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Make your holiday more sustainable

Sustainability Expert Charlie Cotton tells us: What YOU can do



CEO & Founder of Ecollective Travel
Published on

13 Jan 2020

Updated on

09 Jul 2021

Make Holiday Sustainable
Charlie Cotton
Charlie Cotton, Founder ecollective
"None of us are perfect, but we all need to start somewhere. Travel can have the power to have such a positive impact on the world but let’s not be naive about some of the negative impacts that can arise from our adventures."

Sustainability expert and founder of ecollective, Charlie Cotton shares his tips of what YOU can do to make your holiday not only amazing but to make sure it also has a positive impact.

Get off the main tourist trail

CHARLIE SAYS: "Go somewhere none of your friends have been and go on an adventure, trust me, you and the family will love it. It also has the added benefit of making sure your holiday has a greater impact on local communities and less of the negatives associated with over-tourism. Give your tour operator the challenge of taking you somewhere that is completely unique."

Ethiopian Wolf Pack

Looking for somewhere a little different?

Check out Sao Tome and Principe or Ethiopia.

Use local companies

CHARLIE SAYS: "Did you know that the UN states that for every $100 spent by a tourist, only $5 stays in the local economy? This is something we can help improve, and when mixed with the fact that some of the best travel experiences are often created by small family-owned local companies, it makes sense to make sure you are buying local. Online booking websites will often not know this information but specialist tour operators, such as Far and Wild will do as they to have a more personal connection with the business they work with so will help you to make choices that put more money back into the local economy."

Naboisho Camp Guide And Children Running

At Far and Wild, wherever possible we use local companies, our guides are local and we choose hotels and lodges that employ local people and work with the local community.

Kerala Sea Food
Kerala sea food

Eat local food

CHARLIE SAYS: "Try local delicacies. When it comes to reducing your own carbon footprint, one of the easiest changes you can make is to make sure you eat what the locals eat. It doesn’t have to be every meal, but it always amazes me how often the hotels we work with tell us that customers want western meals over their local dishes. From a South African bunny chow to a Sri Lankan dosa, get stuck in."

Support conservation

CHARLIE SAYS: "One of the trickier and more complex areas of tourism is animal interactions. There is no doubt that there are travel businesses exploiting animals for profit but on the other end of the scale, if tourism is done right, it can help fund conservation and rehabilitation of endangered species. For example, look at how the gorilla population has increased in Rwanda in the last decade. Stay and book with businesses who are working on the front line to protect these species and their natural habitats. By doing this, we can build sustainable economies that protect rather than capture."

Rhino Ridge Rhino Conservation

Saving the Rhinos

At Far and Wild travel we love Lewa Wilderness, Kenya and Rhino Ridge, South Africa, both of which have been at the forefront of Rhino conservation.

Use air-conditioning wisely

CHARLIE SAYS: "According to Project Drawdown, air conditioning is one of the worst polluters around the world - mainly due to overuse or old technology. The terrible irony that methods of keeping us cool are actually resulting in global warming is not lost on us. When using the air conditioning, ensure to keep doors and windows closed and turn it off when not in the property."

Roho Ya Selous Tent Ext

At Far and Wild, we like 'evening breeze' which is a smarter alternative to air-conditioning.

Both Chinzombo Camp, Zambia and Roho Ya Selous, Tanzania use this.

Support social enterprises

CHARLIE SAYS: "Get involved in social enterprises, from restaurants who help train people from different social backgrounds to hotels who empower gender equality in local schools. There are so many amazing people, doing innovative projects and using business as a power for good. When possible, we encourage you to make sure your spending money makes a difference to those who need it the most."


At Far and Wild we work with Uthandosa in Cape Town who are a unique non-profit and Fair Trade in Tourism accredited organisation which arranges tours to see and support its projects in the townships.

Fly thoughtfully

CHARLIE SAYS: "Flights are huge emitters of CO2 and will no doubt be the highest polluting part of your trip. ecollective are advocating governments to stop giving airlines subsidies and tax flights accordingly but one way we can all make a massive difference as well as improve our holiday is to fly direct. For the sake of saving you time, stress, potential delays and as well as reducing your carbon footprint, it is often worth spending a little bit more."

Be the voice of change

"One thing I would love to see tourists do more of is to question the status quo, especially at luxury hotels. So many businesses have not yet changed old habits; think plastic toiletries, Heineken instead of local beer, fresh towels every day. So many of the businesses want to change and be more sustainable but are scared of complaints and want to stick with the way the luxury hospitality sector has always operated. Don’t be afraid to give your comments and suggestions and be the voice of change!"

01  Twelve  Apostles

At Far and Wild, we love Twelve Apostles, Cape Town, a luxury spa and hotel who follow the mantra reduce, reuse and recycle. It asks its guest to adhere to its 40 water saving activities and reduced its water consumption by over 40%.

We hope this leaves you feeling empowered as to the difference you can make on your holiday!

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