Travel and tourism industry is one of the largest contributors to the global economy with a record of 7.6 trillion USD in 2014 and it is only here to grow. With every travel enthusiast seeking to hop on their next big adventure right from swimming with sharks in South Africa to trekking the highest points of Himalaya, the wander bug bitten heart yearns for more and more.
A few trends that show travel industry will grow manifold in years to come:
- Every 3rd person I met during my travel was on a Blesiure trip, what is that you ask? Business + Leisure, when some one ditched their cubicle and decides to work on the go for months on either a freelance basis or take up projects. Well, staring at the laptop screen by the beach is somehow much motivating.
- With internet and dozens of mobile applications, it has become very easy to plan your own travel hassle free. Everything in available on a tap- Information about the country, Must visit places, Getting in, Getting around, Accommodation. Basically, everything!
- Rise of Experiential travel and Slow travel, a host of companies selling experiences with aggressive marketing has created a need among people to indulge in experiential travel.
The list could go on, the point being we all love to travel and most of us take out time to travel. But, the question is do we travel responsibly? Have you thought of steps that could lead to responsible travel leading to a guilt free travel?
What do you mean by Responsible Travel?
A responsible holiday is not different from your usual holiday. It gives you thrill, adventure, rest and rejuvenation – and everything else you seek from your travel plans. Along with all of that it gives you contentment that your leisure plans has impacted the world in a better way.
When you take a responsible holiday you make sure that your carbon foot prints are reduced, you respect the sentiments of the local community and give back to the them instead of giving more to big multinationals. Responsible travel ensures we create sustainable places to live and to visit.
A few things you can keep in mind to ensure you travel responsibly:
Before the trip
- Pack a Green Suitcase: As the name suggests think green, pack only what you need to reduce your waste disposal on the go, also more weight burns more fuel. Bring in reusable item, instead of carrying books use E-books and lastly pack only the essentials.
- Preparing Your Home: Basics like- stop the news paper subscription and turn off the power.
- Study the Issues at the country you are visiting and be aware of them.
- Evaluating Responsible Tour Companies: If you are going via a tour company might as well book through a service provider who is offering responsible holiday.
- Explore Transportation Options: A cross country travel requires flying but a small trip can be done via a train (uses half the energy used in any other form of transport) one can also have a biking trip.
During the trip
- Respect the cultural sentiments and the traditions.
- Be aware of the body language different signs have different meaning in various countries be vary of them and do not use any offensive signs. Learn a few phrases in the language. It is always good to hear someone say ‘Thank You’ in your language.
- Stay Local: Instead of staying in a hotel chain try a home-stay or a locally owned hostel. This way you get to live with locals, who would tell you the “must do” which might not even be listed in your guide book. You make new friends and help a local family financially and otherwise.
- Shop locally: Try to shop souvenir and other products at a local shop rather than a chain of stores or the airport. This way you not only support the economy you end up meeting interesting and enthusiastic locals.
- Be respectful while clicking pictures, be polite and ask.
- Proper waste management: Make sure you dispose off garbage in bins and keep your wastage minimal.
- Respect the wildlife, nature and environmental laws
- Means of transport: Try to walk or use a bicycle as much as possible. While hiring a bike/car try to look for the ones that emit low pollution and are serviced well, try to use public transport if it is a couple or a small group instead of hiring a taxi.
In the past we have seen the effects of global warming, distressed wildlife due to deforestation, developing economies not being very well benefited by bigger players, increasing pollution and drastic effects on some of the worlds magnificent sites due to high inflow of irresponsible tourist. It is the need of the hour to travel more responsibly, together let us pledge to make this world a better place one country at a time.
If you have more ideas on how one can take a responsible holiday feel free to comment below and share.
Happy Travelling (Responsibly) 🙂