2019 was quite a year for the travel world – minimalist travel became a thing, every second person was on a sabbatical, and more people travelled for the ‘gram’ than ever before. However, amidst all the madness, 2019 was also the year when planet Earth sent out its message for help loud and clear. Popular tourist destinations like Venice and Maldives learnt this the hard way, and had to face the worst of climate change.
While the future of these places still remains uncertain, it’s time that people around the world unite in their approach towards sustainable travel. Contrary to popular belief, there is actually a lot that the travel community can do at their individual levels to make a difference. Here are a few travel resolutions that I plan to follow in 2020 and would urge every traveller to do the same. This year, let’s explore, not exploit!
1. I will not add to the burden
Picking a destination is one of those decisions that can go a long way in determining the kind of footprints you leave behind. Planning a trip to a place reeling under the effects of over tourism (read Manali and Shimla) is sheer disaster. Instead, go to places like Lakshadweep and Nelong Valley with controlled tourism – it is beneficial for both the environment and local economies.
2. I will make the right choices
Every time you check into a fancy hotel or order a meal at a boutique cafe, you end up contributing to the environmental crisis. Since profit-making is given high priority, more often than not, resources are wasted at these establishments. Sustainable stays and home kitchens might be hard to find and slightly expensive, but they make for a great alternate.
3. I will pack right
Let’s face it, none of us can resist a dose of pre-trip shopping. Interestingly, both online and offline stores now offer a range of eco-friendly products that will make your life easier without hampering the environment. Bamboo toothbrushes, organic beauty products, packing cubes made of recycled plastic and plastic-free sanitary products are some essentials that must find a place in your travel shopping list!
4. I will say no to plastic (and so should everyone!)
Single-use plastic is one of the biggest modern-day threats to humanity. As travellers, it becomes very important for us to discourage its use at every step. Carry bio-degradable bags that can be reused throughout the trip, refuse plastic straws at restaurants and make refilling your water bottle a habit. Remember, every step counts!
5. I will conserve limited resources
Many parts of the world are already running out of resources and it is only a matter of time that each one of us gets directly affected. So, the next time you travel, make it a point to use naturally occurring resources wisely. Opting for public transport, using limited water and switching off appliances when not in use are some choices that all of us must make.
6. I will not harm plants and animals
Connecting with nature is something all of us love doing while travelling. However, sometimes these tourist attractions end up being life threatening for the flora and fauna. It is advisable to do thorough research before signing up for activities that involve plants and animals. If you really want to do it, just walk into a plantation or feeding drive. Trust me when I say this, it is the most therapeutic thing you can do on a vacation.
7. I will not litter
A rule that all of us need to live by (not just while travelling), littering is a strict no. In fact, the concept of littering becomes an even wider concept when you’re out there – don’t blast your bluetooth speakers, don’t scribble your names on monuments and don’t be rude to the locals. Remember, every time you visit a new place, you are a guest and it is important to act like one.