Last Updated on March 30, 2023 by Faisal Khan
The world is your oyster, not a garbage can. Pollution and environmentalism have finally gotten the rightful spotlight in modern media, and we can all do our part to pitch in. Travelling abroad and to exotic destinations is admirable. But while doing so, you can also positively impact your destination. A mindful traveller makes a difference in the world with their presence alone. All you have to do is slightly change your mindset to accommodate such noble aspirations, and you are ready to go. Being mindful of the environment costs nothing and provides incredible changes for Mother Nature.
1. Embrace the stress
Stress is a pollutant, one of the worst in our modern time. When you’re going anywhere, you’ll always hear the typical “Oh, you’ll wait in line for hours.” Queues, noise, large crowds and unexpected things are all part of your travel experience. You cannot avoid them, and you should thus embrace them. Travel stress is a real thing that can put a damper before your vacation even begins.
Relax and let it all slide thru you because you are on vacation! You are starting a relaxing journey, and you should not dampen your spirits before you even set foot on your destination. If you allow travel stress to affect you, you will bring all that negativity to your destination, which is something nobody wants.
2. When in Rome
As the saying goes, you should follow and mimic the locals in every way. Don’t go to tourist traps, and eat where the locals eat. When you go a bit out of your way and explore your destination, you will be able to find hidden gems of culinary delight. Supporting the local economy is always preferable to going into established mega-chains of restaurants.
Sustainable travel emphasises supporting the local economy. You will also experience the local cuisine first-hand and discover unique dishes. Also, use local means of transport. If you see the locals using buses, bikes, mopeds and similar, follow their lead and travel as they do. Ideally, you should travel by foot, so you minimise your carbon footprint, but sometimes you need to take the wheels.
3. Be the change you wish to see
Travelling abroad will open your eyes to how people live in other countries. Especially if you travel from developed countries to others. Leaving a positive impact at any place can start with your concrete actions. Offering to do some humanitarian and worthwhile volunteer overseas does wonders for everyone involved. Your small gesture can mean a lot to someone else, maybe even impact an entire perspective.
4. Leave no trace
Use reusable plates and water bottles, and pick up trash after you. These are the simple and basic steps you can take, but they do wonders for your destination. Plastic pollution is everywhere, and it can ruin even the most pristine places. Popular destinations need all the help they can get to sustain their visage and natural wonders. As millions of visitors come, ensuring their visits don’t hamper the local wildlife is daunting, and you can help.
Small acts of kindness towards Mother Nature accumulate and lead to a greener picture. Bring your shopping bag, and you are already contributing. If you are going hiking and wish to drink from the local water stream, have a water purifier by your side and have it at it. The more you contribute to the overall ecology, the more you can reap the rewards every time you visit.
5. Embrace the diversity
The entire point of travelling to a distant place is to see and experience something new. Whatever that “new” may be, it will certainly, and vastly different from what you are accustomed to back at home. Whatever the start differences, try to approach it with an open mind. The worst thing you can do as a sustainable traveller is to try and mould your destination to be exactly like your home. It isn’t, and it should not be.
The diversity on our Earth makes it great, and travelling to experience and see everything other countries have to offer, will only broaden your horizon. An open mind is a fertile ground for cultural exchange and learning opportunities. Be open to change, embrace local customs and cherish them. By doing your best to preserve them, you are making it possible for other travelers to experience them.
6. Open up
Most global destinations have friendly locals who are eager to share a tale or two. At the end of the day, everything is about people, and travelling is the perfect way to meet new and unusual personalities. New countries have new people with different life stories and insights into everything. What you’ve taken for granted or maybe didn’t even notice is perhaps something invaluable for them.
Learning about cultures, myths, and local ways is only possible if you interact with the locals. By opening up a little, you will always be greeted with warmth. When you do, you are making an example that visitors are also open to new things and giving incentives to locals to keep doing their best. We all need a bit of help, every once in a while.
Sustainable travel is making sure future generations can enjoy the same wonders as we did. Treating any place on Earth with respect and dignity will in turn reflect on you, as you grow as a person. The sooner you start, the better will the future outcome be. And all the future visitors can thank you for it!