World Tourism Day 2019: Here are 14 ways to travel responsibly

Updated: Sep 27, 2019, 10:54 IST | mid-day online correspondent | Mumbai

Ethical travel isn't a killjoy and to ensure it isn't, on World Tourism Day, here's a list of things that you can do differently

This picture has been used for representational purpose
This picture has been used for representational purpose

Travel has always been an important part of our bucket lists and vision boards, but we hardly ever consider what repercussions our dream trip would have on this 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. For starters, ethical travel isn't a killjoy and to ensure it isn't, here's a list of things suggested by Ithaka, a travel planner that you can do differently.

Packing light

This is probably the simplest of all. Carrying fewer bags not only makes it easy for you to move around but also helps save on some fast replenishing energy (read fuel – the higher the load, the more fuel consumption). Travelling light doesn't have to mean you don't get to carry your favourite clothes on the trip anymore. For instance, carry one swimsuit instead of the three you couldn't decide between.

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 1000 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.

Reusable bottles

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, you will 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 are 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 and walk when necessary

Getting into a cab after a long and tiring flight is sure 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 transports are 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 will also be saving a fair bit.

Fly economy

Yes, we know… you were flying coach anyway, because who can afford a Business Class ticket? But did you know, flying Business accounts for more carbon emissions than flying Economy? One Business Class seat occupies the same space as 3-4 Economy seats. This reduces the plane's passenger carrying capacity, making travel inefficient. So the next time you plan your travel, one way would be to opt instead for a low-cost airline or just skip the business seat.

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.

Turn it off

Remember family members trying to cut down on the electricity bills by switching off fans and lights when not needed (sometimes, even when we were right there in the room)? Turns out they had a point after all. Turning off switches, not in use (even charging points) can save tonnes of energy. So, switch off electrical gadgets and appliances in the hotel room before stepping out, just like you’d do back home. Don’t want to come back to a hot and stuffy room? Leave one of the windows slightly ajar (only if it’s safe), or draw the curtains to keep out the sunlight.

World Tourism Day 2019: Here are 14 ways to travel responsiblyThis image has been used for representational purpose

Eat local every once in a while

The best way to get a flavour of a place is to get a taste of their cuisine. Eating local not only helps you immerse yourself in the native culture but also helps the local community. All foreign produce needs importing, which in turn ups the carbon footprint.

Segregate waste

This is a small gesture that goes a long way. It not only helps reduce the production of harmful greenhouse gases but also helps distinguish between recyclable and non-recyclable items. So try segregating waste in your hotel rooms and Airbnbs, much like you would back home – small favour you'd be doing yourself and the hospitality staff.

Leave a place prettier than you found it

'No littering' is a mantra we have grown up with. We work hard at keeping our homes spotlessly clean, so why not go one step further when travelling? It takes less than a minute and costs you nothing. And if that’s a difficult task, just make sure you clean up after yourself.

Shop local and avoid haggling

Be kind and payback. It's a nice gesture. To give something back to the community, buy from local artisans and workers, instead of shopping for brands. And more so avoid haggling. While local art might seem a tad expensive (local vendors are notorious for quoting a higher price to tourists than other people), you'll certainly be contributing towards fair trade, which is priceless!

Be aware of the products you are using

No tropical holiday's complete without sunscreen. But did you know that the toxins and chemicals we slather on our bodies are causing irreversible damage to aquatic life, in particular, coral reefs? A study conducted by the National Park Service (in the US) estimated that 4,000 to 6,000 tonnes of sunscreen enters reef areas annually. Harmful ingredients like oxybenzone cause the corals to become sick, bleach (turn white), and eventually die. An easy solution is to use reef-friendly sunscreens. Look for sunscreens that are natural or those that avoid oxybenzone.

Care for other species

A lot of our travel plans include jungle safaris, snorkelling, and other such activities that bring us closer to wildlife. You can make a difference here as well – sign up for activities that do not harm animals. Let's face it – animal rides or shows are rarely, if ever, cruelty-free. Ensure you visit only reputable zoos and sanctuaries with a proven track record in conservation – places where animals are treated ethically.

Travelling responsibly does not take the joy out of our holiday, but it does a world of good to our planet. Ethical travel ensures the earth remains pristine not just for you and me but for future generations as well. So next time you travel, head out with a conscience.

Also Read: Five hacks to save money when travelling internationally during peak season 

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World Tourism Day: These funky hostels in India are every backpacker's dream!
  • 1/17

    Jungle Hostel in Goa

    Jungle offers dorms that are ideal for anyone who wants to meet new people and keep the budget in check. All bunk beds have personal lockers and they provide a free basic breakfast for all guests. All private rooms and AC dorms are located in a separate building that is a 5-minute walk away from the main hostel. The building is equipped with free wifi, hot water and its very own jungle.

    Prices starting from Rs 550

  • 2/17

    Red Door in Goa

    If you are looking for a cheap but comfortable backpacker’s hostel close to the beach in Goa, Red Door hostel is the answer. Located a stone throw away from the Anjuna beach, this pet-friendly hostel is surrounded by eateries and shops. It offers air-conditioned four-and six-bed with private lockers, free Wi-Fi, a garden, a well-equipped kitchen and a wonderfully laidback cafe-bar. Laundry and dry cleaning services are also available.

    Prices starting from Rs 300

  • 3/17

    Jugaad in Delhi

    Located near two of Delhi’s busiest tourist draws, Sarojini Nagar and Hauz Khas Village, Jugaad has an airy common room with minimalist decor, rooms named after historic monuments (Mehrauli, Lodhi, Siri etc) and an open terrace with cane furniture and colourful upholstery. Facilities include access to a PlayStation, a steam room, washing machines and free parking.

    Prices starting from Rs 699

  • 4/17

    Go Stop In Rishikesh

    Go Stop in Rishikesh is only a walking distance to Laxman Jhula with an awesome outdoor chilling point, lovely rooftop with a breathtaking view and soothing spiritual vibes. This hostel offers ensuite bathroom, free wifi, air conditioning rooms, home theatre, 24/7 Tuck Shop, 24/7 kitchen, public computers, exchange library, 24/7 common Area, laundry service, rooftop hotel and indoor games.

    Prices starting from Rs 231

  • 5/17

    Hostel Lavie in McLeod Ganj

    Hostel Lavie is located 8.8 km from HPCA Stadium in Dharamshala and offers free WiFi and terrace throughout the property. This hostel also provides its guests with a restaurant Indian breakfast every morning. The hostel offers amenities like restaurant, Non-smoking rooms, Terrace, Internet services, Laundry, WiFi, Lockers, Daily maid service, shared lounge/TV area, Board games/puzzles

    Prices starting from Rs 299

  • 6/17

    Social Rehab in Banglore

    Located in Indiranagar in Bangalore, Social Rehab offers affordable and comfortable space for backpackers. Other than a kitschy common room with books, board games and DVD collections, the hostel also provides facilities like free Wi-Fi, free parking, a shared kitchen and a 24-hour front desk that arranges vehicles for hire and trips to Hampi, Mysore, and Goa.

    Prices starting from Rs 900 (breakfast included)

  • 7/17

    Go Stop In Dalhousie

    Located in the charming village of Karelnu, Go Stop hostel in Dalhousie is housed a few kilometres away from all the hustle and bustle of the main city. The town of Dalhousie is known for its sky-high deodar trees, exotic birds, overwhelming views and mountain-fresh air! The hostel offers amenities like Tensuite bathroom, free wifi, air conditioning rooms, home theatre, 24/7 Tuck Shop, 24/7 kitchen, public computers, exchange library, 24/7 common Area, laundry service, rooftop hotel and indoor games.

    Prices starting from Rs 436

  • 8/17

    Backpacker Panda in Pune

    This vibrant hostel is the first backpacking hostel in the city, one of a kind, located in Koregaon Park, a stone’s throw away from the world-renowned Osho Ashram. Replete with air-conditioned rooms, free Wi-Fi, a restaurant and bar, city maps, spacious common area, clean washrooms, a washing machine and cycles for rent. The accommodation includes 2 double bed superior private rooms, 4 bed mixed dormitories and 6-bed female/mixed dormitories.

    Prices starting from Rs 499

  • 9/17

    Zostel in Kochi

    Zostel Kochi is a homely, cosy backpacker hostel nestled among Portuguese houses in Fort Kochi close to all popular spots. Equipped with female & mixed dorms as well as private rooms - Zostel has something to offer for everyone, including a small cafe inside the hostel. It offers amenities like bedside lamps, lockers in-house, laundry services, common hangout area, free Wi-Fi, water dispenser and breakfast.

    Prices starting from Rs 549

  • 10/17

    Backpacker Panda Appetite in Mumbai

    Backpacker Panda Appetite in Andheri in Mumbai offers bunk beds in comfortable dorms with AC, private bathrooms and coffee machines. Other facilities include washing machines, free Wi-Fi, private lockers, a shared kitchenette, a lounge with funky decor and a cozy library.

    Prices starting from Rs 702

  • 11/17

    Moustache Hostel in Jaipur

    Moustache Hostel situated in Jaipur exudes Rajasthani character in its traditional patterns and furnishings. The rooms are spick and span with comfortable beds, and there is also a kitchen, common space, free Wi-Fi access, and three common spaces. An added bonus is the spectacular view of Nahargarh Fort from the rooftop.

    Prices starting from Rs 670

  • 12/17

    Roadhouse in Goa

    Founded in 2014 by a group of school friends, Roadhouse is a chain of backpackers hostels that provides bunk beds in air-conditioned dormitories, a cosy common room with free Wi-Fi, a library and a recreational room equipped with a PlayStation, a fooseball table and a pool table. The centrally located hostels also have women-only dormitories and tie-ups with local walking tours.

    Prices starting from Rs 400

  • 13/17

    Le Pension in Jaipur

    With a name that means 'bed and breakfast' in French, Le Pension is a place for those looking for a quiet stay away from the hustle and bustle of the main city. Featuring Rajasthani and Gujarati influences in its simple yet chic decor, the hostel offers AC dorms, free Wi-Fi, a shared recreational area and a terrace cafe that is perfect for a lazy afternoon with a book and cup of tea.

    Prices starting from Rs 400

  • 14/17

    Zostel hostel in Srinagar

    Zostel hostel is located in Nishat area at 5-minute walking distance from Dal Lake. it is vibrantly decorated and reflects the culture of Kashmir. Zostel has something to offer for everyone, including a small cafe inside the hostel. It offers amenities like bedside lamps, lockers in-house, laundry services, common hangout area, free Wi-Fi, water dispenser and breakfast.

    Prices starting from Rs 599

  • 15/17

    Nomads Den in Manali

    Nomads Den hostel is situated in the heart of Himalayas to give you the perfect 360-degree mountain view. It is surrounded by snow clad mountain peaks to apple trees to keep you in touch with nature. This hostel offers you a spacious room, 24 hr cold and hot water shower, balcony, room heater, private room, terrace, gym, deluxe room, board games, rooftop cafe, live walls, books, deck. 

    Prices starting from Rs 375

  • 16/17

    Natura Ashram in Pondicherry

    A simple hostel with basic facilities, Natura Ashram is a community space with many of its long-term residence working in projects in and around Pondicherry. The hostel offers dormitories equipped with just the basic furniture and free wi-fi, a canteen that provides home-cooked South Indian meals and bicycles on hire. If you are looking for a no-frills place in Pondicherry that fits your budget, this is where you should go.

    Prices starting from Rs 200

  • 17/17

    Roadhouse hostel in Goa

    Roadhouse hostel is located in the capital of Goa at Anjuna Beach with German Bakery and Mango Shade. The guests can also avail off the free WiFi facility at the hostel. Ample common areas to relax both indoors and outdoors equipped with lots of games and books.

    Prices starting from Rs 800

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