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8 Traits That Define a Responsible Traveler


8 Traits That Define a Responsible Traveler-1

Responsible Traveling can be simply stated as being culturally and socially sensible while Traveling. It means using more of your own common sense and understanding the need to make a positive effect on the places you visit. Responsible travel is not constrained to one single pillar of belief, the scope is so diverse that it cannot be measured as there are millions of experience and beliefs. However, we have tried to provide you with some basic ideas which will make the experience positive for you as well the place you are going to.

Know your destination

The first thing that you can do even before the going to the place is to know your destination. Knowing your destination does not just mean doing the research about the sights to see at the place. Rather it is knowing if tourism is promoted in the place or if the place is battling over tourism. Over tourism is a very important problem that nobody seems to be acknowledging these days. Recently, Shimla issued a notice pleading people not to come as there was a no drinking water in the area. How shocking is that? A place surrounded by mountains, yet a scarcity of drinkable water. Do your homework and check if there is something you need to be wary about before you travel to the place.

Respect the Culture

We all travel with the aim of exploring new places and cultures. However sometimes we forget the fact that the culture we belong to and the culture we are going to might be massively different. The culture of a place is the result of teaching and beliefs which have been evolved and passed down for generations. So, as visitors, we should be wary about the local customs and in no way should we overstep our bounds in a foreign culture. For instance, villages of Himachal such as Rashol and Malana do not tolerate outsiders entering their houses or the temples. So as responsible travelers, show some restraint and learn about the community.

Leave behind no Carbon Trails

In today's age, when almost all parts of the world are battling global warming and the massive pollution, don't you feel we should do our bit to help our planet become a better place? Sure, you'll say that you do your part for the environment, however do you consider ever doing that when you travel? When we go on a getaway or a vacation, we gain a higher sense of freedom where one would only want to enjoy the stunning locales we are in. We might become less bothered with the environmental consequences of our actions. But we should digress from this type of behavior and understand. A very effective way to reduce carbon footprints would be to taking local transport instead of taking taxis from Point A to B. This works both as a boost for the economy and lowering the carbon emissions.

Shop Local

Every place has something new to offer for your curiosity with a variety of local markets that have unique commodities. Local markets are the main source of income for the handloom and small scale industries. All cultures have a lot of souvenirs that are made by the small scale traders and many work on those without the use of machinery. Without mass production, every handloom becomes unique and special. Try buying from the local vendors rather than supermarkets or big stores in order to economically strengthen the lower income society of the place you are visiting.

Waste Management

Okay, now this is a very serious issue when it comes to nature trails and trekking. You should not pollute or throw garbage randomly even in the developed places, but even if you do – you might get away with it as there are services to keep the place clean. However, while trekking, people who irresponsibly pollute or do not carry back the waste they are producing, are creating a harmful impact for the environment. Throwing of Plastic bags and bottles is a disease which is plaguing the popular treks in the Himalayas. It got to such a bad point where in August the High Court ordered a ban on all trekking activities in Uttarakhand, in order to preserve and conserve the beauty of the pristine Bugyals (meadows). If you are travelling on nature trails or treks, be responsible for your own waste.

Be considerate towards wildlife

One of the golden rules while interacting with animals in nature is “Do not feed the Animals”. Sounds easy enough, right? But there are some people who think that feeding biscuits or bread to animals is harmless and also sparing them the effort hunt for their own food. But there is something fundamentally wrong about this, because when animals start depending on humans for food, they go through a massive change mentally and physically. Let’s take the example of the Himalayan Marmots – cute plump rodents who are known to be extremely shy and protective are the one of the friendliest creatures in the Ladakh region. Why are they friendly? They are tame because almost everyone that visits the region is offering them a variety of foods. This was not the case when people were not feeding them, also the variety of processed being consumed by the animals is just slowly destroying the ecosystem of the area. When you read a sign that tells you not to feed the animals, follow it and be responsible.

Ask before you Capture

While traveling to stunning places and cultural hubs, we all like to take photos of the places we are vacationing at. It is perfectly fine to take photos of nature and your own people. However, do ask before you capture any of the local people around you. People wouldn’t mind while you take a photo of them, but make them comfortable before you click them. It’s a basic etiquette which most people are not bothered about. For instance, the Paharis (mountain folk) are very happy when people take their photos – but take the initiative to ask for their permission. However, the Babas (sages) of Banaras are totally against clicking photos of them without permission. There are some Babas who even charge you if you want to click them. So always remember to ask first, then shoot.

Educate Others

Travel teaches us things and beliefs which changes our perspective on the things around us. Being a responsible traveler is also a part of the teachings only. Through my own travels, I have learnt a lot of things and always think of educating others on travel tips. Travelers as a community need to come together and educate people on the how to act responsibly while traveling. So if you travel and feel there are things which others should know about a certain place, educate them so that when they go to the place, they have a positive impact on the area. It’s upto us to make sure that places are preserved for us as well as for the future generations.

So these were a few ways in which we can try to be better and responsible travelers for the greater good of the community. It’s not wrong to enjoy a place, but enjoying it responsibly is very important. If you feel there is something that we are missing with the blog, let us know in the comments how we can be better travelers.
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