Get Outside with Raus: A Platform for Sustainable Nature Getaways
Stress is at an all-time high with climate anxiety contributing its fair share to the tension. Considering the significant health benefits of taking a vacation, it seems we could all use some time off.
For many, the answer has long been booking a cheap flight to get away from the taxing demands of everyday life. But these days, with the very real consequences of climate change, travelers are looking for more environmentally friendly options. In fact, 76 percent of travelers have expressed a desire to travel more sustainably, according to Booking.com’s Sustainable Travel Report.
Sounds like there’s never been a better time to get Raus.
The Berlin-based Marketplaces & Consumer startup offers people living in cities across Germany a boutique getaway in the wild without having to fly or trade the basic comforts of home for a tent. Their countryside stays –– easily accessible via public transportation or a short drive –– pull travelers out of the nine-to-five grind and give them the peaceful atmosphere they so desperately need without the environment bearing the brunt. The nature immersions are also helping farmers and foresters earn additional income, as they struggle with the negative and very real impacts of climate change on their crops and livelihoods.
We recently met up with co-founder Julian Trautwein at Raus’ humble bar-turned-office to learn more about how they’re helping guests and hosts build a more sustainable future. Julian also gave a sneak peek at Raus’ expansion plans on the heels of their €8.5 million follow-on fundraise.
What led you to starting Raus?
Johann, Christopher, and I were at a point in our previous jobs where we asked ourselves: Is what we're doing actually still sustainable and healthy? The city offers everything you need but that comes with never-ending to-do lists, both personally and professionally. You're kind of always on.
We were looking for ways to live a more balanced lifestyle and began to appreciate the countryside more and more, with its clean air, vast openness, and quiet, undisturbed atmosphere. So we came up with the idea of creating an equilibrium –– a place combining seamless access to nature with contemporary design, comfort, and minimal effort where our guests could find more balance in their stressful daily lives.
Why do you believe more travelers are now looking for nearby nature immersion getaways? And what are the proven benefits of nature immersion?
The growing awareness of mental health, sustainable travel, decentralized and flexible working, and social responsibility is an overall social development. People are rediscovering nature and returning to the simple things that are nearby for a conscious time off.
Forest bathing is scientifically proven to reduce anger and fear while fueling calmness, joy, and creativity. Furthermore, it contributes to our physical well-being, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones.
The travel industry's “cheap flights to go far away from home” strategy still continues. Do you see this continuing in the future or shifting more toward travel options closer to home?
Customers are continuously questioning their habits and their impact on the environment and asking for better options. We can already see a huge paradigm shift in travel: 83 percent of travelers consider environmental responsibility a key motivation when deciding on accommodations. Increasing prices for air travel and gas leads travelers to look for getaway destinations closer to home while 79 percent are also looking for a positive impact on their mental and emotional wellbeing when traveling.
According to an article in The New York Times, ‘nature deficit disorder’ is really becoming a thing which we can also see in the rising number of burnouts and mental problems in society. Due to this growing demand, the travel industry will have to turn towards more sustainable and local travel options to unite the need “to get out” with the financial, ecological, and societal aspects of traveling.
Sustainability is at the heart of your business model. Why? And what impact do you think sustainable travel will have on climate change over the coming decade?
Nature’s resources are limited and we have a responsibility to take care of our planet in the most conscious way possible. The proportion of greenhouse gas emissions caused by global tourism is currently estimated at eight percent, hence sustainable travel options offer a huge chance in fighting climate change. Moreover, at Raus we hope by reconnecting people with nature we can generate an appreciation for the state of our planet and its impact on our wellbeing.
Why was it so important to partner with local farmers and foresters and what benefits do they receive when working with Raus?
Farmers and foresters are confronted with substantial structural and ecological challenges. In order to sustain the sustainability of their businesses, they have to diversify their revenue streams. Raus supports them significantly by providing an opportunity to generate additional income, averaging €1,500 per month for local partners.
In addition to renting out parts of temporarily unused land, our land partners can also offer their products and services to guests, from local breakfast packages and farm products to guided herbal tours or alpaca hikes. This financial support enhances their economic resilience and hedges them against future uncertainties and climate change.
Currently, Raus is only available in Germany. What’s the timeline for Raus’ expansion across Europe & where will you go first?
We are just at the very beginning of our journey with Raus and there is so much to look forward to! Our expansion across Europe is the next big step on our agenda and will commence with Austria in the coming months.
We want to make nature accessible in an uncomplicated and seamless way. Our vision is to become the category leader for immersive nature experiences, all across Europe and far beyond.