Travelling sustainably is an art! It helps connect your passion for travel with a sense of responsibility towards the environment. Travel refreshes the soul. Breathtaking valleys, calming beaches and vibrant locales beckon us to come take a dip in their rich environs.
We are at a juncture where tourism is fast expanding to areas previously untouched by humans. A disastrous consequence of this has been the plundering of natural resources. While the industry itself might be to blame, travellers too need to become more conscious. Often we come across trekking trails littered with plastic and lakes disgraced with garbage. Many attempts at conserving nature and promoting tourism have been made through the establishment of biodiversity parks. As a staunch advocate of sustainable and responsible tourism, I, personally, and through my Travel Magazine, Travel Links, try to be conscious of my impact on the environment while travelling.
Contrary to popular conception, travelling sustainably is neither expensive nor difficult- it is actually cheaper to be a conscious traveller. Simple alterations can help in travelling sustainably. Here are 6 ways you can be one:
Be a minimalist
Not only does this spare you the hassle of lugging around luggage, it helps reduce your impact on the environment. Be mindful of the weather at your destination and pack only a limited number of clothes and accessories. Pack only what is absolutely necessary. Remember, less is more! Not only does this make you feel free, it also means that you leave behind zero waste. Since vehicles would now have to carry lighter loads, you also end up saving fuel.
Use sustainable transport
Be it from your place to the destination or when you have reached it, choose greener modes of transportation. Trains or buses instead of flights and cars are always a welcome option. Similarly, when you have reached your destination, bicycles, e-vehicles or even walking by foot are great ideas. Always remember to pack comfortable shoes!
Look for homestays
Homestays are a wonderful way to learn about the local culture. You are in direct contact with the people and get tips on the best way to get around, restaurants and sight-seeing. Not only is it more economical, but you also get a warm service and a personal touch that big chains lack. If there are no homestays available, try to choose the most eco-friendly option available.
Try out the local cuisine
The food culture of a place is based on locally sourced ingredients. They are usually sustainable, not to mention delicious. Try to locate a local restaurant. Not only would you get a highly authentic experience of the place, the food is guaranteed to be better than anything you would find at a five star restaurant. Even better if there are vegan options!
Try out mono meals. Big buffets are a big no-no since they can cause overeating and a lot of the food is discarded. Keep in mind to order smaller meals and avoid food wastage of any sort.
Shop at local markets
Tourism is the main source of livelihood in many towns and villages. Support local industries by buying your souvenirs and other things at local flea markets. Explore indigenous handicrafts and artisanal culture. Rather than spending on global chains that you can find anywhere, try to spend your money within the rural economy.
Sustainable tourism is the only way we can ensure the longevity of the industry. Travelling sustainably is the way to secure the future of travel. We need to be responsible travellers and choose better staying options, use eco-friendly products and do our part in conserving niche regions of the planet. Finally, as passionate travellers, we have a responsibility to leave the place behind in the same condition it was in when we arrived.