Responsible travel

Over three decades, we’ve helped millions of travellers to make deep connections to the places they visit, and to come away with a greater sense that we’re sharing this world.

In 2011 we made it all official by signing up with Sustainable Travel International - a non-profit organisation helping travel providers support environmental conservation and protect cultural heritage – to take part in their rigorous Eco-Certification Programme. Endorsed by the United Nations’ Global Sustainable Tourism Council, the programme tracks the good stuff we’ve done so far, examines our environmental footprint, and highlights the gaps we must fill in order to gain the highest accreditation by 2015. 

Our goal is to earn the full five-stars by 2015, and we’ll be audited by an external body along the way.  No excuses. No shortcuts.

Find out how you can do your bit to travel more responsibly >

STA Travel has embarked on a responsible travel journey with Planeterra; anon-profit organisation built on the belief that people, and the planet, should be as important as profit in the travel business. Planeterra has been supporting local people to develop their communities and conserve their cultural heritage since 2003, and they have staff on the ground to make sure it all happens. The 80+ volunteer projects they nurture benefit greatly from your helpful hands, and what you gain from making a positive impact is seriously priceless. Pick up our Travel with Purpose brochure to view our entire range of responsible travel options; it’s packed full of volunteer and voluntour options the world over. 
Fresh direction for a Tsunami-devestated village...
On December 26 in 2004, the Asian tsunami smashed into a little island in Southern Thailand called Koh Phra Thong, destroying the main village and killing 75 people. A new village was built in its place, and the tsunami survivors – who once relied on fishing for their livelihood – are turning to a sustainable model of tourism to provide income. To help them achieve their goal, staff and customers of STA Travel have together raised US$80 000 to develop a community centre and tourism training facility. Locals and volunteers use the centre to learn about turtle and mangrove conservation, the women’s handicraft group has set up a little shop in there, and the village children are learning to read and write in their new colourful classroom. 

With your help, here’s what we’re doing so far to meet our goals...

  • We offer over 80 local projects worldwide, working with children, communities, animals and conservation
  • We have pledged to donate £600 000 to our major non-profit volunteering partner Planeterra over five years to develop their volunteering projects
  • We give our staff the opportunity to experience Planeterra volunteering projects first-hand
  • We support a Community Giving programme for staff to lend a hand to local charities


  • With a combined donation of £48 500 from STA Travel customers and staff, we are developing a community centre and tourism training facility in the tsunami-devastated island of Koh Phra Thong, Southern Thailand
  • Our customers and staff are raising £35 000 to build a hospital ward for children in Kikuyu, Kenya, to restrict their exposure to disease and make their hospital stay a happier one
  • Our customers and staff are raising £6000 to install rain catchment systems in the Bocas Del Toro islands of Panama, providing safe drinking water to the indigenous Kuna people
  • We match customer and staff donations towards our chosen projects (up to £18 000 annually). That’s dollar for dollar to double the impact.

  • We track and measure our total operations-based carbon footprint.
  • We recycle brochures, paper, cardboard and ink cartridges in all UK branches and offices.
  • We print our brochures on chlorine-free paper sourced from fully sustainable forests.
  • We replace business travel with webinars when face to face meetings aren't necessary. 
  • We choose to work with suppliers with genuine sustainability awards and accolades.
  • We have an army of ‘Green Plan’ champions to promote staff awareness of responsible travel and green workplace practices.

Find out how you can do your bit to travel more responsibly >