefits to the host communities.
  7. Choose a responsible tour operator: choose a tour operator that promotes responsible tourism, works as part of the local community, and actively helps to conserve the environment. Before you go, ask your travel provider (tour operator, travel agent) about the company’s environmental and responsible tourism policies – support those who support responsible tourism. Look for the Global Sustainable Tourism Council GSTC logo. GSTC is an independent, neutral organization that establishes and monitors global standards for destinations and tourism companies all over the world, and it’s also a great source of information for destinations, accommodation and eco-friendly travel tips.

Note: this is only a summary of coverage and does not include the full terms and conditions of the policy. There are terms & conditions, exclusions and limits which apply depending on your Country of Residence and the level of cover you’ve chosen, so be sure to read the policy wording before you buy a policy.

Traveler tip: traveling during a destination’s shoulder season, the period between the peak and low seasons, typically combines good weather and low prices without the large crowds. This allows better opportunities to immerse yourself in a new place without contributing to overtourism, but also provides the local economy with income during a normally slow season.

What type of eco tourist are you?

According to the United Nations, there are three types: hard ecotourist, soft ecotourist and the adventure ecotourist.

  1. The hard ecotourist: is motivated primarily by a scientific interest in nature and is interested in bird watching, nature photography, and botanical trips.  Sometimes they will take on activities that require strenuous effort and non-hotel accommodations. If you fall into this category you may have the option (depending in your Country of Residence) to upgrade and pay a little extra to increase the cover for any hi tech gear, such as cameras, lenses, and laptops that you're taking with you. You never know when your tech gear could be stolen, lost, or damaged on your travels.
  2. The soft ecotourist: is the fastest growing segment.  This traveler is interested in observing wildlife and participating in local culture. Hiking is a favourite activity, and they are less intense than the hard ecotourist. If you fall into this category, World Nomads offers more than 150 activities, sports and experiences. Coverage varies between our two plans- Standard and Explorer – so it’s important to take the time to understand what activities you are likely to do, and the difference between our plans.
  3. The adventure ecotourist: engages in moderate to high-risk activities such as surfingscuba diving, snorkeling, wind surfing, whitewater rafting, and rock climbing. These types are the adrenaline all or nothing types looking for a challenge. If you’re looking for more adventure, you can upgrade to the Explorer Plan, which offers higher benefits and cover for a broader range of activities and sports.

Want more of our plan details?

You can compare our Standard and Explorer plans and prices through getting an instant online quote.

Need some extra info on eco travel?

Here are some World Nomads articles for more inspiration and information around sustainable travel practices:

About World Nomads

World Nomads polices are designed by travelers for travelers to provide simple and flexible travel insurance. Featuring coverage for more than 150 activities, quotes are fast, free and you can do it all online at www.worldnomads.com. All of the information we provide about travel insurance is a brief summary only. It does not include all terms, conditions, limitations, exclusions and termination provisions of the travel insurance plans described. Coverage may not be available for residents of all countries, states or provinces. Please carefully read your policy wording for a full description of coverage.

Travel insurance tip: to have cover for a higher level adventure sport or activity, you may need to add it to your policy or select a plan with more benefits/coverage when you buy and pay the extra premium, depending on your Country of Residence. Remember, you can’t upgrade your coverage after you buy, so it’s important to get this right on the first go.

VIDEO: How can I give back when I buy my travel insurance?

Learn more about how you can give back to the places you visit with a small donation by watching this video.

True Claims Stories

  • Never travel without insurance. This was the first time I ever purchased travel insurance and I am so glad I did. A few days into my trip to Spain I twisted my foot heading down to the metro. Thanks to World Nomads I was able to get medical attention in Spain and since, as luck would have it, I had a fracture that required surgery, they got me a flight home the next day. Filing a claim was surprisingly easy and when the claim was finally processed, I was reimbursed for all of my expenses including things like the extra week in the hotel I didn't get to take advantage of.
    L.D.
    U.S. resident in Spain
  • I recently had a serious injury traveling on my own & the team was amazing. Being confused with a brain injury they took care of everything. Claiming was no problem, they were on the phone constantly to see if all was OK. I can't recommend them enough. Absolutely fantastic & l will always travel with World Nomads Insurance. Thanks guys for getting me home safely.
    A.B.
    Australian in Thailand
  • I was bitten by a monkey at the Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur. I went to a nearby clinic and they gave me a rabies shot, antibiotics to take for 4 days, pain medicine, and anti-inflammatory medicine.
    T.R.
    Canadian in Malaysia

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