Luxury travelling…in an ethical way. How to enjoy luxury without spoiling the destinations

Leggi in italiano 

From glamping to experiential tourism, here are some ways and choices you might have never thought of to enjoy a luxury travel that respects the environment as well as the territory.

This said, the introduction is not that useless: I’ve had quite a number of fairly “plush” trips and experiences either on business or for a special offer, including situations I’ve had the chance to be part of even though I am not (yet) that wealthy.
Moreover, some of my customers do relate perfectly to the industry of “luxury tourism”.

Therefore, I’ve had the chance to see with my own eyes how much this form of tourism leans towards environmental sustainability and the protection of natural resources.

This post aims then to be a starting point to get more feedback from you as well as a list of small tips to be used by those who love travelling in the “luxury” industry but are at the same time interested in well-being and the protection of the places they visit.

I don’t reckon these two things are incompatible, quite the opposite. I’m sure that the ethical luxury benchmark is the new real form of class, against the tacky and showy behaviour of Briatore and friends.

1 – Choose a villa with en suite facilities and related activities instead of a resort. 

Dammusi di Pantelleria

Dammusi di Pantelleria

By dealing with the communications of luxury-oriented companies, I could see that many resorts offering all-inclusive stays have the same cost of high-level villas with garden, swimming-pool and private access to the sea. Yet, all-inclusive resorts have their tourists locked up within golden walls.

Customers choosing for an all-inclusive experience don’t get to know nor interact with local people, besides spending one or maybe a couple of evenings out in some contracted or discounted place. To sum up, resorts don’t redistribute that much wealth in the local areas.

A stay in a villa or masseria, on the contrary, encourages guests to go out and interact with the place. Some Italian and foreign agencies offer customers the possibility to enjoy different activities in luxury villas, according to their interests (yoga, pilates, water gym, chess etc.), but with locals. This helps local economies and small business that will have to go on working regardless of your travel period or needs as a tourist.

2 – Look for experiences (like this) 

Someone may correctly point out that the good thing about an all-inclusive stay is that many activities are actually included, from massages to water gym, papier-mâché classes to appease the kids for a few hours to the tango class to make mom happy.


Yet, these activities are often useful to make time pass quickly, when you’ve got nothing else to do besides relaxing.

Experiential tourism is instead the perfect way to get to know the area by arranging activities with local experts, who will tell you about the history and main features of a place besides suggesting local experiences. Not necessarily on the cultural side, by the way! You can choose to have a street food experience or go and have fun in the dance clubs. Then culture and green tours as well.

3 – Choose your accommodation based on the environmental sustainability of the materials

Many hotels and B&B have by now invested in environmentally friendly solutions for materials and facilities, that is why their average cost is high (a solar installation or a facility with self-sustaining energy are very expensive to build and amortize). Yet, they are the right choice to combine our highly deserved cuddles with an ethical trip.

4 – Have you ever heard of glamping?

pic by jamison mcandie

The blending of the words glamour and camping, which makes it easy to realize that this type of accommodation combines the comfort of a hotel with being in contact with nature and the surrounding environment. A glamping business is often started to offer a “sit back” experience to people who have their own environmental sensitivity and would like to get to know better the local area.

Well, I’d really go for a glamping experience! What about you?


  • Ken Caputo

    I had never heard of glamping, so I Googled it … and the results of the top 10 glamping sites in the US are simply amazing! Now understand, some are not for the budget minded travellor, but I would be a fan of this type of experience! I have never been interested in the inclusive resort as I agree with Sabrina in that you are imprisoned within their Golden gates and are limited to exposure to the culture of the Region. My idea of a ideal trip is one where I am given an overview to an area by a local guide, then left on my own to explore the local culture. The older I get, the roads less traveled are preferable as places to visit. I do not desire ultra-luxury for accommodations, but prefer very clean with very polite and accommodating staff. I would prefer to pay the workers for services and tips for locals, rather than to pay exorbitant prices for name brand hotels. I may look into Airbnb for future travels.

  • Kim

    I love this, as a kid when we travelled we would often stay in resorts but now there are just so many and they are ruining the beauty of the places you visit that for me they have lost their shine. I would much rather visit a new country and experience the life there rather than hide myself away in an all inclusive resort where I never have to leave my 5* comfort. What fun is that?!

  • Aditi

    This is such a great post. I love to travel but I often find my constricted to luxury resorts instead of villas, just thinking of safety and security measure. I also want to do glamping sometime soon, if possible. Thanks for sharing this post.

  • Dometris Holloway

    This sounds interesting. I never actually heard of the turn glamping before I will definitely try this.

  • Via

    I didn’t realise the difference between an resort and a villa. Is that showing how much I have travelled? Probably. But this post is inspiring me to get out more and travel, esp to villas.

  • Ania Travels

    I’ve never been glamping but as I get older it sounds so much more appealing to me than regular camping lol. I also love choosing experiences 🙂

  • London Mumma

    When we travel I always book an apartment or villa, the best way to really enjoy your holiday.

  • Kumin Kueche

    yes, I really would love to go for a glamping experience!! looks so much fun and interesting!!

  • Nayna

    I have never been glamping and I am not a fan of all inclusive as I prefer to go out and explore the place I am staying in and find places to eat that are local and actually give you a feel and experience of the place you are visiting.

  • yannik

    Yeah I think glamping is a thing. Ive even explored Iceland in the snowy winter by tent.
    But I also believe in rental sites like airbnb rather than resorts. However, ive read great thing from the TUI Resorts, they work together with the local environment a lot. Check it out

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