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Tent in garden
Photograph: Shutterstock / Surachart Jessadanont

Is this network of free, hidden campsites the future of sustainable travel?

Welcome To My Garden is a community of garden-owners across Europe that will let campers stay the night

Written by
Ed Cunningham
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The latest buzzword to pick up pace in the eco-travel world, ‘slow travel’ is exactly what it says on the tin. Travelling, but slowly. With no flying and no driving, slow travellers journey by foot, bike or public transport only – and often camp overnight.

As the drive to be more sustainable gains pace, slow travelling is well on its way to becoming a much more popular way to explore the world. Which makes communities such as Welcome To My Garden even more vital.

Naturally, you can’t just pitch up your tent anywhere. Between navigating land ownership laws and avoiding ‘get off my land!’-type locals, camping can be tricky business. Fortunately, Welcome To My Garden provides a service to specifically aid slow travellers searching for a place to camp for the night.

It is a network of citizens that offer free, safe haven to those travelling by bike and foot, letting Welcome to my Garden members camp on their land (or in their garden) for up to 48 hours. And the best bit? It’s always free. So far, the network has over 20,000 users and includes around 3,000 gardens across Europe. 

And if you’re looking put up a Welcome To My Garden sign yourself, fear not – you won’t be swamped by crusty eco-warriors looking to leech you dry. The process seems pretty civilised: the rules on the official site are simple but stern, and there’s a comprehensive set of FAQs. Which is good, because you don’t want any piss-takers let loose in your garden.

To join Welcome To My Garden, you can become a member of the site’s Slack workspace, or send an email to support@welcometomygarden.org

Want more sustainable travel tips? Here are 12 ways to be a better tourist right now.

And here are 10 eco-friendly travel companies you can feel good about booking with.

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