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November 8 is World Responsible Tourism Day. 2016 marks the tenth year of the event and with the growing number of people taking up more number of trips every year, it is only essential that we travel in a responsible way to be kind to the environment. We list five tips that can help us travel as a responsible tourist. Also Read - Cyclone Nisarga: Home Minister Shah Reviews Situation; NDRF Deploys 9 Teams in Maharashtra

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1. Carry your own water bottle

Plastic is one of the worst materials for the environment as it cannot be recycled and we often forget this on our trips. We buy water in plastic bottles to ensure we are drinking clean water and depending on the number of days we travel, you can only imagine how many plastic bottles we must have used and discarded. To reduce the damage, the best thing to do is to carry your own bottle and refill it every time it is over. You can use your hotel’s water or look for water coolers in public places are malls, etc. If you are going to be traveling in the wild, then carry a water purifier with you that can make the water potable by removing impurities.

2. Stay in an ecotel

When booking your accommodation, opt to stay in an environment-friendly hotel or ecotel rather than a usual property. This is because these hotels have been graded by a certified body and given this title after taking a look at the way they function which causes minimum harm to the environment. These hotels are environmentally more responsible and staying here means you in turn are causing less damage to the environment. From energy consumption to waste disposal, ecotels take prominent steps to ensure that they are eco-friendly. And you don’t have to bother about your comfort and luxury as that is never compromised.

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3. Avoid giving your clothes and towels for wash

If you love staying in hotels, you may have noted that many hotels these days ask their guests to leave towels on the floor only if they want them to be washed. So when you check into your room, make sure you avoid leaving it on the floor after a bath and reuse it at least once or twice more before you give it for a wash. Also, avoid giving other clothes for laundry unless they are really dirty as this will save on water.

4. Avoid taking long showers

This is a difficult point to follow as who doesn’t love taking a long, hot shower after a day out exploring a new place. However, you end up using gallons of water in a single shower which is not very eco-friendly. You can opt to take a bucket bath or take a quick one instead of a long, hot shower. Hit the pool or the beach if you want to take a dip in the water. Also, avoid filling up the bathtub for a single bath or reduce the frequency instead of doing it every day.

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5. Use public transport or walk

One of the best ways to explore a new place is to walk around the streets. If you feel you can’t walk all day, instead of taking a cab or hiring a private vehicle, use public transport. Unless you are going to a rural area, you can always take the bus or train or metro to go from one place to the other. Usually these are faster also and you also get a chance to interact with locals. Walking around and using public transport is also less harmful for the environment, making you a responsible tourist.

Another trend that is coming up these days is that of people going for solo road trips on their bikes or cars. While this may be the in thing to do, it is increasing your carbon footprint and harming the environment at the same time.

Photograph: Shutterstock

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