The lock down which was enforced to curb the spread of coronavirus has resulted in some unexpected consequences. As industries, transport networks and businesses have pulled down their shutters, pollution levels have significantly dropped. The sky has become clearer, marine life has started to thrive.
In order to witness a clean and healthy environment post the lock down, sustainable travel is the best way to ensure such a thing. This form of travel has resulted in finding a way that has a long-term benefit without causing harm to the environment. If you are committed to being a sustainable traveler, here are a few ways that will help you preserve and protect the environment for the future.
Give Back To The Community
Despite the culture of malls in various cities, the traditional markets are the best way to gain an insight into the history of a destination. Making a trip to the market will help local business owners financially. It will boost their sales and give their work some recognition whenever you head back home.
If you are on a short trip, you can also be a part of community tourism and NGO driven projects. These opportunities might help you to better appreciate the current situation in a place. However, do thorough research about volunteering projects before shelling out money to ensure that it is used for a positive outcome.
Watch Your Waste
Carry along Eco-friendly water bottles, reusable garbage bags which will help you cut down on throwing away harmful plastic waste. As tourists, you also have an option of carrying stainless steel lunch boxes that can be reused unlike the single use plastic boxes.
Minimize Carbon Footprints
Tourism industry heavily depends on burning fossil fuels which directly results in climate change. As a tourist one can contribute to reducing the carbon emissions by traveling light. You can reduce your carry-on luggage as an aircraft’s fuel consumption is higher if the weight it is carrying is heavier. Use public transport as it is more economical.
Choose Sustainable Tour Operators
Always book your trip with tour operators who are involved in sustainable practices and have proper green accreditation. Contact the tour company and inquire about their green and sustainable policies if it is not clearly mentioned on their website.
Read verified reviews on travel websites and of popular travel bloggers. Look for tour operators who have accreditation’s from Green Globe, GSTC, Rainforest Alliance etc.
Stay in Sustainable Accommodation
Try and support the local business owners by staying in accommodations owned by them. This can include home stays and Airbnb’s. It will contribute to the local economy rather than help foreign resorts and hotels.
Look for Eco-friendly accommodations that run on solar power, employ local staff, and source food from local markets.
Avoid going to resorts or hotels because of their non-friendly environmental practices such as wasting electricity and water.
Avoid Over Tourism
Travel to offbeat destinations that are untouched and indulge yourself in trying out traditional delicacies at restaurants run by locals. Hire a local tour guide and venture out to areas not mentioned on the “tourist” trails. Participate in cultural activities that will further acquaint you with their traditional ways of celebration.
One way to support the local communities is by buying souvenirs made by people living there. It is better to avoid buying imported items as they have a larger carbon footprint. Also, it is much better to take home locally crafted souvenirs rather than something which does not compliment the destination’s identity.
Support Animal Welfare
Go ahead with wildlife tours that don’t disturb animals and ensure that all tourists are at a certain distance away from the animals. Avoid any wildlife tour that promises you a close encounter with animals, as such a practice may be unethical.
If animals are not used to human presence, it will tell you that this animal tourism activity might be unethical. Do thorough research to make sure tours are responsible and only engage in responsible wildlife tourism.
Be respectful towards local cultures and their practices. Read up on their values and rules in order to be more familiar with their rituals, beliefs and dress codes. Before coming to any conclusion, understand their philosophical viewpoints to have a better appreciation.
Help tackle the environmental impact of air travel by staying at a destination for a long period of time. Practice the art of slow travel as it will help you travel in a sustainable way. If you are committed to being a slow traveler then the most economical and environment friendly way is to do camping.
Slow travelling is a very unique approach to traveling because it helps a person connect with local people, their cultures and also indulge in local cuisines. It also helps educate a person while engaging in sustainable practices for local communities and the environment.
Educate Fellow Travellers
Share your sustainable travel experiences with both friends and family in order to educate them how important it is to protect the environment. The more you will be vocal about your travel exploits, the more people will understand how important it is to travel in a sustainable way.
Curated by Ruchit Rastogi