This new year came with the usual string of resolutions, and then some really unique ones. Many vowed to not take any more flights, avoid single-use plastics and reduce their carbon footprint, and figure out how to extend this to their travelling regime. Our love for travelling may never cease, but we understand the need for slow, immersive explorations and responsible travel. In fact, a study in 2018 revealed that tourists generate over 8 per cent of global greenhouse gases. And with global warming on the rise, people are becoming increasingly environmentally conscious. No longer are people racing to cross off destinations from their bucket lists or visit several countries in a week. With trends like this on the rise, zero-footprint travel is a challenge we love to take.
Leaving no carbon footprint doesn’t mean that tourists are not entitled to enjoy their vacation, the destinations they visit or the hotels they stay at. The idea is to take it slow, to reduce the carbon footprint as much as possible, not create waste and use green energy. For instance, one could use solar-powered chargers for their electronics or use on-the-go water purifiers to avoid purchasing plastic water bottles. Carry only what you need, avoid a suitcase full of things you won’t use.
One of the simplest ways of assuring minimal carbon footprint is to avoid taking flights. A train journey, per passenger, has lesser carbon emissions than a flight, and the best bit? You know, the thing about enjoying the journey than the destination. For shorter distances or commute within cities, we suggest using public transports or even bicycles. In fact, most cities have local bicycle tours that reveal lesser-known, local gems.
Another way is to choose local. Leave behind the big, homogenised hospitality brands and look for hostels, dorms and homestays. The idea of choosing local has many merits. One, it helps small-business owners, and secondly, it is great for tourists looking for more ‘offbeat experiences’.
It doesn’t hurt to be destination conscious too. Sure a visit to Paris or New York sounds exciting, but there are smaller, quaint destinations nearby that offer the same level of excitement, lesser crowds and of course, the thrill of discovering something new.
This year is perhaps about realising that travelling responsibly depends on the tourist and not the place. With a little effort and a few right choices, we can cross off our super-extensive bucket lists without harming the planet. Simply, the only thing you take from your travel is gorgeous pictures and memories, and not a heavy carbon footprint.