Try these sustainable practices to make your travel this year a delight, instead of a bother for you, others and nature.
By Riaan George
Responsible tourism is the way forward. But a sustainable travel plan isn’t just limited to booking an eco-friendly resort, and not wrecking historical monuments anymore. It has now extended to carefully planning your vacation in a way that it also supports local communities, aids conversation of wildlife and natural resources, and has an overall positive impact on the environment. Here are few simple sustainable practices through which you can do your bit, as a responsible traveller, to ease your impact on the planet.
Opt for local experiences to give back to the economy of the place you visit. This is an extremely important aspect of sustainable travel and a very easy one to imbibe. Kick-start your planning with simple research and explore ways how you can promote local businesses during your travels. Go to cafes or restaurants owned by local people. Ditch mass-produced commercial souvenirs for those made by local craftsmen or artists. Perhaps even patronise local guides. This way, your tourist money goes right into the economy and you are being, in your own little way, a responsible traveller.
Enjoy the ride
If youʼre not rushed, consider touring the destination on a cycle or simply by walking. Cities like Paris, Amsterdam, New York and Singapore, are best explored on foot or bikes. Most major tourist cities have special cycling tours that you can sign up for. You will not only help the environment but will also see the city in a unique, and more experiential fashion.
Carry a metal or a glass water bottle and a handy tote bag to avoid using plastic. A reusable water bottle is a great way to be a conscious traveller. Not many tourists would think of it but it would be nice to pack in that extra bottle (or even a coffee cup) in your backpack before you step out for sightseeing.
You might not have thought about it at first, but eating local food made with home-grown ingredients is a great way to show your support to the local communities. So as much as possible, pick dishes and drinks with ingredients that come from as close to your destination as possible. You never know—this dish could be your next favourite!