JoAnna Haugen

JoAnna Haugen is an award-winning writer, speaker, and solutions advocate who has worked in the travel and tourism industry for more than a decade. She is also founder of Rooted, a solutions platform at the intersection of sustainable tourism, social impact, and storytelling. Its mission is to responsibly document, support, celebrate, and share community-focused sustainable travel initiatives and help others do the same.

She has written hundreds of articles for dozens of print and online publications including Popular Science, Mongabay, Fast Company, Backpacker, BBC Travel, Delta Sky, American Way, Sustainable Brands, and As a commercial travel writer, she wrote a travel column for a popular daily newspaper, spoke at conferences about the travel writing industry, and served as an expert on radio shows about travel-related topics. Today, she is sought after as a speaker, podcast guest, and workshop facilitator on topics related to sustainable and regenerative tourism; responsible storytelling, communications, and travel writing; social impact; and slow travel. In 2021, she was named a winner in the storytelling category of Newsweek’s Future of Travel Awards.

JoAnna has served as an editor for several travel consumer and trade publications including Travel Weekly, AdventureTravelNews, and Matador Network. JoAnna is currently an editor for the International News Media Association and worked as the alumni news editor for the National Peace Corps Association for five years. She has also worked as a writer and editor for USAID-funded projects.

Throughout her career, JoAnna has served in various editorial capacities for books including The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Barefoot Running, DK Eyewitness Los Angeles Travel Guide, DK Eyewitness Top Ten Las Vegas, Maximize Your Social, and Maximizing LinkedIn for Sales and Social Media Marketing. She has worked on copywriting and content marketing projects with several international brands including Uber, jetBlue, MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment, Rodale, and Marriott Bonvoy.

JoAnna is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists, the Adventure Travel Trade Association, Wanderful Creator Community, Impact Travel Alliance, and the American Society of Journalists and Authors. She is also a media advisor for the Transformational Travel Council and a volunteer mentor through Women in Travel. Additionally, she is a two-time recipient of the Nevada Arts Council grant.

JoAnna graduated summa cum laude from Washington State University’s Honor College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations and a double minor in international business and German. Additionally, she has a certification in applied social entrepreneurship for professionals from Columbia Business School. A returned Peace Corps volunteer, international election observer, and intrepid traveler, JoAnna is a serial expatriate and has lived in several countries.

info Subjects


Nature & Environment


Social impact, sustainability / regenerative practices

notepad Skills

  • Conference coverage
  • Communications strategy
  • Editing
  • Feature writing
  • Op-Ed
  • Conference/meeting coverage

notepad Writing Credits

Nearly 1,000 articles in 60+ publications including Popular Science, Mongabay, Fast Company, Backpacker, BBC Travel, Delta Sky, American Way, Sustainable Brands,, Adventure Travel News, TravelAge West, Atlas Obscura, Shareable, Travel Weekly, Stanford Social Innovation Review, American Way, Orange County Register, Delta Sky, Modern Luxury, CNNGo, USA Today, and Western Art & Architecture.

notepad Book Credits

  • Beyond the Bucket List (contributor, 2021)
  • Advice from the Ocean: Unexpected Paths into Marine Conservation (contributor, 2020)
  • DK Eyewitness Los Angeles Travel Guide (fact checker, 2014)
  • Maximize Your Social (developmental editor, 2013)
  • DK Eyewitness Top Ten Las Vegas (fact checker, 2013)
  • Maximizing LinkedIn for Sales and Social Media Marketing (lead editor, 2011)
  • The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Barefoot Running (editor, 2011)

star Awards, Honors, Appointments

Newsweek’s Future of Travel winner – storytelling category (2021)

Two-time recipient of the Nevada Arts Council grant

Selected Work

As author, unless indicated otherwise.

Paddling for peace: Meet the ex-rebels turned Colombian rafting guides

After over 50 years of fighting, Colombia’s FARC rebels signed a peace deal in 2017. Thanks to the help of the UN, some of them have turned their attention to other ventures—like becoming professional rafting guides and World Championship competitors.


A Sustainable Future for Tourism Requires Kicking the Bucket (List)

Bucket lists are powerful sales and marketing tools — and applying the concept to “must-see” destinations or activities is a natural fit. But that model is changing; and with the industry’s shift in focus from quantity to quality, it’s time to rethink the travel-focused bucket list.


There’s a Backlash Against Flying: Is the Adventure Travel Industry Ready for Its Impact?

Given that flying is inherently folded into the tourism industry — and that international arrivals make up a significant portion of many destinations’ tourism dollars — those working in adventure travel should, at the very least, be aware of the landscape. Further, it’s time the industry seriously considers how it will adapt in a way that both mitigates its ecological footprint and ensures a healthy tourism future.


Food is biggest stumbling block on zero-waste nature tour

A week-long zero-waste trip led by Natural Habitat Adventures through Yellowstone National Park diverted 50.9 pounds of waste — 99% of all the on-trip waste.


What Do We Mean When We Say "Local?"

As the tourism industry turns its focus toward local experiences, it needs to be mindful not to homogenize people and communities.


Generic Geotagging: An Opportunity for Influencers to Rethink Their Impact

In the spirit of low-impact travel, people have long been asked to “take only pictures, leave only footprints,” but now those who are taking photos are being asked to leave their geographical tags behind as well.


Seed by seed, a women’s collective helps reforest Brazil’s Xingu River Basin

Members of the Yarang Women’s Movement in Brazil have collected 3.2 tons of seeds over the past decade.


With Aggressive Expansion, Too Good to Go Doubles Down on Commitment to Address Food Waste

Beyond being the world’s largest business-to-consumer marketplace for surplus food, Too Good to Go is a movement. Not only does it offer a win-win-win solution for food, people and the planet — the company seeks to inspire and empower individuals around the world to take action against food waste.


Preserving Ukraine’s Soviet Past, One Mosaic At a Time

Across Ukraine, there are hundreds of works of art like this one. Big, bold, and bright, they convey variations of the communist propaganda that was spread across the country during Soviet times. For better or worse, they also tell the story of Ukraine’s history.


5 Ways for Travel Businesses to Reduce Carbon Emissions

In early April, United Airlines announced the formation of the Eco-Skies Alliance, a partnership with several global companies that will allow the airline to purchase approximately 3.4 million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel this year. This program is one component of the company’s overarching plan to reduce 100% of its greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.


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