Even before Covid-19 upended our everyday lives and existing systems, many mindful travelers around the world were invested in finding newer, fresher, and more sustainable ways to explore. Now, that re-examination of travel priorities and values has come to the forefront for more and more people.
If the old ways encouraged us to blaze through one bucket-list destination after another, slowing down only to snap photos and little else, the new normal many of us are hoping for is slower, more intentional experiences that give us a deep sense of grounding in a specific place. In the culture of get-your-fix-and-go-home tourism, the nuances of a particular destination, all the things that make it special, tend to get lost.
Online tour operator and green-trip booking platform GreenerVibes was founded by Angela Tendas Mele and Federico Caloisi, and aims to keep said special characteristics from falling through the cracks. “Green travelers” themselves, Angela and Federico were tired of seeing destinations’ particularities pushed to the wayside on so many big-box travel booking platforms. They founded GreenerVibes out of an eagerness — even an ethical imperative — to help travelers understand the special nuances in the destinations they visit, to help the host destinations preserve them in the first place, and to help the planet breathe a little more easily.
Direct connections that make the difference
Touch-and-go travel is unfulfilling to GreenerVibes’ founders, team and typical customers. (They also know just how negatively such “fast” attitudes toward travel can impact host communities, and the planet as a whole). People who book experiences through GreenerVibes aren’t just interested in checking items off a list, but in building long-term relationships with the places they visit and the people they meet. “We think it’s our duty as a tour operator to offer sustainable choices to future travelers,” Angela explains. As such, the GreenerVibes website encourages direct connection with host communities and producers even before you’ve boarded the plane or after you’ve come home.
The GreenerVibes e-commerce portal, for example, allows artisans and producers to list, promote and sell their products directly, fostering personal connections with their clients and getting them excited about their trip (or helping them relive incredible memories after the fact). Recently, GreenerVibes has even introduced “E.xperiences,” a way for travelers or armchair dreamers to virtually connect with Italian makers, craftspeople and producers through masterclasses and videos. Think of it as a little whetting of the appetite for would-be travelers who can’t book the flight just yet, but know Italy is on their list.
When you learn a little more about Angela’s and Federico’s own stories, GreenerVibes’ emphasis on Made in Italy products and passionate people fits neatly into the picture. Partners in life and in business, the duo felt pulled back to their home country after several years abroad gave them renewed appreciation for the riches of the bel Paese, along with a desire to work to conserve those riches. Angela and Federico had a hard-won realization in their time outside Italy: when it comes to tireless commitment — of craftspeople, of producers, of small-business entrepreneurs — there’s really no contest between the bel Paese and the rest of the world. The spirit of Italian “makers” and cultural heritage merchants has buoyed the pair forward in their mission to give back, and to keep Italian traditions alive for future generations.
Just say "no" to impersonal platforms
Italy’s small-business economy and comparatively humane pace of life often organically encourage return visits and sustainable attitudes. But when you’re booking travel experiences from afar for the first time, knowing where to look can be a minefield: there are so many impersonal travel platforms and tour providers on the market, and doing your due diligence and research can be cumbersome, especially if you aren’t fluent in Italian.
Even if you desire more culturally mindful travels through Italy, there’s an unfortunate trend in which “sustainable” or “eco-friendly” experiences can get equated with “uncomfortable” or “inconvenient.” That couldn’t be further from the truth: “There’s no need to compromise on comfort in order to be more sustainable,” Angela says.
The proof is in GreenerVibes’ curated travel packages and its 100-percent-renewable-energy-powered website: the booking experience is easy to navigate, and the experiences offered are all hand-selected by Angela and Federico. They know the producers, hosts, craftspeople and communities that they feature on their platform, inside and out: “We’ve met them personally, we’ve fallen in love with their stories and their dedication, and we’ve created unique tours around them,” Angela emphasizes. In other words? The people at the center of GreenerVibes experiences are not plucked from Google or guidebooks. Instead, they’re hand-culled from Angela’s and Federico’s personal contacts: they’re intensely dedicated to finding, vetting and visiting the most diligent and passionate practitioners of different crafts, and spotlighting them to curious travelers.
It turns out that sustainable travel isn’t just better for the planet and for host communities; it’s also far more fun and fulfilling for individual travelers. GreenerVibes aims to help you save time and energy on research so you can get to your destination and explore it in-depth.
Explore the GreenerVibes website and become part of the community by commenting on their blog posts and connecting with other sustainability-minded travelers.