At EF Gap Year, our Responsible Travel initiatives focus on three main commitments: to protect the environment, respect wildlife, and support the communities we visit. Our culturally immersive programs uphold each of these commitments to work towards a more sustainable world—now, and for years to come.
We’re committed to providing economic, social, and environmental benefits to the communities we visit. Your travel experience with us directly supports local businesses and livelihoods, and along the way, our Tour Directors teach you about the importance of local production and heritage. We collaborate with the communities in which we live, travel, and work to preserve local cultures and encourage sustainability.
Find out how coffee is planted, harvested, and roasted at a coffee plantation in Costa Rica to deepen your understanding of the global coffee trade.
Eat and dance to your heart’s content at a traditional Caribbean dinner and dance lesson in Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic.
Visit a Hmong village in Thailand to learn more from its residents about the traditions, lifestyle, and lore of the Hmong people.
Be respectful and empathetic. No exceptions.
Talk to people from different background. New perspectives = learning. Boom!
Food stand on the street, gooood! Fast food in a mall, baaaad!
Educate yourself about destinations before you go. It makes the experience waaaay better.
Remember that you're a guest in the communities you visit.
We are proud to work with the non-profit organization World Animal Protection to implement animal welfare guidelines throughout all our trips worldwide—because truly experiencing a destination should not mean harming the animals that call it home. We rely on guidance from World Animal Protection and align with the 5 Freedoms of Animal Welfare. All five must be met in order for an activity to meet our standards at EF:
💚 Freedom from hunger and thirst
💚 Freedom from discomfort
💚 Freedom from pain, injury, or disease
💚 Freedom from fear and distress
💚 Freedom to express normal behavior
Protect sea turtles' natural habitats in Costa Rica by helping NGOs rescue their eggs from predators and curious tourists.
Care for at-risk elephants in need of urgent care by helping sanctuaries in Thailand maintain safe, clean, and sustainable living environment for elephants.
Conserve endangered coral reefs in the Dominican Republic and the marine life that depends on them through research, education, and hands-on projects.
Always keep your distance.
Put your food away before selfie-ing.
Never pay for a selfie or visit an animal selfie station.
Try a video to capture the animal's movements.
Smile, you're hanging out with a freaking wild animal!
Be quick, you know, so you can put your phone away and enjoy the moment.
We’re committed to improving the sustainability of our trips by embracing eco-friendly practices, supporting local conservation efforts, reducing and recycling waste, and working with local suppliers to design eco-friendly activities that minimize our footprint.
We are constantly evaluating and improving our experiences to lessen our impact on the environments we visit. EF Gap Year is also proud to be part of EF Education First’s Hello Zero commitment, an initiative to remove all the carbon EF has emitted since its founding in 1965.
Snorkel around Cayo Arena mangrove, an ecoregion in the Dominican Republic that feels like paradise on Earth.
Go sky high as you explore Machu Picchu, the Inca citadel situated 8,000 feet up in the Andes mountains of Peru.
Trek through the Santa Elena Cloud Forest—a Costa Rican rainforest canopy teeming with tropical flora and fauna found nowhere else on Earth.
"Pack reusable straws/water bottles and reef-safe sunscreen."
💚 Monica E.
"Eat plant based/reduce meat consumption!"
💚 Kendall C.
"Take bamboo utensils for street food!"
💚 Jordan W.
"I took a half gallon water jug on my trip that I filled up every day instead of wasting plastic and $$$"
💚 Taylor M.
"Take public transport when available!"
💚 Kendall C.
"Pack reusable containers for your toiletries."
💚 Genna H.
"Bamboo toothbrush & tablet toothpaste is so important!"