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Here are 10 travel resolutions for 2022 for the conscious traveller

With the world slowly opening back up, one may be in a rush to fulfil all those delayed travel plans. Though we support all voyages, we ask you to be more mindful in 2022 with these travel resolutions.

As testing as the pandemic has been, stories of strangers helping each other out have offered us some solace. So, as we near the end of 2021, we must carry along with us a sense of community and empathy we’ve learnt over the past two years. To live our travel dreams, we all have to make an effort to be more conscious of the impact we, as individuals, have on the environment and fellow human beings.

10 travel resolutions to follow through in 2022

Voluntourism

Meaningful and immersive experiences can truly redefine what may have been just another vacation. Over the years, the craving for such experiences has developed into a new brand of tourism — voluntourism, which combines travel to a destination with volunteering work. Every vacation doesn’t have to involve an altruistic goal but orienting some of your trips towards helping local communities can result in rewarding memories. Volunteering doesn’t only include helping others, but it also involves experiences that help you grow, that show you realities different from your own. And so, as you see the sights and have fun, you also spend time being involved with something larger than yourself. 

Read our writer’s experience with voluntourism in Spiti Valley, Ladakh, to get a first-hand account of just how fulfilling voluntourism can be.

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Work in more travels via ground transportation

According to a 2019 BBC article, an economy-class return flight from London to New York emits about 0.67 tonnes of carbon dioxide per passenger, which works out to be approximately equal to the carbon emissions caused by someone living in Ghana for over a year. 

The effects of carbon emissions and climate change are well known to us. But what can the individual traveller do? Besides opting for economy seats, get into your cars and discover your own country. A day-long drive in your own city will lead you to new and exciting destinations. A road trip allows you to enjoy the spots on the way to your final location. If you don’t feel like driving, get on a bus or hop onto a train and live out those Bollywood travel fantasies. Remember, travel is not just about the destination. Make the journey just as thrilling.

Here are T+L’s lists of road trips you can take from Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and Kolkata that’ll inspire you to get behind the wheel.

Choose eco-friendly accommodations

A conscious traveller deserves an equally conscious stay, and hotels around the world are actively working to minimise their impact on the environment. Find accommodations that value sustainable living, such as those that, for instance, use local materials and craftsmen. Organic food, the use of renewable energy, and cultural sensitivity can serve as markers when you’re doing your research.

Check out our list of eco-friendly hotels from across the world that set the standards you should be looking out for.

Opt for off-beat locations

Many countries’ economies depend significantly on tourism. The pandemic has shown us just how many stakeholders benefit from tourist activity. But too much of a good thing can end up reversing the benefits. Uncontrolled tourism has to lead to ‘overtourism’ in certain destinations, the most infamous example is that of Venice. Local communities and the environment can get damaged, which not only cause long term effects but also cause disaffection.

As a traveller, turn a worrying situation into an opportunity to expand your travel radars. While respecting the decisions of local authorities, dive into some research and find novel destinations. Who knows, you may discover a place that was truly meant for you. Moreover, we’ve been at home for far too long, so a destination that is completely different from anything you know will only do you good.

Why don’t you start in India? Here are some off-beat locations in the beloved state of Rajasthan.

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Go local!

Next time you plan a trip, look out for restaurants that serve locally-sourced food, small businesses to support, and haunts that are frequented by the natives. Move out of your comfort zones as you engage with local communities, who may just reveal to you the location’s best-kept secrets. By all means, see the popular sights but don’t miss out on stepping into a different world, if only for a few days. Interact with people and get to know them, even if there’s a chance you may never see them again. Sometimes, it’s the people who make the place special.

We’ve got our hands on some hidden gems, revealed to us by locals, in Mexico, Japan and Lisbon.

Slow down

We feel the same itch to travel. We also have our ever-increasing checklists of things to do, places to visit, foods to eat and attractions to see. But when you’re finally able to take the time to travel, do you always have to squeeze in a thousand things into each day? Some sights or activities should be more than just travel milestones. They deserve time and care. The pandemic may have held you back, but humour us for a moment and consider slow travel. We don’t mean a day spent lounging around (though that for sure sounds great as well). In this context, we mean mindfulness. If you have a week, maybe try visiting two spots instead of five. Learn how to be alright with mishaps and detours. Don’t be so attached to your itinerary and keep your mind open. If you don’t feel like doing something but you’re only pushing yourself because that museum is a ‘must-do’, stop and reconsider. The concept of FOMO is so old-school now, and not in a cool vintage way. Use your travels to discover what you like to do.

Savour destinations with our guide on how to slow travel in India.

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Travel light

Let go of the (proverbial and literal) excess baggage and travel light in 2022. Move faster with less worry and challenge yourself – you may realise you don’t need that one extra book. Get your organisation freak on as you pack. Opt for lighter suitcases and packing cubes and cut down on the number of shoes you’re carrying. While we support anyone who loves to turn heads while travelling, style your outfits in a way that allows you to rotate and re-wear pieces. Don’t underestimate the ability of accessories to change the vibe of an ensemble.

Get some pro-tips from our conversation with Lydia Mansel on how to pack efficiently.

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The ‘little things’ can make a world of difference

It may not seem like a groundbreaking resolution, but if we’re being completely honest, carrying your own water bottle is still such an undervalued practice. Along with the bottle, get your own straw and stainless steel flask for coffee runs. While you’re at it, pack reusable hygiene kits. We get the allure of easy to use, disposable items. But a toothbrush you use for a few days and then discard will take several lifetimes to decompose. Examples include bamboo toothbrushes, diva cups, eco-friendly shampoo bars, chewable toothpaste tablets — the list of innovative products is endless.

Prioritise your mental health and take wellness breaks

Our generation is unfortunately well-aquatinted with the feeling of being burnt out. We push ourselves and work for endless hours, and in the process overwhelm ourselves. We owe it to ourselves to just sit back and relax. Staycations are just the right remedy. They offer a change of scenery and space to breathe. Read a book, hang out with your loved ones, gorge yourself silly with delicious food and enjoy beautiful views. Head right back to the chaos of city life with a clear mind.

Treat yourself right at these five hotels that are perfect for an escape.

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Image: Courtesy Shutterstock

Keep a travel journal

Now, we are the last ones to bash anyone for wanting to capture moments that’ll look amazing on Instagram. It’s exciting to share our memories with our friends, family and a few people we kinda know. But as time goes on and we embark upon more and more journeys, our memories of old ones may fade. Sometimes, the things we’d learnt get lost in our everyday lives. Keep a travel journal and preserve that special vacation through your own words. A travel journal also adds to the romance of travelling!

This story first appeared on Travel+Leisure India

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