Travel Advice for Global Citizens
What is a “global citizen?” There is no passport for a global citizen, or identification card, so how do you qualify? The answer is to adopt a particular viewpoint that looks beyond national borders and puts the welfare of the planet at the centre of the equation. You are a global citizen if you care about how your actions might affect workers in China or Bangladesh, you are a global citizen if you change your holiday plan to reduce your carbon footprint, and you’re a global citizen if you choose to invest in the local communities you visit instead of boosting the profits of faceless incomers.
Explore Your Home Land
When we think of holidays we tend to think of overseas trips and short haul flights. This is a continuation of the boom years when flights and accommodation were cheap and no one thought about the consequences of co2 emissions. But the world has changed.
More people than ever now recognize the imminent need for changes to our lifestyles and that includes overseas travel. One overseas flight can use as much carbon as you might produce in a year, not to mention all the supporting Co2 contributions. Due to this, and the global pandemic stay at home vacations are now in vogue.
There is also a wealth of history, culture and entertainment to enjoy on your own shores without the hassle of booking a dog sitter and navigating a foreign land where you don’t speak the language. Of course there are ethical ways to travel abroad too, but the most responsible option is a staycation.
Practice Light Packing
If you’re a global citizen then you’re interested in your global impact, that means your annual carbon footprint and your contribution to the local community wherever you happen to travel. Even if you have to make regular flights abroad for business or pleasure there are ways you can reduce your impact and contribute to the planet’s welfare.
One option is to travel light. There is a lot of advice online that suggests you should always carry a portable hotspot, detergent, various facial products, a camera, a luggage scale, and extra shoes. These might be pragmatic choices but do you really need them? Isn’t it better to pack only the essentials and buy the things you need if you need them?
Overpacking increases the weight carried by airlines which impacts the airplanes fuel consumption, this is one of the reasons overweight luggage is charged by airlines. Reducing your luggage weight is a multiple gain. You get to travel with lighter luggage, it costs you less, and you reduce your carbon footprint simultaneously.
Buy Locally Sourced Products
Being a global citizen is a realistic option, despite what some people might believe. It does involve political borders necessarily, it’s more about viewing the planet as a united world with common aims which leads us to certain natural conclusions and practices. One of these practices is buying local goods wherever you are in the world.
Local goods are goods that are produced locally by local people. They are not recognisable brand names or institutions you are familiar with; instead they might be independent shops, family owned restaurants, and local hotels. By choosing to buy from these sources you are investing in that local community and helping its economy.
Many big brand names have realised that travelers enjoy seeing that familiar name in remote locations worldwide. But large corporations are often not ethically run and absorb the revenue from the local competition. To help level the playing field and support an ethical global economy it’s best to make responsible local choices when you travel.
Buy Ethical Souvenirs
If you’re new to ethical travel and global citizenship you might feel overwhelmed with the amount of advice and options around. How are you supposed to remember to do all of those responsible things when you travel. The answer is you don’t. Even choosing one aspect of ethical travel to implement on your next trip is a step forward.
When it comes to souvenirs there are responsible ways to buy them. Souvenirs are often made unethically in places like China and Bangladesh. The manufacturers use unpaid labour and squalid conditions to make products for souvenirs shops worldwide. Before you invest in this industry check the product and where it comes from, don’t be afraid to ask before you buy.
There is another upshot to avoiding these tainted souvenirs, the fact that you can bring home something extra special. Instead of investing in something that’s clearly mass produced by impoverished people, why not support the local artisans and traders. Find something in your location that’s been handcrafted and buy directly from the artist.
Use Family Owned Services
Family owned services can be things like hotels, B&Bs, restaurants, and local companies. They are organised and operated by local families so you can be sure they have good intentions, moreover, you know the money you give them will support their family and the local economy.
Conventional travelers might not think too much about what hotel they stay in or where they eat, much of the time it comes down to convenience. However, as a global traveler, you will be more aware of the consequences of spending your money in the wrong places. Instead, opt for services that give you a quality experience and invest in the right way.
Many family owned services will also contribute to charitable causes, so you get the further benefit of knowing you will be supporting a family and a worthwhile cause. In a world where multinational corporations seek to own everything the global citizen looks to turn the tide by making ethical choices wherever they travel.
Engage Local Communities
Over the decades travel has become so commonplace that even remote parts of the world are now set up for convenient tourism. You can book into a hotel and tour the main sights without even engaging with the local community. But is that an experience worth having? Possibly, but not forever.
Eventually travelers and global citizens will want a holiday experience that is richer and more engaging. As a global citizen you will probably be interested in how other communities live and operate. If you get involved, through a working holiday or an Investor Visa For Italy, you will have a more authentic travel experience; you will learn from them and contribute at the same time.
Avoid Animal Activities
A global citizen is not only interested in supporting humans in global communities, animal welfare is also fundamental. If you love animals you might be tempted to go to a rescue sanctuary to help out or simply to visit. It might seem harmless enough, but the reality is that many animal sanctuaries are bad for animals.
The sanctuary itself might be well run and look after the animals but the fact of its existence often encourages poachers to take animals away from their natural habitats for the purposes of visitation. If you want to visit one of these places check first to see if the animals are released back into the wild after rehabilitation.
Contribute to a Cause
If you’re a charitable person by nature you might be interested in contributing to the global community by sharing your skills and experiences with the wider world. This is an excellent way to engage with global communities and communicate; doing so can bring great value to the lives of disadvantaged communities and to your own life.
This pursuit is perhaps one of the richer and more ethical holiday choices, but a word of caution. When you go into a disadvantaged community you must remain humble. There is nothing worse than an outsider who wants to “fix things.” Some issues don’t have an easy solution even if it looks that way to you. Stay open and understanding with the community and it will be a rewarding experience for everyone.
Avoid Flights if Possible
It’s amazing that humans have the technology to step into an aircraft and fly to the other side of the world in a matter of hours, witnessing the sunrise and the sunset on the same journey. Unfortunately, the technology that makes this possible is also responsible for damaging the atmosphere of the planet and threatening its existence.
Like Venus, a once earth-like planet that experienced runaway climate change, planet earth also has a fragile balance. If that balance is tipped there will be no escaping the same desolate, toxic fate as Venus. That’s not to put travelers off using flights but the frequency of flights can be reduced and other choices can be made. In general long haul flights are more efficient as the aircraft uses most fuel on take off.
Do Your Research
Being a responsible global citizen means adopting a different viewpoint when it comes to travel and making political choices. In general it means becoming more sensitive to the needs of people and animals in global communities and supporting them through investment and shared experience. The more you know about these people, their home environment and their lifestyle, the better informed and prepared you are. This is why research is all important.