Travel plays an important part of our bucket lists and vision boards, but we hardly ever stop to think about the repercussions our dream trip could have on the planet. According to a World Meteorological Organisation report, 2014 to 2019 were some of the hottest years recorded. “We need an urgent global response to bring climate crisis under control and as travellers, there’s a lot we can do to mitigate the situation. Let’s face it – travelling opens up the world, and ethical travelling protects it,” says Rahul Singh, co-founder and CEO of Ithaka.
For starters, ethical travel isn’t a killjoy and to ensure it isn’t, here’s a list of things you can do differently. You may find that you are probably doing a few of these things already.
Carry reusable bags
We all make time for shopping on trips, but at what cost? Plastic is choking our planet. So every time a vendor offers you a plastic bag, turn it down. Just so you know – plastic takes anywhere between 10 to 1,000 years to decompose. That’s why plastic bags are a big NO! Instead, carry reusable cloth bags. They are cheaper (in the long run) and more environmentally friendly.
This thumb rule also applies to plastic water bottles. Instead of purchasing a new bottle each time, carry a reusable bottle (not plastic) and refill it at your hotel, at restaurants, or wherever you can find filtered water. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also be helping the planet. Each bottle of plastic takes more than 450 years to decompose. So, make this a conscious choice.
Alternatively, if you’re visiting a place where the water could be unsafe, consider carrying a portable water purifier. This will ensure that the water you’re drinking is clean.
Find eco-friendly accommodation
Make the choice to stay in an eco-friendly property, which follows green living practices. These hotels work with the natural ecosystem around them by using organic materials, renewable energy, and recycling programmes. Enjoy your stay, without compromising on comfort.
Use public transport
Getting into a cab after a long and tiring flight is surely convenient and no one deserves grief for it. But one way to reduce your carbon footprint is to use public transport, especially with it getting better everywhere. “Local transport is more fuel-efficient and cost-effective. For shorter distances, choose to walk instead. It’s one of the best ways to explore and experience a place. Not only will you be doing your bit to help the environment, but you’ll also be saving a fair bit,” adds Singh.
Say no to fresh linen every day
A good hotel will always provide fresh laundry, towels, etc, to make the stay comfortable. And we love fresh linen as much as you do but every day need not be laundry day. Much like you’d do at home, reuse that towel and bed linen for at least a couple of days (unless, of course, it’s filthy). Reusing hotel fabrics means a lighter laundry load, thus reducing the resources needed for the hotel to function.