Travel Trends: Slow Travel, Van Life, Zero Waste!
It feels as if all-inclusive holidays are a thing of the past. On the contrary, environmentally sustainable holidays away from tourist hot spots and Instagram feeds are now trending. The focus is on our ecological footprint, Digital Detox and a whole lot of nature. The travel trends of 2019 are called Slow Travel, Van Life and Zero Waste. In sisterMAG No. 51, author Marlen Gruner will show you what lies behind these phenomena and why they promise so much sustainability.
Travel Trends: Slow Travel, Van Life, Zero Waste!
Why travelling this way is sustainable
It feels as if all-inclusive holidays are a thing of the past. On the contrary, environmentally sustainable holidays away from tourist hot spots and Instagram feeds are now trending. The focus is on our ecological footprint, Digital Detox and a whole lot of nature. The travel trends of 2019 are called Slow Travel, Van Life and Zero Waste. We will show you what lies behind these phenomena and why they promise so much sustainability.
A trip to Europe’s hot spots: Paris today, London tomorrow, Stockholm the day after. No problem with an airplane and it looks great on your Instagram feed. However, it is definitely not relaxing and not good at all for your ecological footprint. Now there’s a countermovement to this hectic lifestyle which focuses on travelling slowly: seeing less, but experiencing more, that, in a sense, is the motto of »Slow Travel«. This phenomenon has conquered the streets and tracks long since.
Travel trend: »Slow Travel«
When travelling this way, you abstain from flying as much as possible. After all, the airplane is considered by far the means of transport the most damaging to the environment. The hash tag »Flugsham« aka »flying shame«, which propagates travelling without flying, also plays a part here.
Instead, slow travellers use buses, trams, vans, bicycles or running shoes to start their journey, which has one advantage over flying right away: you already see a lot on the way. True to the motto »the journey is the reward«, the journey to your destination is already an adventure: whether you hike, travel by train, by bike or are doing a road trip with your camper, you can make as many stops along the way as you like. If you cannot do without using a plane, you should at least take a direct flight because the take-off and landing emit the highest quantities of CO2.
Unknown places are more likely to be travel destinations than tourist hot spots when you are doing »Slow Travel«. Reaching your destination, you would rather relax than to fan out: mindfulness instead of likes on Instagram, reflecting instead of taking pictures for others, taking a time-out from your everyday life instead of taking it with you. Quality instead of quantity!
Slow Travel does not literally mean travelling slowly, but consciously taking it all in. Meeting natives, buying local products and enjoying yourself. So it is less about the speed and more about a kind of attitude. Less (over)stimulation, more relaxation in order to save precious energy and recharge. More nature, less smart-phone. Digital Detox is the keyword, which brings us to the next trend.
Travel trend: »Van Life«
Following this trend, you need to stay connected at least a little bit. Van Life has become quite a trend on Instagram over the past years with almost 5.5 million entries. Behind this term lies the principle of caravanning, meaning life on the road.
You can simply take your car or private camper and set off. Or you can rent a car or a van equipped with a bed and a tiny kitchen. Of course, the latter is more sustainable if we are not talking about long-term camping. The holiday or trip is even more sustainable if you share the mobile home with others. The more, the better for the climate – and your finances.
The good thing about Van Life in comparison to staying in a hotel is, above all, sustainable consumption: using your own towel versus a daily towel change or having your favourite food versus an excessive buffet. If you can refrain from using power guzzlers such as air conditioning or an electric grill and instead hop into the ocean to cool down and use a gas grill or a camp fire, you will come even closer to what Van Life is all about. Some actually take this trend literally and adopt it as a way of life: some Instagram couples live and work in their converted Volkswagen Transporter … amazing, right?
Travel trend: »Zero Waste«
And while we are talking about sustainability and environmentally conscious travelling, another travel trend, Zero Waste, is dedicated towards abandoning plastic or reducing waste. What is already being practised in many households has now come to mobile homes, Volkswagen Transporters and the like.
Just like at home, the principle can be carried out while travelling: for instance by using glass containers and bottles that can be refilled with water and food as often as you like. Reusable instead of disposable is the motto. Instead of plastic bags, aluminium foil and PET bottles, you take your personal bottle, lunch box and cloth bag on your journey.
These things make it easy to pack and take fruit, veggies and the like with you. Your phone or other devices can be powered by the sun through a solar charger. So this trend also shows that you just need a bit of planning in order to reduce plastic consumption and waste. Sustainable and conscious travel – here we come!