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Photo: Andrea Lichtenecker
Photo: Andrea Lichtenecker

Sustainable travel is easy! 5 tips for a holiday that combines fun, experience, and a good conscience.

The environment and sustainability are important to you: you separate waste, buy local and plastic-free whenever possible, cycle and wear second-hand clothes? But you are not quite sure how sustainability can also be lived on holiday and while travelling without sacrificing fun and experience? Sustainable travel is not rocket science! We have simple tips for you!

Tip 1: Get in the mood for your holiday destination.

Learn about your destination. Good travel guides not only describe the sights, but also the (everyday) culture. This will give you a better understanding of your destination and the people who live there, and ultimately, more experiences! Having at least a few words in the local language in your repertoire – such as "hello", "goodbye", "please", "thank you", "excuse me" – and a smile on your lips are the keys to  great encounters.

Tip 2: Make your journey environmentally friendly.

The train is a comfortable and climate-friendly means of transport that gets you to your destination in a relaxed manner. For longer distances, night trains are a good option – the range is constantly being expanded.
For distances of up to 800 km, you should avoid flights. Short-haul flights also have a strong impact on the climate, as take-off and landing in particular are energy-intensive and emissions are correspondingly high. This also applies to feeder flights ­– so it's better to take the train to the airport. And for destinations that can only be reached by plane, the general rule is: fly less often and stay longer. This gives you more time to get to know the country and its people in a relaxed way.

Tip 3: Your behaviour on site counts.

What applies at home also applies on holiday – small actions make a big difference! Water is scarce and therefore precious in many holiday areas. Towels and bed linen can be used several times. Pay attention to waste avoidance and waste separation. And: Do you really need air conditioning all the time or can you do without it?
If possible, stay in private accommodation ­– this also benefits the local population. Recognised labels – such as the Austrian Ecolabel or the EU Ecolabel – help you make your choice. The awarded establishments not only take measures to protect the environment, but also offer their employees fair working conditions. Try regional cuisine and support local value creation. When you eat where the locals do, you also get to communicate with the local population.

Tip 4: Travel with your eyes and ears open.

You like to photograph people? Always ask permission! Even if you don't speak the language: a smile and gestures are enough. If you meet begging people and wonder if you should give them something: observe if locals give something. Don't give begging children anything, even if it's hard; their parents would rather send them to the streets to "earn money" than to school. Don't haggle for every penny at souvenir stalls and help the sellers earn a fair income.
When entering temples, mosques, or other religious sites, make sure to dress appropriately and do not push the worshippers out of the best seats.

Tip 5: Check the environmental footprint of your holiday.

The "ecological footprint" is a measure of how much our actions affect nature. You can get an overview of the ecological footprint of your holiday from various platforms on the internet - for example this site, which calculates the footprint with the Sustainable Process Index (SPI®) ( However, this value is only a rough estimate, because of course not all details can be included in the evaluation.

Want to know more? Join the interactive respect_NFI travel puzzle, build your sustainable travel picture and learn more about fair travel in just a few minutes!