For the last couple of years we have adopted responsible traveling through many ways. However, the time we spent in the mountains was a major eye opener as a lot of things that can be done quickly and efficiently in the cities are far more complex in the mountains.
Now, keeping that in mind I have listed a few ways or tips that you can consciously follow and adopt traveling responsibly whether in the cities or mountains.
Mode of transport – Choose the mode of transport that is not time efficient but ‘eco-efficient’. The less impact it has on the environment the better it is for all of us. Public transport is considered to be the greenest mode of transport. You can take a bus or train as these reduce your emissions considerably as compared to a car or a domestic flight.
Travel light – The less weight we carry, the less fuel the vehicle uses and hence less carbon emission. This one takes little time as living in abundance has made us forget the difference between things that are essential to those that are good to have. But once you master the ability to travel only with essentials, it will take your travel experience to the next level. You will have less stuff to carry and roam around which in turn will take away a lot of stress and make your travel a lot more fun. You can then also take shared taxis and accommodation more easily and flexibly which will help in reducing cost and live/travel more efficiently within limited resources.
Packing reusable items –
- You can carry a reusable coffee mug that you can refill at the coffee shop in your hotel or from the coffee shops in the market.
- Tiffin box to carry either a packed lunch on the day you wish to have lunch on the go or also for packing the leftovers from the restaurant to consume later. Use this also at the road side eateries, ask them to serve you in your tiffin to avoid disposable plates.
- Bamboo/metal straw to enjoy tender coconut/fresh juices instead of using the plastic one.
- Metal/reusable bottle – Fill your bottle from the hotel before stepping out or at any restaurant/ coffee shops or even better from the fresh water streams during a hike in nature, instead of buying bottled water.
- Reusable cloth towels – Carry 2-4 small hand towels that you can use instead of paper towels/tissues, wash them at the end of day to be used the next day.
- Cloth Tote/reusable shopping bag – Do carry a reusable shopping bag whenever you step out.
Home, not hotels –
- Don’t ask for fresh towels until necessary, just like you would do at home. Same goes for the bedsheet.
- Switch off lights when you don’t need them.
- Take a bath with a bucket instead of a bathtub or shower. That will really help in conserving water. Especially in the mountains, water is a precious resource.
- Don’t ask for a campfire every night when you stay in the mountains as wood is a precious resource for the locals. They cut and store wood for cooking and keeping themselves warm through the harsh winters.
Enjoy local food – eating local produce cuts on the fuel that your food might use to arrive on your plate. It also supports local farmers and gives you an opportunity to get adventurous with your food choices.
Go for public transport – When you go for local sight-seeing take public transport instead of hiring a personal cab/taxi. That way you can reduce carbon emission and also get an opportunity to interact with locals and learn more about the place.
Buy Souvenirs mindfully
- Pick up a souvenir only if you are really into it or if it has a space in your house and it will bring you joy later.
- Carry a reusable shopping bag instead of picking a plastic bag which will take years to decompose.
Carry your trash – Make sure that you don’t leave your trash behind. Dedicate a small compartment in your backpack or purse and collect the trash you produce during your travel. Put it when you see a dustbin on the road side or bring it back to the hotel and dispose of it there.
Traveling responsibly is a constant learning and evolving process. There are no set rules or guidelines, keep your mind open, keep learning and educating yourself, also don’t forget to share your experiences with others. All it really takes is each individual traveler to travel responsibly and the world will be a better place.
Happy and Responsible Traveling..
The Seeking Soul