The Responsible Traveler: 5 More Ideas to Travel Sustainably

The Responsible Traveler: 5 More Ideas to Travel Sustainably

Do you already make eco-friendly choices when traveling? Do you plan trips to green destinations? Stay in eco-friendly hotels? Shop small and locally? Do you make it a habit to travel by trains instead of planes? Are you a pro at using public transportation? If you’ve answered yes to most of these questions, get ready to learn how you can make your travel even more sustainable! We have prepared five more tips for you to try on your next trip! If you’re new to sustainable tourism, check out our earlier article on five easy ways to be a more sustainable traveler. Unlike the ideas in our first article, these tips will require more hands-on action before and during your vacation.

1. Before you go, use/freeze fresh food at home

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Cook your fresh items, give them to a friend, or donate them to a local organization.

By using or donating your perishable food items before your trip, you decrease food waste. What’s the harm in producing food waste? About 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted each year. That’s 1/3 of food produced for humans to consume. When we waste food, we also waste the water and energy that went into the production of the food.


Food waste is also one of the largest contributers to greenhouse gases. The carbon footprint of food waste is 3.3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent. If food is thrown in the trash and ends up in a landfill, it continues to release methane into the atmosphere. Methane is even more dangerous to the atmosphere than CO2 because it traps heat 25 times more efficiently than CO2.

2. Include a zero-waste pack in your luggage

Photo by Igisheva Maria on Shutter-stock


You can buy a completed kit or make one with items you have at home.

Think about when you travel. How many plastic shopping bags do you end up with? How many plastic straws and eating utensils do you end up using? For many travelers, the answer is: a lot. Having a zero-waste pack eliminates your need to use disposable items while traveling. 

A basic zero-waste pack includes: a water bottle, reusable utensils, a cloth napkin, and a cloth shopping bag. If you prefer you can also add a thermos, a straw, and containers for leftovers. You can find them locally, online, or DIY one.

3. Go sightseeing by bicycle or walking

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Not only is it eco-friendly, but when you walk or cycle through a city, finding small shops and charming restaurants is much easier!

Walking or bicycling through a city is more eco-friendly than taking a car or public transportation. Walking is the greenest mode of transportation because it produces zero greenhouse emissions. Bicycling is only a little less eco-friendly than walking, but is faster and let’s you cover more ground. These two ways of traversing a city or both friendly for the environment and healthy for you.

4. Place the "Do not disturb" placard on your door

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If you need housekeeping to come in, make sure to hang up your used, but clean towels so they’re not replaced.

By placing the “do not disturb” placard on your door, you help to decrease the amount of resources housekeeping uses each day. This helps to lessen the gargantuan amount of waste hotels produce each day. To be even more eco-friendly, take the recyclables out of your hotel room and recycle them in the lobby or outside of the hotel. If you need to throw away more harmful items, like batteries, consider packing them in your suitcase and disposing of them when you get home from your vacation.

5. Respect the traditions and culture of the locals

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The Penglipuran Village in Bali hosts a festival every December to showcase their culture to visitors. 

Sustainable traveling isn’t only about being eco-friendly. It includes preserving the local culture. Tourism can have a negative cultural impact on locals when tourists expect locals to forego their customs to make tourists feel more at home. Before traveling, take some time to learn about local traditions, culture, and gastronomy. A simple google search of “[country name] culture and etiquette” will help prepare you for engaging with locals while you are abroad.

We all love to travel. We love to become familiar with new experiences, try exotic foods, and learn about cultures that are different from our own. By using these tips, you will have a more positive impact everywhere you go.

Five Fascinating Farms in Brandenburg

Five Fascinating Farms in Brandenburg

When you spend so much time in the metropolitan city of Berlin, it’s easy to forget that the town is surrounded by the green region of Brandenburg. Brandenburg is one of the least-populated regions in Germany and is known for its agriculture and lakes. There are many farms that welcome visitors to spend an afternoon or a couple of days on their land. 

To help you start your next adventure, we have made a list of five fascinating farms for different interests – whether you want to spend an afternoon playing with animals or want to take a few days to relax in the quiet.

1. Alpaca Farm in Havelland

Photo by Chris on Unsplash

Nora and Joachim Kuntzagk own the first alpaca farm in Havelland. They raise alpaca for their wool, to work as therapy animals, and for the simple joy of having alpacas. Nora used to work at a zoo in Berlin, where she cared for six types of camels. So when they moved to the country-side, it was an easy choice to adopt and breed alpacas. On their farm, you can also find rheas (a South American bird related to emus and ostrich). On your visit, you are welcome to feed and pet the animals, as long as the animals agree.

 You must set an appointment to visit this farm. You can do that by heading over to their website or by giving them a call.

2. Bauernhof Stolz in Fehrbellin

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Bauernhof Stolz is a family friendly farm with over 20 different species of animals in their petting zoo and is located near a nature reserve, making it a great place to plan a country adventure. Guests can go fishing, canoeing, hiking, or cycling in the nearby lakes and trails. You can even set up horseback riding tours with the farm’s horses.  Bauernhof Stolz is especially good for those who don’t have a car. It’s only 4km away from the closest train station and they can set up a pick-up from the station.

For more information or to make a reservation, visit their website.

3. Ostrich Farm in Berkenlatten

Photo by Shannon Litt on Unsplash

Straussenhof is an ostrich farm in Berkenlatten, a town located in the Uckermark region of Brandenburg. They offer tours of their farm, where you can meet some ostriches while learning about the history and husbandry of ostriches in Germany. Straussenhof also has guesthouses on the property where guests can spend the night. There are even huts right next to the ostrich nursery! Before leaving, make sure to stop by their farmshop, where they sell ostrich and fresh dairy products.

To get more information or to book a tour, visit their  website.

4. Pferdehof Bialek in Tremmen

Photo by Hunter Folsom on Unsplash

If you enjoy horses, plan your next riding-vacation at Pferdehof Bialek, a horse farm, in Ketzin-Tremmen. Tremmen is an old, historical farming town in the middle of untouched nature. The landscape is rich in water and is near the foothills of the Havel, making horse-back tours a relaxing experience. Perdehof Bialek is open to helping you plan your adventures during your stay, whether it’s children-only tours, riding lessons, or day-trips to a local dairy farm.

To get more information on what they offer (or to sponsor a horse), visit their website.

6. Neumann's Garden & Farm Shop in Potsdam

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While it’s not technically a farm, Neumanns garden is a self-harvesting garden where you can pick fruits and berries to take home. During the summer, you can pick strawberries, sweet and sour cherries, and currants. In autumn, you can pick pears, apples, and raspberries. You can also check out the farm shop to try homemade juices, look at regional specialties, and visit with animals. There’s also coffee and cake available at a cafe.

The website has a calendar where you can check and see what’s available for harvesting. It’s also important to see the opening hours since they vary throughout the year.

Taking a break from the noisy city can calm the mind and spirits. You don’t need to travel far to experience the quiet country-side or to enjoy a vacation on a farm-stay. Brandenburg is a vast region with farms, agriculture, and hosts who are ready to greet you.

6 Lakes in Brandenburg (that are accessible by train, bus, or tram)

6 Lakes in Brandenburg (that are accessible by train, bus, or tram)

It may be the first week of September, but it seems like everyone in Berlin is still heading to lakes to relax. Ask a friend for recommendations, and they’ll probably tell you to visit Mueggelsee, Wannsee, or may be Plotzensee. While these are beautiful lakes, they can swarmed with people trying to cool off, especially on the weekends. Why deal with crowds when you can travel out to the neighboring region of Brandenburg – home to 3,000 lakes? If you want something more relaxing for your day at the lake, take a moment to check out these spots in Brandenburg.  Bonus: you don’t need a car to reach them.

1. Rangsdorfer See in Rangsdorf

Photo by Tom Koronowski on Wikimedia Commons

Located south of Berlin is the beautiful Rangsdorfer See. Here, you can swim, row, paddle, or fish. Rangsdorfer See is a nature reserve so there are many nearby hiking trails if you’d like to hike during your day there. If you do go for a small hike, check out the 62 meters high vineyard for a beautiful view of the surrounding villages and nature.

How to get to Rangsdorfer See from Berlin: From Ostkreuz, jump on the RE7 towards Wuenzdorf-Waldstadt and jump off at Rangsdorf. Take a local bus or a 1,5 km walk to the lake.


2. Ruppiner See in Neuruppin

Photo by Endless Autumn on Flickr

Ruppiner See is located northwest of Berlin and is the longest lake in Brandenburg. It is the water-athlete’s dream. You can swim, row, paddle-board, canoe, and kayak. It connects the cities of Neuruppin, Gildenhall, and Alt Ruppin. So you can make a day of canoeing/kayaking inbetween and visiting these small, charming towns.

How to get to Ruppiner See from Berlin: From Gesundbrunnen, get on the RE6 towards Neurrupin, Rheinsberger Tor. Once you reach Rheinsberger Tor, walk 1km to the lake! If you need to rent a boat, you can find rentals nearby. Tip: You can make the Ruppiner See a weekend trip and rent a house boat!

3. Flakensee in Erkner

Photo by Marcus Cyron on Wikimedia Commons

Travel a little east outside of Berlin, and you’ll flind Flakensee! On hot summer days when the sun is beating down on its white sand, it can be easy to forget you’re not in the mediterranean. This lake is great for those who want to lay out on a sandy beach, sipping on a cool drink. To get tho this lake, you’ll need to travel on a 100-year-old tram through the small town. There are also camping grounds near the lake. So pack a tent if you want to extend your mini-vacation a little longer!

How to get to Flakensee from Berlin: From Ostkreuz, take the S3 towards Erkner Bhf and get out at Rahnsdorf. Transfer on the tram 87 towards Woltersdorf (LOS) and jump off at Woltersdorf (LOS). The beach is a short walk from the tram stop.

4. Sacrowersee in Potsdam

Photo by Dreizung on Wikimedia Commons

While this lake can get a little busy on the weekends, Sacrowersee is worth a visit. It has clear waters, fine sand, and a nearby biergarten! On the off-chance there’s too many people for your liking, head off into the forest and find your own little bathing area. There are many surrounding this lake.

How to get to Sacrowersee from Berlin: From Westkreuz, take the S9 towards S Spandau Bhf and get out at Spandau. Them jump on the 638 bus towards Potsdam, Campus Jungfernsee. Jump off at Potsdam, F. Guenther Park and walk 15 minutes to the lake!

5. Beetzsee near Brandenburg an der Havel

Photo by Henry Richter on Flickr

Beetzsee is a large lake located just northeast of Brandenburg an der Havel. It’s made up of 4 large lake basins connected by channels, making this lake perfect for everyone. You can fish and go boating or you can swim and sunbathe. When the weather is just right, you can also go windsurfing. Pro tip: to avoid crowds, just head north.

 How to get to Beetzsee from Berlin: From Berlin Hauptbahnhof, Take the RE1 towards magdeburg, Hbf. Jump out at Brandenburg Hauptbahnhof and transfer on the B/522 Bus towards Brandenburg/Fontanestr. You’ll need to jump out at Brandenburg, Werner-Seelenbinder-str. and walk a short distance to the lake.

6. Helenesee

Photo by Sebastian Wallroth on Wikimedia Commons

Known as the “kleine Ostsee” (or small Baltic Sea), Helenesee is a large, clear lake that was once an open-mining pit. Now, it’s the second-deepest lake in Brandenburg and is popular with divers, swimmers, boaters, and campers. (Yes, you can scuba dive here). Tip: If large crowds ever become bothersome, take a 5km walk or a quick kayak tour to Helenesee’s smaller sister, Kajasee. It is privately-owned, but sunbathers and swimmers are allowed as long as they don’t leave a mess.

How to get to Helenesee from Berlin: From Ostkreuz, take the RE1 towards Frankfurt (Oder) Bahnhof. At the Frankfurt (Oder) station, take the 986 bus towards Frankfurt (Oder) Helenesee. Once you jump out at the Helenesee stop, it’s a short 400 meter walk to the beach!

Berliners are lucky to live in a metropolitan city that is surrounded by the green wonderland of Brandenburg. Whenever you need a break from the noise of Berlin, plan a day to visit one of these beautiful lakes in Brandenburg. Just remember to clean up after yourself and leave nothing behind!


How to get to Helenesee from Berlin: From Ostkreuz, take the RE1 towards Frankfurt (Oder) Bahnhof. At the Frankfurt (Oder) station, take the 986 bus towards Frankfurt (Oder), Helenesee. Make sure to jump out at Helenesee and then it’s a short 400 meter walk from the bus stop.


Berliners are lucky to live in a metropolitan city that is surrounded by the green wonderland of Brandenburg. Whenever you need a break from the noise of Berlin, plan a day to visit one of these beautiful lakes in Brandenburg. Just remember to clean up after yourself and leave behind nothing, but your footprints!

The Responsible Traveler: 5 Easy Ways to Travel Sustainably

The Responsible Traveler: 5 Easy Ways to Travel Sustainably

Do you love traveling, and are you excited about visiting new places? But are you aware of the negative impacts that tourism can hae on destinations – from littered cultural sites (like Machu Pichu in Peru) to beaches having to close down because of over-use (like Maya Bay in Thailand)? Since you are on this page, then sustainable tourism is about to become (hopefully) your new way of traveling. We prepared five easy ways to help you offset such effects by traveling sustainably while exploring new destinations.

What is sustainable tourism? Well, in the simplest terms, it’s a way to visit a destination as a tourist who supports local economies, promotes culture, and protects the environment. Sustainable tourism might sound overwhelming if you’re new to the idea, but it doesn’t have to be.  By using these five easy tips, you’ll be choosing more sustainable alternatives to what you already book and plan on vacations.

1. Choose a green destination

Photo by Tilo G. on Shutter-stock

The Uckermark Region in Brandenburg is one of the many green destinations in Germany

What are green destinations? Green destinations celebrate local culture and traditions, support local businesses, and protect its scenic habitats. Famous green destinations include Chile and Sweden, but you don’t need to travel far to visit green destinations. The organization, Green Destinations, has a map of green destinations all over the world. It’s a great place to start your search for green destinations. Check and see if there’s one near you!

2. Choose to travel by train, bus, or ship over airplanes

Photo by JK on Unsplash

The Mondovi Express in India is considered one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world.

Flights produce more greenhouse gases per passenger than any other mode of transportation, especially when traveling distances shorter than roughly 1,000 km (around 600 miles). You don’t need to take planes to see beautiful destinations.  Germany and its neighbors are well-connected by trains.  With the prices of train tickets becoming more affordable, traveling by train instead of airplanes is easier than ever!  It helps to protect the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and reduces your carbon footprint.  Plus, taking a train instead of a plane to a neighboring country doesn’t take much more time than flights when you calculate the time you need to get to the airport, check-in, and go through security.  If you must travel by plane, try to book non-stop flights because planes burn a lot of fuel during take-off and landing

3. Book a sustainable hotel

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

RIO Touareg Hotel in Camp Verde supports conservationists in raising eco-awareness among tourists.

With companies becoming more eco-friendly, hotels are also becoming more sustainable. Book your stay with hotels that have eco-friendly practices. These can be small practices like having guests reuse linens instead of replacing them every day. You can check the hotel’s websites to see their eco-friendly habits or send them a quick e-mail to ask about their eco-friendly options.

4. Use public transportation instead of car rentals

Photo by Yaoqi Lai on Unsplash

Traveling by public transportation can be the most convenient way to get around metropolitan cities like Berlin, Germany.

Using public transportation is more eco-friendly than privately renting a car. It reduces the number of vehicles on the roads. This helps to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. If you need to take a car, consider hiring a taxi or participating in the “shared” economy (think Uber, Lift, and BlaBlaCar). This is not only more sustainable, but also helps you save money while traveling.

5. Buy gifts and souvenirs from small, locally-owned shops

Photo by David T on Unsplash

Small shops like this one in Assisi, Italy can be found in almost every city around the world.

You probably already buy souvenirs and small gifts when traveling.  Instead of shopping at big stores, make an effort to shop in small, locally owned shops.  You help to put money directly into the local economy. Doing this benefits the people living in the area.

These tips are easy choices you can make to travel more sustainably on your next adventure.  Use them as a part of your traveling routine and your trips will be more sustainable: economically, culturally, and environmentally.

If these tips are already a part of your usual itinerary, keep an eye out for our article on advanced tips for sustainable travel.