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Travelling is like that old friend you don’t stop taking for granted. We need this friend but we are still irresponsible towards them. We all think that we are responsible travellers, but if that’s the case, how come so many of the naturally existing wonders are almost devastated? Maya Bay in Thailand has been shut down for the tourists to give the place a respite from a huge traffic of tourists and boats on a daily basis. Around 77% of the Corals around the island are in danger now. A similar situation arose in Boracay Islands, Philippines. And the most recent traffic jam and numerous deaths atop Mt. Everest and overcrowding of destinations in North India are all alarming factors foreshadowing the future of travel! This large inflow of tourists is threatening the overall ecosystem of tourist places and the lifestyle of the locals. There are various other examples of such great destinations being degraded due to irresponsible travellers.
So what makes one a responsible traveller? What are the things you & I could do while travelling to ensure minimum impact on the environment and the ecosystem?
A responsible traveller is the one who knows that they are just a guest at a particular place and feels grateful towards that place and the people residing there for hosting them. One should understand that they are only visiting a place for a few days but the local life there, humans, flora and fauna are the permanent residents there. Travellers must understand the repercussions of their every little action on a place and the life there.
We believe that as a community of travellers you will be sensible enough to keep such things in mind and be a responsible traveler. However, we have still made a list here to help you go through some ideas that we believe every traveller must adopt to and make a habit out of them to ensure responsible tourism.
1.The Water Bottle
Always carry a reusable water bottle & resuable cutlery while travelling. It can be refilled easily at various hotels, restaurants, or dhabas, etc. Now when we say this, you might think of it as “not a big deal”, but we have to consider this-
Say for instance, 5 of you are on a 5 day trip. Each individual should be consuming at least 2 litres of water every day. So at the end of the trip, you will end up using 50 bottles of water. Say there are only 100 people who took the same trip for same number of days, so the total number of bottles used up in this time period 1,000 bottles. Is it still “not a big deal”? Imagine the amount of plastic waste being accumulated at that beach or mountain!
This is not a question of saving up a few bucks. You cannot possibly calculate the costs that the place or residents living there have to bear because of hundreds of bottles being disposed-off there by people who don’t even live there.
2. Bag of Trash
Carrying a garbage bag in the side pocket of your backpack will come in handy a lot of times. While travelling, you may be carrying snacks, tissues, and a lot of other items that create disposable waste, and when you need a place to dispose it, you might not always find a dustbin. Having the garbage bag handy or in your car at this moment will allow you to make sure that the waste gets disposed off at the next dustbin!
When you travel to remote areas with less urban infrastructure, you should try and reduce activities that involve dumping of wastes. Avoid using products that include dumping of its packaging, since a lot of these areas struggle with adopting efficient waste treatment methods. If you can, you should always carry your trash back, but if you are not in a position to, make sure you are reducing the consumption of these items as best as you can.
3. The Locals
When you are travelling, always try and contribute to the local businesses there. Try local cuisines at local restaurants/eateries (instead of a regular fast food joint), hire a local guide to understand the real essence of the place, buy local souvenirs from local vendors – their livelihood could be dependent on this. You can also use public transport where possible. It is definitely up to your preferences, but try and give back something to the place you are visiting. Enjoy the place like a local and experience the culture in its true sense.
4. Empathy to the Ecosystem
You would read up on the places to visit or activities to do, but what you should also read up on is about the culture of a place, its people, heritage, norms, and environmental details. You must understand and respect the people, the flora and fauna. Be empathetic to the situation, the people and the place in general and you are surely going to have a wonderful time.
5. Enlighten Your Buddies
It is not enough if you are the only one who is travelling responsibly, you must also share the knowledge with the people you are travelling with and try to inculcate such habits in your friends and family.
6. Heard about Eco Tourism?
If you wish to take more steps towards being a responsible traveller, you can read up more on what are eco-friendly tours. A few operators (ResponsibleTravel.com for example) take the extra effort to protect the environment in all the little ways they can. Choose them over ordinary operators.
You can check with your stay options too, if they take eco-friendly measures before booking your stay.
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To those who read the ‘Xplore The Earth, Responsibly’, a Big Thank You & we hope it helped you get a bit of the idea on taking steps to travel sustainably. Incase you didn’t get a chance to read the article, here are 6 quick ideas that you have to take in order to start travelling responsibly. PLEASE SHARE THEM WITH EVERYONE AND ANYONE YOU KNOW! Remind each & everyone to do these things before you set out on the journey! Make a conscious choice of travelling sustainable and don’t forget to read the full article on the website. Link is in Bio. @xploretheearth We request to TAG YOUR FRIENDS & FAMILY to give them a quick glance of what they need to start with to Travel Responsibly. Leave a ?? when you have done your part & told someone about it! . . Part 2 of ‘Xplore The Earth, Responsibly’ campaign is coming out tomorrow! We’ve got a lot of awesome Ideas & Stories from a Lot of of Travelers & Companies! Stay tuned . . . Tags #Xploretheearth #XTEResponsibly #climatechange #climateemergency #responsibletravel #tourist #overtourism #blogpost #travelbloggers #indiantravelbloggers #earthprotectors #savetheearth #oneearth #ourplanet #wastefreeplanet #zerowaste #pollution #sustainabletourism #sustainablegrowth #futureisnow #earthisdying #futurism #quitethechaos #earthwarriors #beautifulearth #savetheoceans
Responsible travelling starts before you start your trip. It needs prior planning and additional efforts to make it fruitful. But as a traveler and a good citizen, it is the need of the hour! Make sure you are setting the right example!
TIP – If you are travelling in India, and see a garbage dump that needs attention try using the Swachhata App. You can register a complaint to get a place cleaned on this app for many cities.