Many define themselves through their vacation in the south and their cosmopolitanism thanks to long-distance travel. But in times of “flight shame”, the well-deserved vacation comes under pressure. Is travel shame a trend?

Immediately after getting up she went splashing in the sea and then had breakfast at the pool. This was recently written by Youtuber Bianca “Bibi” Claßen (“Bibis Beauty Palace”) in the Maldives, about 8,000 kilometers away from Germany.

It is probably a question of type, whether one grabs comforting patronage with such an Instagram post or whether it is foreign shame, even transferred flight shame . In any case, many now look at such vacation postings differently than they did two years ago. The travel shame is going on.

The "Queen Mary 2" in the port of Hamburg

But has a new era actually started and is the bad conscience on the rise? Are flying, long-distance travel and cruises becoming something to justify – instead of something to brag about? Quite a few report at least conversations and situations in which CO2 is suddenly an issue where it would not have been before.

“There is a change in values”

The vacation researcher and consumer psychologist Martin Lohmann has not yet found any general travel shame, but rather greater flight shame. In Kiel, as head of the Institute for Tourism Research in Northern Europe (NIT), he is responsible for the annual “travel analysis” of the Association for Holidays and Travel Research (FUR).

Accordingly, most recently – in November – almost three quarters (73 percent) of air travelers said they had a more or less guilty conscience because of the pollution of the climate and greenhouse gas emissions. 27 percent did not share this feeling. “Apparently there is a” change in values ​​”here,” says Lohmann. “Flight shame is the expression of an inner conflict, not its solution: on the one hand you want to travel, but on the other hand you don’t want to influence the climate”, says the psychologist, who is professor of business psychology at the Lüneburg University.

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” We are currently researching how people deal with this conflict . Not talking about it would be a temporary option, on the other hand, traveling is a great topic of conversation, so a new conflict.”

According to the researcher, the travel plans for 2020 are not expected to drop significantly in the short term, in spite of the widespread flight shame. There is, however, a greater willingness to pay compensation for the associated CO2 emissions, says Lohmann.

Cruise shaming trend

The Hamburg Youtuber and cruise expert Matthias Morr also observed a changed culture of conversation in view of the ongoing climate discussion and the Friday demos: “A cruise is something that you could brag about in the past. I have heard from many that they now prefer not to tell when they go on cruises so as not to be denounced for it. “

The cruise ship is “quasi the SUV of the travel industry “. Such a huge ship is a strong symbol for many things that the Fridays for Future movement denounces.

Shipping companies are not in a favorable situation right now, says Morr. New ships have been ordered – and turning the anti-mood around is a huge challenge. “Many shipping companies have also recognized this problem – ships either run much cleaner with liquefied natural gas or the provider compensates for the CO2 emissions.”

Morr also observed a kind of defiance in the population: “I also experience a” now more than ever “with many – according to the motto:” I don’t want to restrict myself personally now, while in other countries or industries everything continues as usual “. ” There are a lot of people, including many big city singles, who don’t have a car but who invest a lot of money in travel. “For many, this is an essential part of their lifestyle and I think that many will not want to do without it.”

Gaining prestige through travel

Post-materialism was proclaimed for a long time – the motto that it is better to invest in experiences than in things. “If traveling is frowned upon now, what can you still spend money on with a clear conscience?”

Emily Wong

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