Sustainable travel is much more than just saving CO₂. It means taking responsibility - for the destination, for the people, for nature. Experts on sustainable vacation provide practical tips that we don’t all have on our radar.
Get Away from the Mainstream
Does it sound familiar? Your neighbour posts a great photo of the turquoise sea in Mallorca. Now you already feel like going there. When you're looking for a place to stay, you look at hotel ratings and end up where everyone else is going. That's what can lead to overtourism. Then, instead of bridging the gap between cultures, overtourism leads to conflicts between guests and the local population. Moreover, if you look for alternatives to the mainstream, you also provide tourism income to lesser-known regions.
Destination Found – Enjoy Anticipation
Reading travel guides on the plane or train, quickly checking out suitable excursions, and how long is the drive to my hotel? Let's be honest - we all know it: the last-minute panic preparation. But that's like a three-course meal without an appetizer. It makes more sense to get to know your destination country more deeply. If you can understand customs, religions, languages and the political system, you will be on an equal footing with the local population. You won't commit a faux pas, you'll pay respect to the host country and broaden your own horizons. It raises the tolerance threshold and helps to classify otherness.
Fly Smart - Or Don’t Fly at All
Travel to and from the destination accounts for a large portion of the trip's CO₂ emissions. Let's take the flight from Berlin to the Canary Islands for a family of four: The family's emissions are equivalent to 45,000 car kilometers in a fully occupied mid-size car.
Every flight you do without is a gain. The tip for sustainable vacation: fly less often, but longer. Take the train to the flight. Avoid domestic flights. Take direct flights, because take-off and landing are particularly harmful to the environment. By the way, choosing an efficient airline can save up to ten percent of the climate impact. For rankings, check out the offset providers where you can offset the CO₂ emissions of your trip.
Perhaps many hotels in the future will only offer menus. That would be much more economical than the big buffets. The air conditioners account for a quarter of the energy costs. Conscious consumption and economical use of energy and water are also important for sustainable vacations.
Leave Money in the Country
That's why you should choose smaller, owner-operated accommodations over international chains with thirsty pools facilities. Let yourself drift and stop at restaurants along the way that don't show up on your review app. In many countries, the informal tourism sector is on life support. That's why you're better off buying your souvenirs from flying vendors than from the international souvenir store at the airport or in the hotel lobby. Important: Haggling is part of the game in many countries - but don't be ruthless.
Tips Are Important
Not only in developing countries, by the way. The tourism industry is one of the lowest-paid. Therefore, find out what tip amount is appropriate and don't forget the room cleaners. Many accommodations have collection boxes that are paid out to the staff at the end of the month.
Dealing with Poverty
Not giving money to children who beg - yes, it's hard. But the fact is that successful "begging children" stay away from school. The spiral of lack of education and poverty thus continues. Depending on the situation, it is better to buy the children something to eat or give them paper and painting materials. Beforehand, I check whether there are any institutions or organizations that I can support with a donation instead of handing out money on the street.
Share the Memories
Invite friends and share your vacation memories with them. Eliminate clichés and prejudices. In this way, you can contribute to cultural awareness.