Travel makes one modest – you see what a tiny place you occupy in this world
Mother Earth has opened her arms to the minds of humans to let us explore, wander and discover – not just a destination, but ourselves. Even though there are corners of the world still left undisturbed by the human touch, we haven’t left much ground uncovered. With the growing tourism industry and some countries banking solely on tourism for their revenue, the question we have to ask ourselves is how far can we travel before we realize that we’ve lost the authenticity and environment of an overcrowded city? When will it finally reach us that uncontrolled tourism and ignorant travellers will ruin the beauty of a magical place by focusing on their own needs?
People of many cities have already complained and rioted against insensitive tourists who are looting their hometown of its natural elegance. World Travellers has written an insightful trail about how this has happened all over the world. However, we can’t stop travelling. We can’t stop exploring – wanderlust hangs on every one of our tickets. To draw the line between travelling to discover and travelling without care, Trell suggests a few pointers on how to be a respectful traveller around the globe.
Save your trash for the actual trash bins
The most common mistake every traveller makes is littering. Many countries have trash cans all over the city where you can throw your trash, but most of this littering occurs on campsites. The Machu Picchu trail has a huge problem with campers littering. With several campers staying the night, the land of Machu Picchu has also grown sore with the number of tents being pitched. The best solution for this is to keep a trash bag handy while hiking or trekking or even while visiting places you know may not have trash cans. In this manner, you can dump all your garbage in this and discard it properly when you have the opportunity.
History is Inseparable from Earth
While wandering through the beautiful pathways of heritage sites and learning the rich history behind every pillar, don’t feel the necessity to carve something onto the walls of the monument. The government of the country takes great care to preserve its structures with volumes of money being invested in the same. Apart from carving on walls, many tourists also manage to damage some parts of the site. Respect a country’s heritage and make sure you’re careful while roaming around in the grounds of a historical monument.
Cultural Decency for Nature’s Cultures
Most traveller do not mean to disrespect another’s culture on their travels. More often than not, they’re misinformed or ignorant about the culture of a country. Doing research about what goes and what doesn’t in a foreign country is of great help to the traveller and the people of the city. Learning about what offends the local people, their customs, traditions, their societal and environmental norms will enable you to become a more accepting of cultures. For example, wet waste and dry waste bins or recycling bins are separated in their countries according to their environmental laws. By learning how this works, not only will you save yourself from judgemental looks, but the locals will appreciate your efforts despite being from a foreign land and might try to help you out too.
Economy Downfall equals Environmental Issues
Some countries are facing the problem of increasing rents and increasing prices of electricity and water. This is because of the thousands of AirBnBs that have come up in several countries for tourists. Locals are now finding it difficult to live in their hometown because of the growing tourism industry. As a responsible traveller, we urge you to minimize your use of electricity and water while travelling. Use only when it is truly necessary instead of wasting the limited natural resources.
Hotels and tourist organisations do have an environmental policy which outlines how they contribute in preserving the natural environment around them. There are also many eco-hotels that use organic ingredients, provide ‘green’ activities for their guests and follow an appropriate disposable system. We urge you to look up these hotels for your stay in a foreign country where you can indirectly help the locals protect their environment.
Bargaining isn’t a Solution
When in Thailand, Bali or any of the South Asian countries, tourists tend to bargain a little too much while engaging in street shopping. The locals build their own handicrafts from natural materials which makes these products perfect souvenirs for friends back home. The shop owners do sometimes overprice the product for different reasons, which is why bargaining is such a common term in such countries. However, be reasonable enough to offer a good price for the product because the locals struggle to even make a daily living. This will encourage them to continue their craft in harmony with Mother Nature too. We recommend eating at local eateries and diners to support them in their ventures – this will give you a chance to taste the local cuisine as well!
Sustainable Tourism Pledge
Finally, take the Sustainable Tourism Pledge. The World Monuments Fund created this pledge in order to encourage tourists to commit responsibility towards preserving local culture, reducing their carbon footprint and conserving natural resources. The pledge offers great advice on how to be the ideal traveller while exploring a land that is not your home.
So this World Environment Day, let’s draw a line between exploring and exploiting mother nature. Seven golden rules and not only can you travel the world, but you can preserve and protect our Earth while you do! The planet has given us irreplaceable destinations and unique cultures, especially for us to explore. Discover, wander and share your wanderlust stories – and support Mother Earth to help her sustain herself for us to do travel more.