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Travel as a Global Citizen

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“Take nothing but photographs, and leave nothing but footprints.”

As avid travelers, we never get tired of reflecting on the old saying above. What does it really mean to take only photographs and leave only footprints? To all of us at Windstar, the lesson here is in how best to travel as a global citizen.

If we want crystalline beaches to dip our toes into, we need to preserve them. And if the taste of a true Neapolitan pizza is what we’re after, we need to support the local restaurants making it. There are many reasons why travel is important, but one of the best is that it allows us to align our purchase decisions to our values and make a difference in the world.

So, how do we tread lightly enough that we leave only footprints? Here are some simple ways to travel as a global citizen:

  • Walk, bike, and use public transportation (or go on one of our sailing cruises). Renting cars and paying for cabs is expensive, so this has the added benefit of saving you money!
  • Support local businesses. Eat at mom & pop restaurants, stay in locally operated hotels, and buy artisan crafts instead of tourist knick-knacks.
  • Schedule your trips in conjunction with festivals and events. Local celebrations give you an opportunity to experience cultural traditions, food, crafts and customs up close.
  • Be open to cultural differences. Read up on the place you’re visiting before your trip to learn a few words in the native language, get a feel for local dress, and otherwise show that you appreciate the culture you’re visiting.
  • Travel as you live at home. Reuse towels when you can, turn off electricity when you aren’t using it, and recycle.
  • Bring your own water bottle (one with a built-in filter is ideal) so you don’t have to buy bottled. A canvas tote bag is great to carry with you too, in case you do some shopping while you’re out and about.

“Green travel,” “sustainable vacationing,” and “eco-tourism” have become big buzzwords lately, and while we all want to do the right thing, those terms can be intimidating! They call to mind images of wading through swamps in the Amazon and backpacking through the Himalayas, but travel doesn’t have to be exhausting to be green. Global citizens know that it’s really all about making an effort to preserve the natural beauty of a place and to leave it better off than it was before you arrived.

What does being a global citizen mean to you and what would you add to this list?

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