Camping as a sustainable form of travel

November 25, 2022


Camping: the sustainable form of travel

Those who like to "camp" usually have a deeper connection to nature and are sensitized to many environmental issues. We campers like to go out and love the contrast between raw nature and the protection of a tent or campervan. It's probably our primal instincts that keep us in this survival mode - and we love it. Especially when we are in control: Fully fueled campervan, auxiliary heating, fully equipped kitchen, hot water, bikes or skis on the rear rack and lots and lots of survival gadgets! This is how many of us encounter nature today. But is it really all that sustainable?

Cozy round among campers on a "Parkn'Sleep site"

Society's needs have once again shifted strongly towards mobility, independence and flexibility as a result of the pandemic. Away from mass tourism and towards individual tourism. In addition, the environmental impact of travel is now more in focus than ever before. Many people are thinking more about how and where they go on vacation. A survey by Luggagehero describes this in detail.

How many travelers are really sustainable?

This question can easily be divided into three categories: those who do, those who don't and those who would like to:‍

87% of respondents would like to travel more sustainably

‍39% already do this consciously

‍43% say that they rarely or tend to travel less sustainably

What motivates people to travel more sustainably?

Some of the reasons travelers give for being sustainable when traveling are:

40% want to help reduce environmental impact
34% say they travel sustainably to have a relevant experience at their destination
33% want to feel good about their choice of accommodation

How do eco-travelers feel inspired to choose a sustainable path?

60% feel inspired by visiting natural beauty
54% choose to be more sustainable because they see the visible impact of tourism on destinations
32% do not feel guilty because they know the impact of their vacation on the environment
47% feel inspired because they see the positive impact of sustainable tourism on local people

Nature-conscious: family vacations on the Parkn'Sleep site "Mostindien"

‍Theenvironmental costs of traditional travel

It's no secret that flying leaves a huge carbon footprint. The aviation industry is responsible for an estimated 2.1% of all global emissions - a reality that many are trying to reduce or offset. However, with all the attention on the impact of air travel, it's easy to forget another big contributor to the environmental cost of vacation travel - hotels.

Globally, the hotel sector is responsible for around 1% of global carbon emissions, not to mention the additional food and plastic waste generated from eating in hotels.

Comparison of hotel nights and camping nights

A study by the German Caravanning Industry Association (CIVD) sheds light on the subject of the CO2 footprint: on average, camper trips cause 10 times less CO2 emissions than hotel trips, taking into account the entire bill (energy upstream chain).

"On average, camper trips cause 10 times less CO2 emissions than hotel trips."

How can outdoor accommodation be better for the environment?

Camping, glamping and caravan/motorhome vacations are already less carbon-intensive than the average hotel stay, as a high proportion of trips are made by domestic tourists, meaning fewer flights or ferry trips.

The construction of pitches (plots for tents or motorhomes) and other outdoor accommodation, such as huts, pods or tipis, also requires fewer resources than hotels and generally uses natural, more sustainable materials such as wood.

The energy used to operate campgrounds is also far less than that of a traditional hotel, as the heated and cooled indoor areas are small in relation to the number of guests. Although RVs consume a significant amount of gasoline, their carbon footprint is lower when parked at an RV resort, and many campgrounds incorporate environmentally conscious amenities such as renewable energy and recycling facilities.

"Slow travel": you take your time. Source: Stock

Aside from energy consumption, camping also promotes the slow-food lifestyle, as most guests bring their own supplies to prepare a tasty meal on the barbecue or around the campfire instead of eating out. Some campsites also offer local produce on site, while others are located directly on farms, allowing campers to grow their own fruit and vegetables.

Not only do campsites attract a large number of guests at a lower cost than hotels, they are also a proven revenue generator for local establishments, including restaurants and stores. This added value benefits the whole community.

Finally, outdoor vacations foster a connection to nature that encourages people to turn off their devices and opt for screen-free and more energy-efficient entertainment options such as biking, hiking and water sports in the area. The more people spend time outdoors, the more they learn the importance of making sustainable choices every day that are put into practice far beyond a camping trip.

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