Travel is one of the most fulfilling things you can pursue. It offers an individual the chance for holistic growth. When you travel, your mental health improves because your mind is pretty much focused on stuff that’s new to you. You get to make fresh and wonderful memories to replace old and unhappy ones. Your body benefits from the physical activities you engage in, like when you walk for hours on end to explore a new city. You also get to see the world and its peoples up close and personal. That allows you to have a broader perspective of how life is lived in different corners of the globe.
But travel isn’t all fun and games. When you are on the road, you need to maintain a sense of responsibility. Yes, you are responsible for yourself. And it would be best if you also looked out for the people around you. Here’s how you can become a more responsible traveler. ;
Learn basic life support
God forbid that you find yourself in a situation where while admiring the charms of an architectural marvel from ancient times, the person next to you collapses and convulses. You have two options here. Be a passive bystander or step up to the plate.
However, you cannot do the latter if you are not a medical professional. But if you happen to have an fAED first aid certification, you might be of help in that moment of crisis. With that said, consider taking basic life support training before you travel. You might save a life in the most unexpected of situations.
Ideally, every time you travel, you’re inoculated against common diseases. That’s sage advice even if you are quite healthy and fit. You might be carrying something that you inadvertently pass on to the people you have close contact with. You do not want to become an asymptomatic super spreader.
Consider getting measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), chickenpox, and influenza vaccines. Make sure to research your destination. Learn what diseases are prevalent in the area so you can prepare accordingly. This is for your protection and the protection of those around you.
Know your limits
You do not want to be that traveler that causes commotion in a tourist spot because of an incident that could have been avoided. For example, you are in a theme park with a roller coaster that looks like it travels straight to hell. If you have acrophobia and loop-phobia, do not push it. Sure, it’s on your bucket list. But your bucket list is not a legally binding contract that’ll get you in trouble if not honored.
The worse that can happen is you collapse immediately after hopping off the train and send everyone in a panic. An alternative worse scenario is while the roller coaster’s doing its loops, you projectile vomit in all directions. The latter will get you in serious trouble.
Respect local culture
There’s a thin line between appreciation of culture and cultural appropriation. Know which is which so you do not offend people you do not want to offend. Also, always be mindful of the words you utter about cultural quirks present in a certain area. You are traveling to open your mind, expand your horizons. Take in as much as you can while being sensitive to cultural and socio-political dynamics.
The fact that you are traveling puts you in a place of privilege. Be conscious of that privilege.
Mind your carbon footprint
The Earth is warming exponentially. If nothing is done about the problem, soon, the catastrophic effects of climate change will become irreversible. You on a plane to a far-off island equates to you adding to your carbon footprint. You may offset that by consciously reducing your carbon footprint once you’ve reached your destination. Choosing to walk to a museum instead of taking a cab is one of the simple tricks you may follow. Also, eat locally-sourced food in locally-run diners and restaurants. Skip fast foods from multinational corporations. Try eating more plant-based meals.
If you are an experienced traveler, kudos to you. You’re living an enviable life. Keep at it and keep in mind that there’s always room for improvement on your end as a traveler. Meanwhile, if you have yet to embark on your first big adventure, please take to heart the pieces of advice we mentioned here. Remember that the choices you make will have a ripple effect on the world at large. And when you travel, you want to spread nothing other than hope, friendship, and positivity.