7 Amazing Ways to Be a More Mindful and Socially Responsible Traveler after the Pandemic
By Derek Lotts
Traveling is one of the most freeing and enriching experiences in the world, which allows you to make beautiful, unforgettable memories, while developing your personality and becoming a better and happier person. However, after experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic, we were forced to redefine travel as we know it, not only by taking additional precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the virus, but also by thinking about the future of mindful and sustainable tourism. If you want to become a more socially responsible tourist, here are some practices you can implement when you decide to travel once again after the pandemic:
Embrace the new changes
It’s important to keep in mind that the world won’t be the same after the pandemic. For that reason, it would be a good idea to do thorough research of the destination you’re visiting, and learn about any potential post-pandemic rules and regulations. And most importantly, make sure to follow these procedures once you arrive, whether that means wearing a mask or maintaining a social distance. Not only will this type of travel benefit your well-being, but it will also ensure you’re being mindful about keeping the local community healthy and safe.
Prioritize your safety
Even if the situation has stabilized in your chosen destination, safety and hygiene should be your main priorities during this period, regardless of where you travel to. Make sure to bring any essential items for international travel with you, such as face masks, gloves, wet wipes, hand sanitizers (buy hand sanitizers at Valm), or even medicine. Once you arrive, make it a point to practice social distancing whenever possible, wash your hands often, and try to stay clean and healthy, in order to keep yourself, the locals, as well as other tourists safe and sound.
Protect your vehicle
Just like you would prioritize your health and safety when traveling, it’s also important to protect your vehicle while on the road. If you’ve decided to drive to your destination or even go on a longer road trip, it would be wise to invest in a comprehensive car insurance policy that perfectly suits both your travel requirements and your vehicle’s needs. Apart from ensuring your car is safe and covered no matter what happens on your travels, investing in a great insurance policy will also mean you’re a more mindful and conscious driver who’s aware of the importance of safety and protection on the road.
Research your destination
Apart from researching post-pandemic rules and laws, make it a point to learn more about the local culture, customs and traditions before you visit your travel destination. You could also learn how to say a few words in the local language, such as “hello” or “thank you”, to ensure you receive a warmer welcome, while earning the respect of locals. Above all, always be respectful and tolerant towards the local culture, as it’s the most important aspect of being a socially responsible traveler.
Purchase local products
Another wonderful way you can be more mindful of your travel destination is to support the local economy and the local community by opting for local goods and products. This could mean anything from visiting farmer’s markets for your groceries instead of big supermarket chains to buying unique, handmade souvenirs, rather than their mass-produced counterparts. By buying local products and supporting smaller local businesses, you can be a more socially conscious tourist, while ensuring the health and prosperity of your travel destination.
Be mindful of the wildlife
While riding camels and elephants or swimming with dolphins might initially sound like a beautiful way to connect with different aspects of nature, the truth is that many animals working at popular attractions are often mistreated, and sometimes even experience cruelty, all for the sake of tourism. If you want to be more conscious of the environment, try to avoid interactions with animals during your travels. However, if wildlife is an unavoidable aspect of your trip, try to find more ethical businesses and companies before booking, to ensure a more animal-friendly holiday.
Become a greener traveler
Continuing on the note of eco-friendliness and sustainability, you simply can’t be a mindful traveler without being kind to the planet, which is why you should adhere to greener practices, even while on the road. This means you should avoid single-use plastic and any unnecessary packaging, carry a reusable water bottle and cutlery, never leave the lights and electronics turned on or the water running when not in use, and take public transportation whenever possible. Most importantly of all, avoid littering at all costs – apart from an occasional picture, you shouldn’t leave any physical trace behind.
With just a couple of additional steps, and a few precautionary measures, you can become a more responsible traveler, both when it comes to the environment and the people living in it. Remember, being mindful doesn’t only make you a kinder and more thoughtful person; it also makes the world a better place.
About the author: Derek Lotts is an experienced freelance writer and researcher. His main areas of interest are small business, home improvement, and sustainable living. He strongly believes in the power of sharing knowledge and ideas through the mediums of modern technology. Derek is a regular contributor to the Smooth Decorator blog.