Reducing environmental impact of travel

Let’s face it, traveling from one place to another, whether by your own vehicle or through public transport, isn’t exactly environmentally friendly. So whatever little we can do while traveling can actually go a long way in protecting and preserving the beautiful places, we desire to see, so badly.

So here are just a few steps, that travelers like us can take, to lessen our impact on nature.

Never throw garbage in open: Garbage and in particular, plastic bags, are not only an eye sore, but can have a devastating effect on the local flora and fauna. By carrying a litter bag or even stashing the garbage in your jacket/bag and disposing them off in hotel’s or public dustbin, you can somewhat limit your effect on the local ecology. Add to this, if you are trekking or visiting a remote area, which likely does not have proper garbage disposing facility, then simply carrying your garbage (in particular plastic) back with you to a proper city, is always a sensible thing, since the hotel in all likelihood, would be just throwing the garbage away in the open.

Do not waste electricity and water at hotels: I often see fellow travelers, keeping the extra lights on or not shutting the tap properly, when they are in a hotel. Just because you aren’t going to be charged extra for using these, it does not mean that you aren’t wasting precious natural resources. Be just as careful while using electricity and water, as you are at your home and always turn off lights and geyser, when you are going out for sightseeing or even food!

Keep your vehicle in good shape: if you are like me and use your own car/motorcycle for traveling, then ensuring that it is in optimal condition running condition, not only ensures that it pollutes less, but it also reduces your fuel bill, which at times, can amount to half your travel expenditure. You can also follow simply steps to increase mileage and not install modified exhausts, which increases noise as well as air pollution.

Carry your own bags for shopping: By carrying your own bags (preferably long lasting and made of cloth/jute) for the souvenirs you are planning to take back home, you not only do away with the need of extra plastic bags, which are going to be thrown away, anyways, you also ensure that while visiting states like Himachal Pradesh, which have banned usage of plastic bags, you aren’t caught unprepared and can conveniently carry your souvenirs.

Bring your own soap: This is one practice I follow, not only to use soap I know is of good quality, but also due to the fact that one rarely ends up using the entire soap given by the hotel, during one’s stay and rest of it gets thrown away in the end. Since there is water and power involved in every manufacturing and distribution step, you end up wasting them, by throwing away something you aren’t even going to be using half of! While it might not seem like much if you are looking at just one soap, but add them up for lifetime of travel and you are looking at huge savings, just by carrying and using, your own soap!

Use rechargeable batteries: Whether it is for your camera or for other portable gadgets, using rechargeable batteries not only saves cost over time, but also ends up being less of a burden on the environment. Not to mention, in digital cameras, you can easily take several hundred photographs with decently powerful rechargeable batteries, while even the Duracell lasts for only a few dozen photographs.

These are just a few things which come to my mind (which I normally follow) and I feel, are easily practicable for most travelers, while a few others, like walking for short distances, using public transport etc. are something which can also be easily implemented and I feel, I need to follow a little more as well.

In case you have any tips on how we can lessen our impact on nature, while traveling, feel free to leave a comment below and I will try to incorporate that into my travel practices to further reduce my carbon footprint, while traveling.

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  1. Susan June 28, 2010

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