- A good traveller is a mindful traveller. Do you follow these simple green travel tips?
Work, save, travel, repeat. That this phrase appears on hundreds of merchandise crafted for millennials across the world is a telling sign that travel is the new romance. And the affair isn’t ending anytime soon. The reasons to travel are infinite – new place, new reasons.
Already one of the largest industries in the world, it is only expected to grow in the future. This means that if you are a traveller, you are a) lucky b) contributing to the global economy and c) have an added responsibility to conduct yourself consciously – because travel also contributes hugely to the world’s carbon and ecological footprint. Given that travel one must, here are a few simple things to follow to make it a mindful exercise.
1. Say no to plastic water bottles
Mineral water bottles rule the landfills. Just carry your own bottle and keep refilling it as and when you can. If you’re not sure of the water quality, get a bottle with a filter. If your hotel provides bottled water, simply decline it.
2. Buy local
Shopping at mass market departmental stores on a holiday takes away from your chance to help sustain local businesses. Ensure that you buy local on a holiday. Besides, there’s so much more romance in a locally handcrafted article. And in case of perishables, they’re certainly fresher when locally sourced!
3. Choose a green accommodation
From running a sustainable kitchen and using solar power to saying no to one-time use plastic, there are lots of ways in which eco-hotels or ‘ecotels’ help reduce the strain on the environment. Choose your accommodation wisely.
4. Avoid flying (take the train)
Did you know that the greenhouse gases emitted during a round trip between the east coast and west coast in the US, is equal to 20 per cent of the amount generated by your car in a year? It doesn’t help to think that ‘the flight will go with or without me’. Flight patterns are determined by flyers’ demands. Fewer people flying means fewer trips on a certain route. If possible, ditch the flight to take the train or bus.
5. Stay away from unethical tourist attractions
By this we mean taking selfies with drugged and caged animals, riding distressed animals etc. Most animal-based activities cause much cruelty so make sure that you indulge only in the ones that you know are not crossing the line.
6. Carry your own cutlery and cloth bag
Travel often includes a street food binge at places that almost never use sustainable cutlery. So carry your own – a cup, a plate and a spoon. Straw, if you must. And of course, always carry your own cloth bag for all your travel shopping.
7. Reduce your laundry load
Most hotels wash every guest’s clothes separately – even if it’s just a pair of jeans, leading to wasting an entire load worth of water. So avoid giving your clothes for laundry at the hotel. Also, try and reuse your towels during the stay. If you don’t wash your towels at home every day, why do so in a hotel? Hanging up the towel is a universal sign that it’s good for another go.
8. Return brochures/pamphlets
Unless you plan to go over them again (which we’re sure you won’t) don’t keep the brochures and pamphlets. They can be reused.
9. Use hotel resources mindfully
We’d recommend carrying your own sanitary supplies but if you do plan on using the hotels’ make sure that you don’t leave them half-used because they’re almost always discarded by the hotel.
10. Be sensitive to local customs
Experiencing a foreign culture is a big part of the travel experience. Ensure that you enjoy a slice of the foreign life while also being respectful of the culture of the place.
11. Trash junk food
When on a holiday, savour the local fare and ditch packaged foods (especially chips, instant noodles etc.) that leave behind a trace for centuries.
12. Take your trash with you
The charm of most secluded tourist spots for the city folk, is the fact that they’re cut-off from the mainstream culture. This often means that a lot of the places don’t have a very effective waste collection system. Make sure that you carry your trash back with you so you can discard it appropriately or recycle it when you return home.
We’re a team that is unlearning modern-day, convenient living to be able to lead an environmentally ethical life, and in the process sharing our insights with our readers.