How to be a Responsible Traveler

In today’s world, Traveling is more than just exploring. With every corner of the world accessible by anyone, the Tourism industry has skyrocketed its value in recent years. It is evident that tourism will only flourish till every corner of the world is home to everyone. With the constant changing world and Tourism industry on its way to make the world a better place for every soul, responsible tourism, and responsible traveling go hand in hand. Therefore it is very important for us to understand and actually practice responsible tourism and be a responsible traveler. But, the Question ” How to become a responsible traveler?” must not be overlooked.

If you are traveling to a place in the next few months, it is apparent that you will research the place, the beauty it has to offer and their attractions; maybe people out there, their culture and so on. In a nutshell, you do all the explicable research before you head to your destination. Now the crux of travel is responsible travel and tourism. Whether you are on a sojourn within your country or thousands of miles away, it is imperative that you practice responsible tourism.

Being a responsible traveler is a choice for a positive impact on the social and environmental aspect. Being a responsible traveler is not always easy, and it is not an option but responsibility toward people, culture, environment, and the world. That said, here are some easy-cum-essential ways to be a responsible traveler:

1) Go Local

Go Local implies with everything from buying at a local shop, to commuting in the local vehicle, accommodating in hotels owned by local people, immersing in the local culture, and indulging the local lifestyle. This will help in the local economy and community, uplifting their standard. This might be the easiest way to be a responsible traveler and at the same time helping local people and community. When you go local, you’re not just preserving local entity but promoting as well.

Shopping local can help empower the native local communities; a sign of responsible traveler
Shopping local can help empower the native communities

2) Go Green

Think Green. Do Green. Go Green. No matter what part of the world your footsteps are, you are never far away from home if you go green because the realm of eco-friendly and ecotourism is the same across the globe. Make sure you do not harm the ecology of the place. You should be careful with what you do in/to the environment. Never opt for any activities that harm the nature and the environment, and that is “Do Green.” And always seek any opportunities to “Go Green.”

3) Give Back

One of the useful responsible traveler tips is Give Back: Give back to people and the community. Now here you don’t have to build a home for impoverished people in the destination literally. To be a responsible traveler is to give back to the community, people and the destination that has given you opportunities to travel, marvel at, and a way to live a life to which all of the travelers would agree. Most of the time, the best way to give back is by offering your time and sharing what you got, that could be teaching or volunteering to worthwhile causes. The only and very purpose of Give Back is to have a positive impact on the life of people and the environment.

4) Adopt to Recycle and Reuse

Adopting to Recycle and Reuse can help mitigate the problem of waste. One of the simplest travel tips to practicing responsible Travel is carrying a reusable water bottle, that can be recycled. The need for buying water bottle time and again can be reduced or eliminated by the concept of Recycle and Reuse. You also can pack reusable bags. Plastic waste has become a huge issue and an epidemic in the travel industry today. From sea to mountains, the waste has become a significant problem all around the world and we, at our personal effort must help eliminate this problem.

5) Conserve Water and Energy

With everyday life and every other way, the usage of water and electricity is inevitable. The only question is whether you use it wisely or not. Travel Industry is booming every year, and thus conservation of water and energy is crucial for both tour operators and travelers. And as far as responsible travel is concerned, it must be done at a personal and professional level. You can practice water-saving and energy-saving tips when you travel like turning off A/C, lights, TV when not in use, turning off the water when not in use, taking a shorter shower, unplugging unused electronics and likewise.

6) Leave No Trace Behind

Designated rubbish bin along the Everest trail; throwing rubbish in a designated spot is a way of being a responsible traveler
Designated rubbish bin along the Everest trail (Credit: Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee (SPCC))

This goes with the saying “Take nothing, but pictures leave nothing but footprints.” As a responsible traveler, you ought to respect nature and the host destination. Your small act can have an enormous impact on the environment and nature of the country/place you travel. Below are some of the useful yet mandatory travel etiquettes;

a) Leave nothing but footprints
Wherever you travel, make sure you walk along the paved path and well-trodden path. Do not create new trails and disturb the flora and eco-system.

b) Do not pee and poop everywhere
Make sure you are not building a toilet literally by peeing and pooping everywhere when it is hard to find toilets. Human waste can degrade the eco-system leading to pollution. Thus, whenever you have to do it, do it far away from water resources, dig it and bury it.

c) Watch your waste
Whatever waste you carry, bring it back to your home. Do not scatter it in the forest, hills or rivers/lake.

d) Don’t feed the animals
As simple as it sounds, do not feed the animals. Leave them in their natural habitat. Respect wildlife and keep the distance. The prohibition “do not feed the animals” is for the very purpose and concern that animals will become habitual to ingesting foreign objects.

7) Respect Local Culture

Tourist enjoying local cultural monuments; respecting local culture a sign of a responsible traveler
Tourist enjoying local cultural monuments

It is very important to respect the culture of the host country you are traveling to. With responsibility comes respect and with respect comes responsibility; just like that, you should respect the culture to be a responsible traveler. It is a unique opportunity to immerse into the local culture and lifestyle. The blissful culture will undoubtedly allure you; their warm hospitality is second to none. You can wear local attire, and greet people in the local language; you’re showing a sign that you respect their culture.

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