10 Responsible Travel Books to Fuel Your Eco-Wanderlust

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With the implications of the climate crisis and overtourism as amongst the biggest threats to the tourism industry, taking action to minimize the negative impacts of travel while creating pathways for advancing positive impact remain at the forefront of the industry’s priorities. The following books, including guidebooks and journals, address common obstacles to sustainable travel while providing tangible approaches to counteracting environmental threats. In addition, these books offer strategies to design eco-friendly adventures that regenerate ecommunities and the environment while practicing mindfulness while abroad. Because visiting new places can open doors and teach people more about themselves and other cultures, it provides an opportunity to harness the power of travel for good.

1. Overtourism: Lessons for a Better Future

Authored By: Martha Honey and Kelsey Frenkiel 

Publication Date: May 2021 

Before the COVID-19 outbreak brought travel to a halt, overtourism stood as a top concern for the travel industry. Overtourism: Lessons for a Better Future lays out management strategies for addressing the ever-present issue while focusing on serving people and the planet, presenting lessons to keep in mind as travel re-opens. With voices of the travel industry’s key players, such as tourism officials and travel journalists, this book provides strategic approaches to protect the environment and the residents of iconic destinations.

2. Beyond Guilt Trips: Mindful Travel In An Unequal World 

Authored By: Anu Taranath

Publication Date: June 2019

Beyond Guilt Trips takes a deep dive into the politics and ethics that dictate travelers who embark from Western countries, noting the disparity between the idea that travel can broaden our horizons and the difficulties of navigating cultural differences. By exploring ways to lean into discomfort, build connections, and foster respect, Dr. Anu Taranath helps travelers address disturbing emotions while calling for Western travelers’ accountability. This book challenges readers to self-reflect, especially regarding privilege, social justice, and power, relevant to today’s social struggles. 

3. Waking the Sleeping Giant: Unlocking the Hidden Power of Business to Save the Planet 

Authored By: Jake Kheel

Publication Date: April 2021 

Jake Kheel uses Waking the Sleeping Giant to emphasize the power businesses can have in promoting sustainability. Using a case study from his work in the Dominican Republic, Kheel highlights the funding potential businesses can have along with employees’ power to promote individual eco-friendly action. In addition, he argues that building a community of environmental stewardship can bring prosperity, reminding companies of the positive impact of tackling sustainability within their business framework.

4. Go Lightly: Travel Without Hurting the Planet

Authored By: Nina Karnikowski 

Publication Date: January 2021 

This innovative guidebook full of charming graphics and straightforward ideas teaches readers the basics of sustainable travel. Nina Karnikowsi discusses choosing eco-friendly accommodations, finding environmentally friendly activities, and maintaining respect for the local environment. This comprehensive guide to modern travel reminds readers to trek lightly and mindfully travel wherever they may go. 

5. The Transformational Travel Journal 

Authored By: Eric Rupp, Foreword by Phil Cousineau

Publication Date: December 2020 

The Transformational Travel Journal includes interactive pages for mindful and thought-provoking reflection. Throughout this guided journal, Eric Rupp and Phil Cousineau hope to foster an intentional and heart-centric approach to travel by combining philosophies from ancient wisdom and contemporary science. Diving deeper into the pages, travelers will find themselves building a deeper connection with themselves, learning how to stay present amidst new experiences and the environment, and intimately connecting with the natural world.

6. Sustainable Travel: The Essential Guide to Positive Impact Travels

Authored By: Holly Tupen

Publication Date: June 2021 

In Sustainable Travel: The Essential Guide to Positive Impact Travels, Holly Tuppen details ways to experience everywhere from cities to national parks while acting as a force for good throughout the entire travel process. She uncovers the truth about tourism's carbon footprint, how to pick sustainable tour operators, transport providers, and places to stay, and how to engage in regenerative travel experiences, meaning travelers leave a place better than they found it. Notably, 2 percent of proceeds from this book will be donated to the World Land Trust, an international conservation charity.

7. The Sustainable Travel Handbook 

Authored By: Lonely Planet

Publication Date: November 2020 

This digestible handbook provides comprehensive lists of destinations and activities for travelers looking to minimize their environmental impact. From off-the-map regions such as Guyana and Palau to popular spots in Costa Rica, The Sustainable Travel Handbook includes brilliant ideas for sustainable escapades. Moreover, the book details how to find eco-friendly hiking, volunteering, scuba diving, and sustainable safari adventures, outlining the best way to give back through your excursions. 

8.  Travel: Easy Tips for the Eco-friendly Traveller 

Authored By: Juliet Kinsman

Publication Date: May 2021 

Through Travel: Easy Tips for the Eco-friendly Traveller, Juliet Kinsman, an eco-travel journalist, Bouteco founder, and Sustainability Editor at Condé Nast Traveller, gives a step-by-step approach to sustainable travel, reminding readers that eco-friendly living does not have to mean cutting out all pleasures. Kinsman covers travel basics, noting how to keep a sustainable mindset when packing, choosing which transportation to take, and engaging in on-the-go activism. Her tips and tricks provide relatable advice to people looking for tactics to travel through a kinder lens.

9. Slow Travel Movement 

Authored By: Penny Watson

Publication Date: December 2019 

In Slow Travel Movement, Penny Watson reminds us to evaluate our fast-paced lives and use travel as an opportunity to reconnect with our inner selves. She highlights the importance of using travel as an opportunity to gain clarity and avoid potentially harmful quick-fix solutions that arise while on adventures. Filled with stunning images of travel destinations, Slow Travel Movement paints a beautiful picture of what it means to travel thoughtfully, slowly, and with respect for the earth’s beautiful places.

10. Sustainable Escapes

Authored By: Lonely Planet 

Publication Date: April 2020 

Sustainable Escapes provides readers with a comprehensive list of eco-friendly resorts and lodges, making it easier to find spaces supporting the environment. From hotels in the lush vertical gardens of Singapore to living with nomads in Mongolia, Lonely Planet’s list outlines remarkable worldwide experiences. Divided into categories of Nature, Relaxation, Culture, Urban, and Learning, you are sure to find accommodations that meet your travel needs.


Hannah Morrison is a travel writer and UC Santa Barbara graduate passionate about sustainability, wellness, and adventure. She aspires to use her work to inspire meaningful connections with people and the environment. Connect with her on Instagram and LinkedIn