HOW TO BE A RESPONSIBLE AND SAFE TRAVELLER

“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in this world”- Gustav Flaubert

Travel is not just a trip to a new destination but an experience. Each experience is a story by itself. It broadens your perspective. It is not just a sightseeing tour but something that comes with its share of responsibilities. Be a true traveller and experience the place in all its beauty.

To have a good travel experience we need to follow certain guidelines. First and foremost plan your trip in advance according to your budget.

It is always advisable to travel light but sensibly. Read about the place by doing some online research. It is good to know a bit about any place you plan to visit.

Mother Earth has Umpteen places of interest for us to see and enjoy. Spend time and enjoy the beauty and experience its richness. One very important factor to keep in mind is that most of our tourist destinations have a fragile Ecosystem. It is our duty that we as responsible travellers do not mess with the Ecology of the place. Ensure no harm to trees/plants and also Animals if on a safari or in a wildlife Sanctuary. Be environmentally sensitive wherever you go, be it the hills or meadows or the high seas. Do not be an insensitive tourist.

Use reusable water bottles and avoid the use of plastic bottles. Carry biodegradable disposable trash bags to prevent the accumulation of piling waste or litter. In some places e.g Ladakh there is a scarcity of water. In such places avoid wastage .Water conservation should always be a priority.

Try and savour the local cuisine and purchase  Artifacts and Souvenirs locally crafted. This  will benefit  the locals wherever  Tourism is the main source of  income.

Be accommodative and adjust to the limitations of your destination. Do not expect the comforts of your home.  Some destinations have limited resources. You may have to rough it out. Try and make do with what is available .

It is very important to read about the weather before you set course. You may land up in a place where the temperature drops and becomes cold. You need to have the right clothing. Also if it is a warm place no need to carry woollens. Pack your bags ( clothes and footwear) according to the place, be it a beach, mountain, hill station, religious or historical place.

If possible try and learn some basic vocabulary of the place. It can come handy as there are places where the locals speak only their native language.

Respect the culture, customs and laws of the place. Wear the right attire .Try not playing loud music or make too much noise much to the irritation of fellow tourists.

A Medical/first aid kit with basic medicines is a must. It can avoid the inconvenience of searching for a medical store which may be far and few in some of the tourist destinations. Mosquito repellents are a must.

Keep handy the telephone numbers of family, friends and also the address of  the place where you are staying. This is in case you lose your phone or your bag. Secure your belongings and make sure you do not flaunt your money. Tourists are very often targets of thieves. Try and avoid carrying valuables as it can be a problem and chances of theft are high.

Be polite and courteous with the locals as well as your tour guide(if you hire one). Make use of energy efficient vehicles whenever and wherever possible.

A very important point to remember is to know your capacity for adventure. If you have health issues, try not to venture deep into the water on any beach, even if you are a good swimmer as there are strong undercurrents in some place or underestimating the depth of any river or lake or climbing/trekking.  It can be very dangerous. The last thing one would want on a trip is a mishap.

So, remember always ‘travel sensibly and responsibly’ and make each trip your best trip.

Go with an open mind, let the experience of each travel give you the push to explore new destinations and keep travelling.

“Life is a journey, make the most out of it”.

It’s a matter of great joy to be associated with Trinity College, a college with a difference. I wish Trinity College all success and may the never ceasing endeavor to impart quality education bear abundant fruit.

 

Rita Mathews

Professional Counsellor

Member of the Child Welfare Committee, New  Delhi

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