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5 tips for sustainable travel

5 Tipps für nachhaltiges Reisen

Your vacation is coming up and the thought of a trip gives you a bad climate conscience? Then we have good news for you: travel and sustainability can be combined fantastically. You don't have to do without or stick to a thousand complicated rules. Here are our 5 best tips for your sustainable vacation.

1. Use low-emission means of transport such as buses, trains, bikes or your own two legs.

Flying is great. A few hours above the clouds and you're in the sun. But the whole thing also has a dark side. Did you know that flying is about the most harmful thing a person can legally do to nature?

A flight to New York and back pollutes the atmosphere with 4 tons of CO2 per person. For comparison: 2.7 tons of CO2 is the amount that, according to climate researchers, a human being should produce per year (!) if we still want to save the earth (source: Jens Förster: What having does to being).

When it comes to climate, (long-distance) buses and trains for longer routes are among the clear winners. Local public transport or car sharing are environmentally friendly options. However, we recommend cycling or hiking: maximum experience, minimum footprint.

If you still take the plane, you can compensate for the greenhouse gases caused, for example with the test winner Atmosfair (Finanztest 3/2018). Compensation is not a free ticket for every climate sin, but it is always better than doing nothing.

2. Take your time.

Logically, you travel slowly or very slowly by bus or on foot. But that doesn't have to be a disadvantage. Do you know the slow travel movement? Slow travel is not about getting somewhere quickly. The journey is the destination and you are already on your journey as soon as you leave home. This fundamentally changes the way you perceive and interpret the world. You get closer to yourself and the nature around you.

But you only have a week's vacation and are wondering where you should find the time for slow travel? No stress: you don't need much time overall. It's more about a new quality of time that you can also experience in an afternoon. Instead of rushing from one place to the next, you can relax and let yourself drift.

3. Decide on a holiday destination that is as close as possible.

Less effort, less costs, less CO2 – the shorter the journey, the more sustainable. There are probably natural gems, unexplored cities and special places in your area that you have only seen from the car window. There is even a lot to discover in your own neighborhood.

For a fresh perspective, it helps to look at everything through the eyes of a stranger from another world. Allow yourself to be amazed and to perceive the seemingly boring and familiar as a miracle.

4. Choose your accommodation according to sustainable criteria

The accommodation and food at the holiday destination is a large part of your trip. By making a more sustainable decision at this point, you can do a lot to reduce the carbon footprint of your vacation. For example, make sure that your hotel or holiday apartment operates in an environmentally friendly manner. Eco seals and sustainability certificates help with orientation. A good place to start when looking for suitable accommodation is the website Elsewhere . The same applies to restaurants or your own food shopping when you are on the go: local, organic and, if possible, vegetarian.

5. Don't be a consumer or a tourist - be a traveler.

Travelers venture into unknown territory and master unfamiliar situations. You travel by train through remote regions, get in touch with locals and follow their tips, or let the adventure begin right on your doorstep. Things don't always go as smoothly as with a package holiday. But it is much more intensive and healthier for our planet.

Here's an experiment that fits into a day of vacation: Leave the travel guide at home, don't check travel blogs and don't go on Instagram. Today you decide what is a must-see. You can simply trust your intuition and follow your nose. Be curious and talk to people on the street. Where does this door lead? How far can you see from this hill? Find out! Your own discoveries provide pure endorphins and make you happier than all the tourist hot spots.