Planning to go on a vacation? Try being a responsible traveller. With global warming and rising pollution levels, we need to care for our mountains, beaches, hills and the very air we breathe. Walk more, carry your own bag while shopping, suggest experts.
Aloke Bajpai, Co-founder at ixigo and Narayan Menon, Co-founder at Wandertrails, have shared tips on how you can save the environment while travelling:
1. No vehicle roads: Explore a new city on foot like the Mall Road in Shimla, Cinque Terre (The Italian Riveria) and Giethoorn village (Netherlands) where vehicles are not allowed. Walking is the best option to soak up the local flavour.
2. Say no to plastic bags: If you are travelling to any of the hill stations in India, be sure to carry your own bag while shopping. You won't be getting any plastic bag even for food items!
3. No smoking zones: A vacation in cities like Beijing, Chandigarh, Chennai, Liverpool and Mexico will mean that you have to leave your cigarette case at home as all these places are no-smoking zones.
4. Go for green transportation: Bid goodbye to your traditional transportation modes and go for the new, trendy e-bikes and cycles which will be your best bet. Brands like Hero and many others have a whole new range of e-bikes that you will enjoy riding.
5. Choose eco-friendly dwellings: Go beyond swanky hotels and air-conditioned rooms. And choose a homestay instead. Many of them are built with eco-friendly materials and exercise initiatives like water recycling. A farm stay will offer ample opportunities to experience life at a working farm firsthand and learn valuable lessons of sustainability.
6. Travel in packs: Don't forget your cars can seat four people comfortably. Find people travelling the same route and pool together for a road trip. Save some petrol money and also do the environment some good.
7. Eat local, buy local: Living in a plantation is your chance to experience the earth beneath your feet in a different way. Join the farmers in harvesting the local produce. Buy local, organic food and give back to the land that's hosting you.
8. Leave it the way you found it: Your keywords here are conserve, re-use and recycle. Don't leave behind any plastic and spoil what's perfect. Don't use plastic at all. Dispose your waste responsibly and don't litter your surroundings.
9. Sightsee a little differently: Forget taxis and cabs and take the local transport instead. Cycle along the meandering paths and watch gorgeous sights scurry past you. Sightseeing is way more fun on two wheels.
10. Plant a tree wherever you go: While you take back memories and incredible experiences from a place, leave behind a little something for the land in return. Plant a tree wherever you like, in the backyard of your stay (with permission) or sow a seed on the street, and whisper a small thank you to the place for being a wonderful host.