How To Be An Eco Friendly Traveler By Taking Care Of The Smallest Things
When we travel, either with our family, friends or solo, having fun, making memories and having a blast is usually the topmost to-dos on the list. Being eco-friendly while travelling?or being an 'eco-friendly tourist' is not something that we are mindful of. However, given how dire the need for every human being to reduce his/her carbon footprint and plastic usage is, it's smart to be an eco-friendly traveller. Being committed to environment also requires the traveller in you to be friendly. And here are the easiest way you can do that.?
1. Carry your own bag
Imagine you are out shopping, which you will because well, you are on a trip. You buy 5 different types of items, could be local spices or some other edibles along with show pieces and all five vendors give you five separate plastic carry bags, which will eventually be thrown away by you. Even when we buy something as small as a toothpaste or a pack of cards, shopkeepers tend to use plastic carry bags. It is also because the customer demands a carry bag, one got to keep those belongings somewhere.?
You can easily and massively reduce the consumption of these plastic bag by carrying your own jute or cloth bag. They are bigger, stronger and reusable. Plus some of them are cool to look at, it will add to the hippie traveller?vibe. Okay may be that should not be the winning criteria here but doing something as simple as carrying own bags can bring down plastic consumption rapidly.?
2. Carry your own cutlery?
Even though large scale and some small scale industries are trying to dump the use of single use plastic altogether the day when there is a 100% ban is still some years away. The simple reason is that plastic is the cheap and there are probably no competitive alternatives to them in the market right now. And local places are the definite stops on a trip, those chai and maggi points especially. So even as you personally are trying to reduce your plastic imprint, you’ll realise if you depend on external factors, that might not be truly possible. Because the maggi wale bhaiya and the momo wali aunty are still using the plastic forks and plates.?
So what do to? Very simply carry the good old reliable steel fork and a tiny plate with you and you are prepared to tackle the plastic monster. Having a metal straw in your utensils bag won’t harm either, they are reusable. These might also come in handy at places which do not have clean cutlery. If you have your own, you are prepared for anything traveller.?
3. Bottle up
Also, carry your own water bottle. One of the best ways in which we consume single-use plastic is by buying water bottles when we travel.
Make sure to fill your bottle up at every opportunity you get, you will have no need to buy packaged water then.?
4. Cycle or drive electric vehicles
One of the best ways to explore a place is to really feel the air and travel through the roads with patience and what better way to do that than riding cycles? Not only will renting a cycle cost you less than a car and leave no carbon footprint behind, it will also enhance the experience of your trip.?
If you need to travel larger distances you should try and rent electric vehicles if possible. They do not require fuel, which would contribute to you being an eco-friendly traveller. Though make sure the route you travel has charging points.
What could be better than reaching destinations and not even spending a penny? Hitchhike. Not only does it enhance the experience of the travel; you get to know more people, make acquaintances with the locals of the place but it saves you money.
But if by any chance you get shady vibes from the person who are hitching a ride with, it might not be the best idea to do so.?
6. Use ride sharing in city
So you do that in your own place, travel by sharing rides? Why not do that when you go out? Every place now usually have services like Ola, Uber, Shuttl, Quick Rides, they are not only cheaper but also reduce your carbon footprint considerably. Also you might get to meet local people, make acquaintances and get to know of more places you can visit. You save money, you reduce your carbon footprint and you get to have a good time- win, win, win.?
Also you can take those tourist buses which are purposed for touring. Look at the place you are visiting with other strangers from around the world.?
7. Air travel vs sea travel
Greta Thunberg the teen climate activist from Sweden has given up travelling?by air as the carbon emission contribute to climate change. In September she was in Europe and she made sure to travel to all the events by train. The month before that travelled?by a zero-emission sailboat to the US where she was attend the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York.
Point is, if you are really committed to the fight against climate change, there are ways you can do that on a larger scale. Of course it may not always be possible to get away with air travel on foreign sojourns, but travelling by train while you're abroad is still possible.?
8. The hotel is your home
It's hard not wanting to be treated lavishly or be careless at hotels. It is a vacation after all. But to really make the travel eco-friendly, one should stay at a hotel like one would stay at home. That means - not taking long showers, turn of unrequited switches, like that of the TV, not use extra towels when not required, drink water from glass instead of having packaged single use plastic bottles.
If you simply be the environment friendly person you are at home, when you travel, you will be massively reducing your carbon footprint.?
We just do not have to be environment friendly when it is convenient, when we are at home and have the time for it. Being eco-friendly is something that needs to be a part of our lifestyle, it has to be a way of living and therefore it has to be a part of the way we travel.?
Illustration By Ranak Mann