By Milda Urban, Summersalt Yoga founder
Responsible travel – the topic that gains more and more attention in the world. And we can’t be happier, because guys, it’s 2016 and if you haven’t started already – it is the time to start travelling responsibly. We are implementing and promoting responsible travel and tourism in our Summersalt Yoga Retreats and we also want to help you take the simplest necessary steps to start doing so too.
Here are 8 tips on how to start travelling responsibly wherever you go.
1. Pack light. Do not take loads of stuff in order “just to have a better choice”. Not only you will save money by not paying baggage fees and so help increase plane fuel-efficiency, but you will also need to wash less and so save water too.
2. Take fewer fuel flights and rent hybrid cars. If possible choose Boeing 777 or Airbus 345 as it is a way to reduce your carbon footprint. Soon Boeing 787 planes will be available as the best option to reduce fuel consumption by 27 percent compared to other similarly sized aircraft. When renting a car do not go with the biggest and most fuel-consuming one. Hybrid will not only save you money but will also help with minimizing emissions and carbon footprint.
3. Buy and eat local. When you need to buy food, souvenirs and other goods look for local shops and markets this way supporting local communities and economies. Even if you love the world-wide chain fast food place, when travelling eat at local restaurants and bistros – you will learn and experience the local cuisine and support the village or town you’re visiting.
4. Shop smart. It is easy to get carried away when shopping exotic items in faraway countries, but make sure that what you’re buying is not illegal, endangered or otherwise not responsible (local artefacts, endangered plants, even stolen goods..)
5. Save energy and water. Do you really need to take 3 showers per day and get your sheets changed every day of the week? Do you also need to leave your AC running while you’re out exploring? Use “Do not disturb” signs to show that you do not need washing, cleaning and a new change of towels and contribute to saving water, energy and limit the use of cleaning chemicals.
6. Recycle and reuse. Do not buy a new bottle of water every time you’re thirsty – get a reusable one and just fill it up! Do not gather multiple maps and brochures and then throw them out around the corner. If you really used them and need to get rid of at the end of the trip – find a place to recycle.
7. Respect local nature and culture. Walk only on the indicated trails in the parks and reserves, do not litter (have a trash bag with you), do not pick plants, feed animals or anyway harm the surroundings. Be respectful of local traditions (even if you do not understand/agree with them) – wear covers if asked in churches or temples, do not take photos if asked etc.
8. Be a traveller, not just a tourist. Yes, visiting the most famous landmarks is fun, but try to not only put a “check” on your list, but get into the local culture and lifestyle. Allow yourself a cultural shock, meet some locals and do not be afraid to get out of your comfort zone. That’s the only way to REALLY travel.