21 Simple Tips to be a Responsible Traveller

21 Simple Tips to be a Responsible Traveller


Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian BloggersReduce the impact of your travelling on the environment and communities around you with these simple adjustments.

Seeing new places and experiencing new things are probably the most obvious reasons for a traveller to travel. Sadly, as a traveller, we almost inevitably have a negative impact—both on the environment and the communities in the areas we visit.

So if you’re travelling for business or pleasure, in luxury or as a backpacker, and in the mountains or at the seaside, and if you’re concerned about the impact you’re having while travelling, some of these tips may just make it a little easier on the planet. And on your conscience.

Reduce the impact of your travelling on the environment and communities around you with these simple adjustments.

Seeing new places and experiencing new things are probably the most obvious reasons for a traveller to travel. Sadly, as travellers, we almost inevitably have a negative impact—both on the environment and the communities in the areas we visit.

So if you’re travelling for business or pleasure, in luxury or as a backpacker, and in the mountains or at the seaside, and if you’re concerned about the impact you’re having while travelling, some of these tips may just make it a little easier on the planet. And on your conscience.

Travelling and sightseeing

  1. Travel in as straight a line as possible

The longer your route, the more fuel you burn. So you might want to consider avoiding a zig-zag route and trying to schedule your stopovers in a straight line instead.

  1. Use your airline’s carbon offset program

Many airlines these days have some sort of carbon offset program that allows you to compensate for the fuel burnt on your journey by supporting greenhouse gas reduction projects. The projects can be planting a certain number of trees per passenger, protection of virgin forests, renewable energy production, efficient domestic fuel consumption projects in developing countries and more. So pay a tiny bit extra and take a little of those carbon emissions back.

  1. Avoid hiring a car or cab to sightsee

While hiring a car or taxi to see the sights might be the easiest option, it’s also one of the most fuel-intensive. You could reduce your fuel consumption by using public transport, carpooling with fellow visitors, or hiring a motorcycle instead of a car. You could even eliminate fuel completely by cycling or walking—probably the best ways to see a new place, anyway.

  1. Avoid multiple trips in the same direction

At your destination, chances are you’ll be making lots of trips in different directions. If you’re using vehicles to get around, plan your time so that you cover lots of things in a particular direction at once. That means you don’t have to burn extra fuel to go in the same direction again.

21 tips to be a responsible traveler

Eating and drinking

  1. Carry your own water bottle

We throw away thousands of tons of plastic each month, a lot of which finds its ways into the river and oceans, into the stomachs of sea life, and back into the food chain. So carrying your own refillable bottle is a great way to keep a few more plastic bottles from floating around the world’s oceans. Refill your bottle whenever you can, and each time is one less ‘disposable’ bottle that gets thrown away.

  1. Drink tap water wherever it’s safe

In many countries, it’s perfectly safe to drink water straight out of the tap. If you’re not completely sure, you should be able to use the electric kettle in your hotel room to boil the water for drinking (though how to balance the electricity consumed with the plastic saved is up to you). In many tropical countries, coconut water is easily available and is a fun, healthy and tasty substitute for bottled water. You could even buy a filter bottle like GRAYL or LifeStraw to make sure you have clean water to drink wherever you go.

  1. Ask for straws to be left out of your drinks

When you order a juice or soft drink, chances are that it’ll come with a plastic straw. These straws make up a significant percentage of the plastic that finds its way into the oceans, so the fewer straws the better! Remember to tell your server before your drink arrives. Once it’s in your drink, taking it out probably means that it’ll get thrown away anyway. And if you can’t survive without a straw, why not take your own along? There are even reusable glass and metal straws available out there!

  1. Carry your own cutlery for street food

Street food will give you a flavour (pardon the pun) of the place you’re visiting. Sadly, it’ll also probably come with single-use plastic cutlery. If you’re planning on a tasty street food outing, try and carry your own cutlery along a little less plastic gets thrown away. Even better, you’ll know for sure that your own set is clean!

  1. Eat in smaller eateries vs. big restaurants

Most destinations have their touristy ‘must-visit’ restaurants. Instead of eating in a place like that, why not visit a smaller local restaurant instead? You’ll have a more authentic experience, and smaller restaurants tend to source a lot of their ingredients locally, so they use less fuel to transport their stuff.

  1. Buy glass bottles and jars instead of plastic

It’s probably inevitable that you’ll have to buy a bottled drink during one of your trips. But glass is much less harmful to the environment and much more likely to be recycled, than plastic. So why not buy a drink in a glass bottle instead of a plastic one? And the same goes for things in jars too. Making peanut butter sandwiches for that picnic on the beach? Buy a glass jar instead of a plastic one.

  1. Finish food or pack it for later

Most restaurants you visit will probably serve you more than you can comfortably eat. If you’re willing to stuff yourself, then no problem! But if not, you might want to think about packing it up to eat later instead of leaving it to be thrown away. It’ll save you the money and energy involved in another meal. Plus the energy and fuel it took to create the meal won’t be wasted.

Accommodation

  1. Stay in hotels that take sustainability seriously

More and more hotels are starting to realize that being sustainable isn’t really a choice anymore. So whether a hotel uses solar power, recycles water, composts food waste or involves the local community, staying there will help reduce your own impact.

  1. Turn off appliances when leaving your room

Running appliances like lights, fans, heating and air-conditioning takes a lot of carbon-emitting electricity, especially when a large number of people are involved. So turn off all the appliances in your room before you leave—unless you’re leaving just a few minutes. And though it’s understandable to want your room to be comfortable as soon as you walk in, it just takes a few minutes to cool down or warm up, right?

  1. Turn the heating or AC down a notch, and dress to compensate

Heating and air-conditioning are extremely energy intensive, so whether you’re burning heating oil to stay warm or using electricity to stay cool, using a little less will make a difference. So if you can turn the heating or air-conditioning down a little, and wear an extra layer more or less to make up for it, why not?

  1. Change your towel and bedsheets only when you need to

Do we really need our towels and bed sheets changed every day? Linen uses a lot of water, detergent and electricity to clean—especially if they’re white. So if you’re just staying for a few days, it shouldn’t be a problem to use the same sheets and towels, right?

  1. Take used bars of hotel soap with you

If you’ve used those little bars of soap left for you in your hotel bathroom, you’ve probably realized that even those tiny little bars take a few days to use up. So if you’ve only used a bar of soap once or twice, you could easily take it along and use it at your next hotel instead of opening up a new one there. Even better, why not carry your own soap and shampoo?

Other Tips

  1. Leave no waste behind

Litter is a huge problem in lots of beautiful destinations. Not only does it spoil things for other tourists, but it harms the local environment. Make sure you throw waste only into designated bins and carry it with you if there aren’t any. Remember that ‘disposable’ is just a nice word for ‘cheap to make and throw away’, without ‘safe’ featuring anywhere in the description.

  1. Be mindful of the water situation

Water is becoming very scarce in lots of parts of the world. Even in places where there’s lots of it, it takes huge amounts of energy to treat and supply it to where it’s needed. So if you’re used to 30-minute showers or long soaks in the tub, ask a local about the overall availability of water and decide whether those are still worth it.

  1. Pack a little less

A lot of the weight on planes, trains and buses is from luggage. And the heavier they are, the more fuel they burn. So see if you can pack a little less, cut down a little weight, and save a little fuel. It all adds up. Using a smaller suitcase might even mean you can hire a smaller taxi to get around.

  1. Bring back responsible souvenirs

Everyone likes to bring home a souvenir from a place they’ve just visited. But was that tee-shirt you bought made in a sweatshop staffed by children? Was that coral necklace made with live coral hacked off a reef? Try and find something to remember a place by that isn’t harmful to the environment or the local communities. And if you must buy something, government-run shops usually abide by local sustainability laws.

  1. Visit during shoulder season

Peak season is the best time to visit a place. Sadly, for lots of destinations, it’s also the time when the number of visitors becomes almost unmanageable. With the sudden increase in people, resources are pushed to the limit. And this usually means that the locals suffer while the visitors get the lion’s share. So think about visiting just before or just after peak season—the experience will be almost as good, and you won’t be contributing to the resource crunch.

About the author

Irfan Quader is a former Communications professional who gave up the corporate life to become a full-time blogger. His blog The Good Life With IQ combines his love for writing with his passion for travelling, vegetarianism and sustainability. Visit https://thegoodlifewithiq.com for first-person travel experiences, vegetarian recipes and reviews, and sustainability tips.



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