Simple Ways to Travel Sustainably

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After being shut in our homes for a year and seeing the world begin to repair itself, we’ve had the opportunity to reflect upon our impact as travelers and whether it’s a positive one. Moving forward, people are thinking more about sustainability and how to travel more eco-consciously. Being a sustainably-conscious traveler doesn’t mean vowing never to take another flight or only pitching a tent in the middle of nowhere. It’s all about balance, reducing the negative impacts of tourism, and maximizing the benefits for the communities, ecosystems, and individuals. Travelling creates more empathy, understanding, and passion for protecting the world we enjoy.

But where do you start? Sometimes it can feel overwhelming when you start to consider calculating your carbon footprint and carbon offsetting. Fortunately, there are some small simple things you can do to start making a positive impact on every step of your journey.

Choosing A Destination

If you’re still deciding where to go and don’t have your heart set on a particular place, then considering the sustainability of the destination can factor into that decision process. Picking places that are committed to sustainability not only supports their efforts but also signals to the world what kind of initiatives are important to travelers.

standing in front of the beautiful view of lush green mountains nad blue lake in the Azores Portugal

[Photo credit: Ann via Shared Adventures- read about her trip to the Azores here]

What to Bring

Packing consciously is an easy way to change your carbon emissions. Normally when we travel our single-use plastic consumption tends to climb, but there are a few simple things you can do to minimize that effect.

open suitcase with camera, clothes and beachy hat next to some green leaves

[Photo Credit: STIL via Unsplash]

  • Packing Light: limiting the weight you carry on the plane/train/car reduces the amount of fuel used. Bring a simple color palette that you can easily mix & match!
  • Reusables: This is where you can really cut down on single-use plastics. Plus, travel versions of these items can be collapsible so they won’t take up much space in your bag!
    • Take a water bottle, metal or bamboo utensils & containers for snacks
    • Bring a large tote bag for all your shopping
    • Decant shampoos & soaps from your big bottles at home or go solid with shampoo bars that can go in your carry-on!
  • Reef-Safe Sunscreen: Many of the sunscreens available have chemicals that harm the delicate ocean reefs, so be sure to choose a reef-safe sunscreen that will protect the local eco-system!
  • E-Sim: See if your phone is e-sim compatible and use the electronic option instead of getting a one-time-use sim card when you land.

Getting There

Sometimes you need to take a plane to get to the other side of the world. While flying is well-documented for its high carbon emissions, when your destination is thousands of miles away (or if you’re seeing multiple destinations in one trip) there are still a few things you can do to reduce your footprint.

  • Non-stop flights: One-quarter of airplane emissions come from landing and taking off, so cutting your number of connections makes a big difference. A recent study found that “On average, non-stop routes reduced carbon emissions by roughly 100 kg/person relative to the next best connecting option”.  Remember that a non-stop flight is different from a direct flight and only a trip that doesn’t land mid-journey will be effective here.
  • Take the train: Once you get to your international destination, using a train to get from place to place is extremely effective. Generally, even diesel trains produce 84% less carbon than flying. According to the European Environment Agency, taking the Eurostar from London to Paris instead of a plane cuts up to 90% of the CO2 emissions! While there are several factors to consider including distance, type of train, and the energy it uses, trains are nearly always the best option over short to medium distances.

While You’re There- Think Local

Sustainability isn’t just about the environment and nature, it’s also about the people and the cultures. Being thoughtful and respectful of the locals and their homes will not only preserve the destinations you love but you’ll also forge deeper connections.

Getting Around

  • Walk, bike and take public transport! Many cities have bike-shares available to get you from place to place.
  • If you need to rent a car to explore the countryside choose a small electric car. It reduces emissions and makes it easier to drive those narrow country roads.


  • Choose experiences and tours from locals that immerse you in the culture and put money back into the community. Try a cooking or craft class!
  • Do a little research into the local customs and traditions, learn a little bit of the language, and increase the positive interactions you have with the local people.
happy man cooking with fire

[Photo Credit: Marissa via Shared Adventures- read about their escape to Thailand (and this Thai Cooking Class) here]

an overhead view of a table with meat, cheeses and breads in bologna Italy

[Photo Credit: Alicia via Shared Adventures- read about their escape to Italy and how they stumbled upon this small restaurant in Bologna here]


  • Support community artisans and vendors when souvenir shopping. Go for the hand-crafted unique pieces over buying too many ‘trinkets.’
  • Order food like a local- it’s more likely to be in season, fresh, and locally sourced. Often, the best meals are from locally owned hot spots rather than a big chain

Travel Slowly

  • Take your time and focus on just a few places – get to know the favorite local spots, contribute more to the local economy, and find those hidden gems that can only be found by stumbling upon them.
  • Travel in the off-season. It’s tempting to go to the most talked-about spots, but they can suffer from over-tourism. If you have your heart set on seeing a specific popular destination, go in the shoulder season to help minimize overcrowding

Luckily it’s becoming easier and easier to be sustainably conscious when we travel. Implementing these simple ideas will already make a big difference. If you’re excited to focus on sustainability in your travels let us know! We can help you find the perfect environmentally-friendly hotels and local experiences to really round out your sustainable vacation.

Preparing to Travel Again

We’ve been living with the COVID-19 pandemic for a year now, and it’s clear that we’re all experiencing it differently. Some people have already had the vaccine and are ready to get back out into the world sooner rather than later. Others are still maintaining a stricter, tighter “pandemic pod” and waiting for numbers to decrease before they can even contemplate loosening those boundaries. 

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Wherever you are on that spectrum, you are probably starting to wonder when you might be able to travel again, where you might be able to go, and what’s going to happen when those floodgates open and everyone rushes to make up for lost time. The answer to that last question is pretty easy, actually.  When we reach the tipping point where the general public feels travel is safe again, there’s going to be a tidal wave. A little bit of advance planning now will help you stay ahead of that curve!

To help with that, we’ve put together our suggestions for where you can travel now, where you can most likely travel later this year, and why you should do some advance planning now for bucket list trips for 2022.

I am already packed.

If you’re ready to get out of here right now (or within the next couple of months), your best bets are Hawaii, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Costa Rica. Some testing requirements are in place (both in the various destinations and here in the US for your return), but the rules are easily complied with.

(Road to Hana, Hawaii – Photo Credit: Annie via Shared Adventures Travel)

a swim-up bar at a glistening blue pool in mexico
lush green mountains of Hawaii an a blue bay on the road to hana

Resorts are maintaining strict safety protocols. Occupancy is at reduced capacity. And there are warm breezes and sandy beaches ready to make you forget your pandemic problems.

(El Dorado Maroma, Riviera Maya, Mexico – Photo Credit: Annie via Shared Adventures Travel)

I’ll be ready by the fall.

If you need a few more months to get vaccinated and feel comfortable about making travel plans, that’s okay. There are some destinations that are still working out their plans too, and they should be ready for you by the Fall. I would expect much of Europe to open back up to Americans by Sept/Oct. French Polynesia, which has already been welcoming tourists but is on a brief pause right now, should also be back up to speed before the fall. And you might even see cruises begin again by then.

If you want to snag an overwater bungalow in Bora Bora, or a villa in Tuscany, you can start planning now to stay ahead of the curve.

(Top:Passau, Germany – Photo Credit: Annie via Shared Adventures Travel)

(Bottom: Moorea French Polynesia – Photo Credit: Meagan via Shared Adventures Travel)

I need to plan something BIG for next year!

If you’ve had to postpone big celebrations in 2020 and 2021, you’re not alone. There’s going to be a LOT of people looking to celebrate milestone birthdays and anniversaries in 2022, and the big “bucket list” trips are going to be popular. Things like African safaris, European river cruises, Machu Picchu, the Galapagos, and Australia/New Zealand always require some advance planning, but that will be even more true now. 

(Kapama Private Game Reserve, South Africa – Photo Credit: Annie via Shared Adventures Travel)

It’s never too early to start thinking about your timing, wish list, and budget so that you’re ready to take advantage of any special pricing offered THIS year for big trips in 2022.

(Sydney, Australia – Photo Credit: Liz Picurro via @following_liz)

Please be sure to share even your tentative plans with us now so that we can keep an eye out for sales and promotions that you might be interested in. The world is slowly opening back up to us, and when you’re ready to take advantage of that, we’re ready to help!

Travel Trends for 2021 and Beyond

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Travel interest is up, vacation inquiries are increasing, and it’s clear that people are feeling hopeful. As virus numbers decline, and vaccination percentages increase, we’ll see more and more people getting back out into the world. But travel will no doubt look different than it has before.

We’ll likely be wearing masks, taking tests, and ready to show proof of vaccinations for the next year or two. But what else will be different about the travel landscape? This question is top of mind right now for travelers, those of us in the travel industry, and anyone in the media who covers travel trends. We’ve done a quick survey of what the various “in-the-know” sources are predicting, and here are the trends that seem to be a common thread:

A Focus on Hygiene, Health & Wellness

The pandemic underlined the need for excellent cleanliness standard, and travel suppliers across the board stepped up their protocols in 2020 to ensure our safety. Refreshingly, it looks like health will continue to be a priority for these companies. Hotels are improving and expanding their contactless check-in. Airlines will likely continue their thorough cleaning schedules. Both are elevating staff training and using improved cleaning tools. How companies demonstrate their commitment to our health and safety will be a top priority when deciding who to travel with in the future.

This past year has also brought increased stress levels and a host of mental health challenges. We expect that 2021 travelers will use their vacations to focus on relaxation, rejuvenation and restoring a sense of well-being. From hosting themed wellness retreats, to providing more outdoor experiences, hotels and resorts are committed to finding ways to take care of guests’ mental and physical health.

Nature & Space

aerial Salish lodge and spa sitting atop the large waterfall in washington state

The classic road-trip vacation gained huge popularity in 2020 as a way to enjoy nature, and still have some control over your health bubble. The need for wide-open spaces remains high among those considering where to travel in the coming year. Remote locations, of course, make it easier to social distance, but beyond that, breathing in some fresh air and reconnecting with nature does wonders for your mental and physical health.

( Photo Credit: Salish Lodge & Spa – read more about the Lodge and other luxury remote resorts here!)

a couple sitting on the back terrace of their overwater bungalow with private jacuzzi and direct access to the sea in the Maldives

Remote locations are only part of this trend. There is also a growing interest in single-residence accommodations. Everything from private villas, and stand-alone casitas to unique spaces like tree-houses or over-water bungalows. Single-residence spaces add an element of exclusivity and luxury to the travel experience, and also make it easier to maintain distance between groups. Many resorts and hotels have committed to offering more stand-alone lodging options, along with private excursions and experiences. Mixing wellness and privacy with much-needed fresh air, places outside of the big tourist hubs will be the top destinations of 2021.

(Photo Credit: via Unsplash)

Green & Sustainable Travel

The impact of over-tourism on delicate ecosystems has been an ongoing concern and, with the COVID lockdowns, a window of opportunity opened for local governments to take action towards better conservation. Moving forward, you’re likely to see destinations encouraging you to try new and different sights or experiences, rather the perennial favorites that attract big crowds. They’ll be making better use of their spaces and spreading out the visitor traffic. Iceland, for example, is opening a new “Sky Lagoon” to give visitors a second option to the oft-crowded Blue Lagoon. Destinations are also encouraging people to slow down, stay a bit longer, and explore and connect with the location in a deeper way. This is the perfect opportunity for travelers to explore unknown corners and hidden gems. Locals are taking this chance to think about how to raise the quality of tourism, and travelers are looking for companies and destinations that are eco-conscious and are making a demonstrably positive impact on the environment.

Local & Community Based Travel

Being forced to slow down and stay inside has certainly taught us to appreciate the little things in life. There is a new focus on community (at home and abroad), and travelers are increasingly looking for unique, authentic, local experiences.

local Thai folk with honeymoon couple

We expect continued interest in things like taking a cooking class, picking up a local craft, or learning more about the region from a local perspective. Personalized experiences that engage with the community, and that feed profits back into the local economy, will take priority.

(Photo Credit: Marissa via Annie’s Escapes – you can read all about Marissa & Derek’s Thailand honeymoon escape here!)

Companies like Hyatt and Hilton have created programs to support their local communities, and others are likely to follow. There is a real sense of caring and support from future travelers. And they are holding companies equally accountable for their impact on and connection to the surrounding local community.

Our overall sense is that the way we travel in the future may see us traveling more slowly, with more purpose and consciousness. Focusing on our own physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing as well as that of the places and communities we visit. If you are excited to talk about these trends or to start planning a new adventure let us know! We can’t wait to see what the future brings!

Top 5 Spots for a Minimoon in the U.S.

5 Romantic U.S. destinations for a perfect minimoon Pin
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Right now, we’re seeing couples shifting their wedding dates around, scaling things down to “micro-weddings” to comply with COVID regulations, and postponing the big honeymoon until international travel feels safer and more sure. The perfect solution to all this uncertainty and change? Take a minimoon! Minimoons tend to be shorter, closer to home, and more affordable than a full-scale honeymoon, but they still give you something super exciting to look forward to after the wedding where you and your new spouse still get a chance to celebrate, relax and soak up the newlywed glow for a few days. When choosing a location, you want somewhere that speaks to who you are as a couple, full of romantic scenery, authentic charm, luxurious pampering and some great local cuisine. So where are the best minimoon destinations?

Here are our Top 5 U.S. spots:

Charleston, South Carolina

Hidden gardens, horse-drawn carriages, and romantic scenery everywhere you look! With genteel mansions and a dynamic food scene, Charleston oozes southern charm and hospitality. Cobblestone streets, oak-lined avenues, beautiful magnolias, and cute local boutiques greet your every turn in the historic downtown. You’ll feel the southern hospitality as you go on romantic walks along the waterfront and share incredible meals — all the while steeped in history.

[Photo Credit: Andrew Shelley via Unsplash]

Things to Do: Wander down the historic King Street, soak up the sun and the sea at Waterfront Park, and enjoy the colorful buildings of Rainbow Row. Take a daytrip to see Sullivan’s Island or the . Angel Oak. Pamper yourselves at the Belmond spa or take a romantic walk through the Cypress Gardens and soak in The Notebook vibes. 

[Photo Credit: Darlene via Unsplash]

Where to Stay
The Elliott House Inn– A small, intimate bed and breakfast style boutique hotel. Located on Queen Street, just steps away from the main downtown attractions, but it offers a lush private inner courtyard to relax away from it all. 
Hotel Bennett *– A big, modern and centrally located hotel. The Hotel Bennet features a rooftop bar with sweeping views of the city, a sleek champagne bar, and a perfect pool. 
Belmond Charleston Place * – The height of luxury, this hotel is famous for its enticing spa. It offers guests a rooftop pool, spacious suites, luxury dining, and top-range amenities. 

*Our clients receive special perks/amenities at these properties, including daily breakfast, resort credit, upgrades, and more

What to Eat: 
Charleston is a foodie’s paradise! Classic Lowcountry cuisine, amazing barbecue, fresh seafood, farm-fresh veggies, and innovative kitchens — Charleston has it all.

Romantic Dinner:  Charleston Grill, Circa 1886, or the intimate and historic Chez Nous.
Casual Dining:  Lewis BBQ or classic Lowcountry food from Bertha’s Kitchen. 

Bar Harbor, Maine

With fresh crisp air and jaw-dropping scenery, Bar Harbor is perfect for minimooners who enjoy the outdoors. With a rugged coastline and the Acadia National Park, this serene bayside town encourages you to connect with nature and with each other. Visiting Bar Harbor provides an outdoorsy escape without traveling too far off the beaten path.

[Photo Credit: Liz Picurro via @following_liz]

woman looking over the rocky bay and evergreen pine trees along the Ocean Path of Acadia National Park Maine

What to Do: Exploring nature is the primary activity in Bar Harbor. There are plenty of hiking trails for all abilities. Pump up the adrenaline with rock climbing in Acadia, kayaking in the harbor, or a tour in a biplane. Head out to sea with a sunset sail or a whale watching tour where you’re likely to see humpbacks, finbacks, or minke whales plus a few puffins! Take it slow with an oceanside drive or snuggle up on a blanket on top of Cadillac Mountain to watch the sunrise and the stunning views! 

[Photo Credit: Annie via Annie’s Escapes]

Where To Stay:
Harborside Hotel– Richly designed with an upscale feel, this luxury hotel is ready to pamper you.
Balance Rock Inn- With a quintessential Maine style, it’s a perfect blend of hotel and bed & breakfast. This boutique hotel offers you spacious rooms, a heated pool, and beautiful views.  
West Street Hotel- Modern and sleek, West Street features a clean-cut nautical theme. With crisp rooms, and a stunning view from their rooftop infinity pool. 

What to Eat: 
Bar Harbor is famous throughout the state for its lobster and seafood fresh off the boat. Overall, dining in Bar Harbor tends towards a more casual atmosphere. But don’t forget to make a reservation at the stunning Jordan Pond House for tea, popovers, and a beautiful lakeside view!

Local Specialty: Try a classic full lobster from The Chart Room or a delicious lobster roll from Thurston’s Lobster Pound.
Seaside Views: Bistro on Eden or The Reading Room
Casual Dining: McKay’s Public House or The Atlantic Brewing Company for upscale pub fare. 

Nantucket, Massachusetts

This tiny island, a one-hour ferry ride from Cape Cod, features pristine beaches, a sparkling harbor, and timeless coastal charm. Walking around the picturesque waterfront, you can enjoy the unique combination of fascinating colonial history plus high-end shops, boutiques and galleries. If you want to slow down and enjoy a classic New England experience, Nantucket is the place for you!

[Photo Credit: Rusty Watson via Unsplash]

What to Do:  Enjoy fine-sand beaches with small waves, steal a kiss from the top of the historic lighthouse, raise a glass at Cisco Brewers, and visit several small nautical museums. Get some fresh air biking the scenic route to Siasconset. Head out onto the ocean with a sunset paddleboard tour, whale watching tour, or fishing charter! Finally, enjoy some vintage or antique shopping at any of the small country stores.

[Photo Credit: Benjamin Rascoe via Unsplash]

Where to Stay:
White Elephant Hotel- with a large variety of accommodation from suites to cozy cottages, this luxury landmark hotel doesn’t disappoint.
76 Main- With a modern bright and bold décor, this smaller boutique hotel has an air of sophisticated luxury.
Carlisle House Inn– Historic and charming, this renovated whaling mansion is located in the old historic district. With authentic decor and spacious rooms, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time. 
Wauwinet- Luxury and escape is the focus of this waterfront property. With old-world charm and private beaches, the Wauwinet is perfect for romantic seclusion away from the center of town. 

What to Eat: 
Famous for its fresh seafood, Nantucket focuses on local seasonal foods, classic upscale dining, and traditional treats! So don’t forget to stop by Aunt Leah’s Fudge for 31 flavors of a delicious dessert!

Elegant & Romantic Dinner: award-winning Toppers or American Seasons’ creative menu.
Fresh seafood: Right on the waterfront try the glamorous CRU Oyster Bar or the traditional Straight Wharf.

Key West, Florida

A free-spirited town with crystalline warm water- this is for the classic beach minimooners. Great restaurants, boutique shops, and funky bars combine with sandy beaches and stunning sunsets to create the perfect tropical getaway. Removed from the mainland, you can enjoy the relaxed beachy vibes. Warm water, nightlife, and the best key lime pie in the world? This is a minimoon you’ll never want to leave.

[Photo Credit: Brian Urso via Unsplash]

What to Do: The focus is definitely on the water in Key West. Take a champagne sunset cruise, snorkel in the shallow waters, catch a birds-eye view of the epic horizon while parasailing, or jump on a jet ski tour around the island! For those who like to stay dry, consider a beach picnic in the state park, wandering the botanical gardens, or the grounds of the Truman Little White House. Relaxation is key so be sure to take some time to chill by the pool or book a couples massage on the beach! 

[Photo Credit: Julien Borean via Unsplash]

Where to Stay: 
Sunset Key Cottages– Splurge for a private island experience. Pastel buildings, lush gardens, and a beachy décor greet you on this luxury property.  
Southernmost Beach Resort– Colonial and Victorian buildings accent the lush grounds. Located right on the water with beautiful ocean views, you’ll enjoy the serenity and spacious resort feel. 
Eden House- A quirky and cute boutique hotel located in a traditional Key West house fringed by palm trees.
H20 Suites– An intimate hotel, each room is a spacious suite available with private plunge pools. With luxurious and sophisticated décor, they even have a rooftop pool for the best views. 

What to Eat: 
With heavy Cuban and Caribbean influence you’ll find good-sized portions full of flavor and fresh seafood. But Key West’s real specialty is their decadent desserts! Be sure to try a slice of the local specialty: Key Lime Pie! 

Elegant Romance: Café Marquesa with a seasonal menu, Tempt with their modern craft cocktail bar, or Latitudes on the private island Sunset Key.
Upscale Caribbean-American: Try Louie’s Backyard or Hot Tin Roof which also boasts amazing sunset views. 
Something Sweet: Grab a sweet brunch on a tranquil garden patio at Croissants de France or enjoy an after-dinner treat at Better Than Sex Desserts

Scottsdale, Arizona

With over 300 days of sunshine, 51 golf courses, 50 resort-spas and a pedestrian downtown full of trendy restaurants, Scottsdale is the perfect desert oasis. Escape the winter blues to enjoy exploring the dramatic desert landscape, or simply being pampered by the pool with a cocktail in hand. Arizona has a focus on wellness, healing, and relaxation making it a great place to destress after the wedding and focus on each other.

[Photo Credit:Lisa Campbell via Unsplash]

What to Do: Enjoy the unique desert landscape by taking one of the many hiking trails in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, or soak in breath-taking views of the valley from the top of Pinnacle Peak. Soar even higher with a birds-eye view from a hot air Balloon! And don’t forget the main pastime: Golf. Whether you’re an old pro or new to the game you’ll have to try out at least one of the world-renowned courses which have rugged mountains and unspoiled desert as their backdrop.

[Photo Credit: Sheri Hooley via Unsplash]

Where to Stay: 
Four Seasons Scottsdale at Troon North- At the base of Pinnacle Peak, the Four Seasons is a stylish resort, spa, and golf club.
Fairmont Scottsdale Princess *- Built in a Spanish colonial style, with lovely private casitas. With fine dining, private patios, and six beautiful pools to choose from you may never want to venture out of the resort! 
Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort *- Built into the side of Camelback Mountain this was originally a tennis resort. They still have plenty of sporting activities but the focus here has become luxury, spa, and pampering with stunning views to match. 
Royal Palms Resort and Spa *- The Royal Palms focuses on the romantic. They have a signature “romantication” experience for couples’ getaways and hidden “lovers corners” dotted around the property.

*Our clients receive special perks/amenities at these properties, including daily breakfast, resort credit, upgrades, and more

What to Eat: 
You’ll find a huge variety of creative menus, local wines, and coffee culture in Scottsdale. Latin and Mexican inspired southwest cuisine features seasonal ingredients, bold flavors, and the all-important grill. 

Luxury Romance & Wine: Try Lons or Café Monarch for an intimate candlelit dinner.
Casual Southwest: Arcadia Farms Café and the Citizen Public House focus on country-style settings, and home-cooked meals. 
Latin Flavors: The Mission and Deseo will give you the best in modern, bold Latin flavors. 

Planning a wedding can be stressful, and taking time after the wedding to relax and enjoy each other before real life sets in is important. If you’re inspired to treat yourselves to a state-side minimoon let us know! We can’t wait to help you find the perfect experience to start your new life together!

You provided excellent guidance for us. I appreciated that you really had us think about what was most important to us when we were selecting the right cruise – and not to totally focus on what other people had to say. THANK YOU for helping to make this a memorable trip for our family! It really was a trip of a lifetime!

Clare and Mark (family cruise to Alaska)

The level of service we experienced was out of this world (and we did NOT make it easy on Ann). We weren’t quite sure where we wanted to go, when we would be able to go, or what “vibe” we were going for. After asking us some key questions (what we liked, didn’t like, why, etc.) Ann helped us narrow down our trip details and planned the honeymoon of our dreams. She helped book some of our excursions, answered some emergency questions while abroad and was always available/willing to help. I think it’s safe to say we won’t be using anyone else for future travel planning – Ann is a rockstar!

Carli (Italy and Spain)