Christmas is right around the corner!

What To Give?

Stumped about what to get the traveler in your life? Try these ideas!

When it comes time to buy a travel-loving friend a gift, it’s easy to feel stuck on what to get. Journals are great — but not all travelers are journalers, and those that are often have at least a few blank ones on hand. Here are unique takes on classic ideas for the various kinds of travelers in your life.

For the foodie: send delicious global flavors right to their doorstep. Try The World with top chefs from Argentina to Morocco who assemble gorgeous boxes filled with curated delicacies from each country.  Delivered every month, each box contains descriptions for how to use the tasty and exotic flavors in your own recipes.

Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

For the well-accessorized: customize a favorite map to make cufflinks, a bracelet, or pendant. Have a special place you want to commemorate? Maybe the place of a first date, or a favorite childhood destination? This can be a beautiful and deeply personal way to show your traveler that you know what matters to them most.

For the crafty commemorator: check out this simple, beautiful way to re-trace steps and wonderful memories with a map and thread. The maps can be titled, as well. Imagine a wall decorated with these minimalist representations of adventures!

For the traveler who has everything and wants to give back: Why not make a donation to a favorite cause in your traveler’s name? You can choose organizations that support environmental stewardship, advocate for people in crisis, promote education, or help bring beauty, such as Tourism Cares, The TreadRight Foundation or Cool Effect.

For the traveler who’s always up for adventure: Experiences pack the biggest punch, happiness-wise. At Experience Days you can give the gift of a lifelong great memory to someone you care about. Try everything from hang gliding to art lessons throughout the United States. What a great surprise for honeymooners or a friend’s next big adventure!

For the gadget-junkie: this funky, universal worldwide travel adapter is perfect for the tech-savvy traveling family and will help ensure everything stays running smoothly.  For the hardcore gadget-junkie, what about these stylish vests, hoodies, and jackets with interior pockets (for men and women) to hold everything from smartphones to keys to water bottles?

For the photographer: If your friend is never without her smartphone or camera, why not make it easy for her to create beautiful, lasting photo albums, calendars, or prints of her best shots? At Artifact Uprising, she can connect directly with her Instagram account and assemble her most gorgeous memories.

If you need help planning the next adventure to fill an album, stitch on a map, or wear around your neck — or to give the gift of travel! — contact me today and let’s get started!

Photo by Porapak Apichodilok on Pexels.com

WTTC and Tourism Industry CEOs Call for Sector to Be Climate Neutral by 2050

sustain globe forest

The World Travel & Tourism Council, along with 50 CEOs, heads of state, ministers and industry leaders are calling for climate-neutrality by 2050.

The call to action is the result of the first-ever Climate and Environment Action Forum, which is taking place this week in New York City.

The event also resulted in the announcement of an action plan called 0SCARS that is designed to encourage members (leaders from airports, airlines, hotels, tourism boards, travel, technology, and cruise companies) to adopt and accelerate sustainability programs and to share best practices.

The 0SCARS framework includes the following, according to a statement from WTTC:

— 0 [Zero] – WTTC has an ambition for the travel and tourism sector to be climate neutral by 2050. WTTC said it intends to work with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change [UNFCCC], to establish a framework for decarbonization of the global travel and tourism sector.

— S [Support] – Support the travel and tourism sector in developing ambitious climate strategies, such as setting science-based targets, and in reducing the impact of current activities, products and services by continuously using resources in more efficient ways.

WTTC said it will also work to support energy efficiency measures, renewable energy, and waste reduction, both within companies [throughout the value chain] and with governments to develop incentives to invest in nature-based solutions.

— C [Change] – Develop or share research and evidence for how travel and tourism companies can reduce actual emissions and invest in emission reduction schemes in projects through UNFCCC or equivalent recognized mechanisms.

— A [Act] – WTTC and its members will identify and implement new sustainability strategies and innovative business models as well as seek to align sustainable development efforts with the UN SDGs.

The plan also calls for a commitment to prioritize sustainability by setting ambitious, time-bound sustainability targets, as well as collaborating and sharing data and best practices to improve sustainability.

It also suggests engaging consumers in efforts to make travel more sustainable.

WTTC said it intends to produce an annual report of action that will articulate and show demonstrable movement towards Climate Friendly Travel and progress towards sustainability commitments.

— R [Recognition] – Through the sustainable WTTC travel and tourism partners, WTTC will invite all companies, large and small, to sign up for the program so that they can be recognized for their commitments and progress towards sector sustainability.

— S [Share] –WTTC will launch a Sustainable Travel & Tourism Hub, which will be designed to fuel research, drive best practice sharing, and foster collaboration with key partners including the UNFCCC and UNEP and other experts to find climate solutions that are applicable across the sector.

World Travel & Tourism Council President & Chief Executive Officer, Gloria Guevara, said the new program is the culmination of nearly two years of work, building on a partnership with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to accelerate towards climate neutrality for a sector that has climate and environment action as its top priority.

“As the leaders within the travel and tourism industry, we have the power to drive real change,” said Guevara. “The WTTC has the opportunity to convene the industry so we can move faster, contribute, and address the significant environmental and sustainability challenges facing our world. ”

From a consumer standpoint, 0SCARS aims to help travelers recognize, with a simple and visible stamp in the form of a turtle, the suppliers with sustainable practices.

Within a year, the WTTC hopes to establish this identifier and with the involvement of experts, members, UNFCCC, and UNEP intends to create future higher levels, based on performance.

Climate change is outpacing us, outpacing our collective ability to get a handle on it, and could soon outpace global business and have a devastating impact on the global economy itself,” said Patricia Espinosa, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary.

“The WTTC’s Sustainability Action Plan is a “timely and important initiative” and a welcomed opportunity to work together to identify ways to achieve climate neutrality in the sector by 2050.”

Source: WTTC and Tourism Industry CEOs Call for Sector to Be Climate Neutral by 2050

Voluntourism: Take a Trip, Make a Difference

The famous playwright Henry Miller said, “One’s destination is never a place, but rather a new way of looking at things.”

Those who travel know this well. The places we visit — whether it’s a state park near home or a safari in an exotic locale — have the power to change us in many ways, both simple and profound. We learn about ourselves and others, about being able to deal with uncertainty, about gratitude, about being in the moment and appreciating the world and extraordinary people around us.

What if your next trip could not only change you, but change the world for the better? Have you considered taking a service-centered vacation?

As our world rapidly shrinks due to connectivity and easy access to information, we are becoming more aware of life outside of our small, comparatively privileged bubbles. More and more people are asking how they can make a difference.

Also known as “voluntourism”, service-based trips offer the opportunity to spend your vacation time, skills, and dollars with those who need them most. They’re also great opportunities for kids (and adults!) to learn empathy and gain a perspective on today’s most pressing issues like global poverty, the environmental impact of climate change, the well-being of children, and conservation of animals and the natural world.

Here are a few tips to get you started and help you make the most of any volunteer vacation.

Go with heart, but plan with your head. Like any kind of travel, voluntourism is vulnerable to scams and fraud. I can provide you with names of reputable and responsible companies. Make sure you know what to pack, which vaccinations are required, which fees might apply, and what challenges (if any) might be present in the area or the work you’re about to engage in.

Look for opportunities that encourage relationship. It can be easy and somewhat tempting to pop in someplace, make an appearance, and then leave. Your feel-good emotions are triggered, and you don’t have to commit much of yourself to a place or a project. But that shortchanges both you and the recipients of your good intentions.

The website www.govoluntourism.org puts it like this: “A balanced engagement alternating between voluntary service and tourism activities allows for a reciprocal relationship with communities. The economic impact of tourism is blended with the social impact of volunteering: recipients become servers and servers become recipients.”

Know yourself. If you’ve never been exposed to extreme poverty or the pressing plight of some of the globe’s endangered species, be aware that trips like these can be extremely emotionally demanding. Talk to people, research, ask questions, and be prepared for what you might see and experience.

Especially where kids are involved, always opt for good training and a true time commitment. There are many people who have a deep heart for the suffering of children worldwide, and they want to do something to lift spirits and support good work. Again, look for reputable companies that understand the complex issues associated with working with children and other vulnerable populations. For example, breezing into town and spending an afternoon at an orphanage and then leaving the next day can be very distressing for kids who are already dealing with the pain of leaving and loss. A good volunteer organization will tell you exactly what is required of you to have the greatest positive impact on others’ lives — and you can decide if it’s a commitment you want to make.

Take time to rest and process. When your engagement is over, take at least few days before leaving to get to know the community you’re visiting better (many organizations will build this into your trip), to rest, and to write or talk about your experience with others. Many people are surprised by how life-changing these trips can be — in the best possible ways! — and it can take a while to integrate that new perspective into your everyday life.

Stay in touch. Even if you never visit that particular location again, it’s a good idea and can bring your experience full-circle if you stay connected to the organization you volunteered with. Sign up for newsletter updates; share photos you took; write a note or email a few times a year.

Looking for some more ideas? Check out books like this one, or check out this list to see more trusted organizations. The world is a big place — but you can make a big difference!

As always, I’m thrilled to be in a business that helps connect people with the best places and the best parts of themselves. If you’re ready to plan your next adventure, you can reach me simply by clicking here.

One in Five Americans Will Be Scammed When Booking Summer Travel

Don’t be that one!  Summer travel should be all about rest, relaxation and fun.  Unfortunately, cyber-criminals are targeting travelers in a variety of ways including on sites designed to steal personal data and hard-earned money.

A just-released study by McAfee found that one in five Americans have been scammed or nearly scammed when booking summer travel.

Additional concerning findings revealed in the study, which involved surveying 1,000 Americans, included:

— 30 percent of travel-related scam victims reported they lost between $1,000 and $3,000 as a result of the fraudulent activity.

— Nearly one-third (31 percent) of vacation scam victims were defrauded after spotting a deal that was too good to be true.

— Nearly one-third of consumers (31 percent) are leaving the door open to fraud because they do not check the authenticity of a website before booking a trip online

— Despite 36 percent of people expressing concerns about having their personal data stolen while on vacation, almost half (42 percent) said they either do not check the security of their internet connection or they willingly connect to an unsecured network while traveling.

The report from McAfee also identifies what it calls the riskiest destinations, places most vulnerable to booking scams.

The findings show that popular summer destinations in Mexico, Europe – and, surprisingly, Canmore, Canada – generate the riskiest search results when people are hunting for vacation deals online.

Here are the top summer destinations hackers are targeting via potentially malicious sites:

1. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

2. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

3. Amsterdam, Netherlands

4. Venice, Italy

5. Canmore, Canada

Taking advantage of the high search volumes for accommodation and deals in these popular destinations, cyber-criminals drive unsuspecting users to potentially malicious websites that can be used to install malware and steal personal information or passwords, according to McAfee.

Meanwhile, a small group of victims (13 percent) shared that their identity was stolen after sharing their passport details with cyber-criminals during the booking process.

The majority of survey respondents (80 percent) said they worry about having their identity stolen during the research and booking process or while traveling abroad for summer vacations.

But despite these worries, less than 25 percent of people feel that they have the right security in place to prevent their identity from being stolen.

“The last thing that consumers should have to deal with during or after a vacation is an identity scam or personal privacy issue,” Gary Davis, McAfee’s Chief Consumer Security Evangelist, said in a statement “While cybersecurity threats, unfortunately, exist during most stages of the booking and travel experience, consumers can take proactive steps to protect themselves and minimize the risk to ensure scams and other nefarious activities don’t spoil summer travel plans.”

So how does one keep their data safe? Here’s what McAfee suggests.

Only access verified websites

Only click on websites that your security software has identified as being safe. For example, McAfee WebAdvisor will identify safe websites with a green checkmark and will block malware and phishing sites if you accidentally click on a malicious link from your search results.

Use trusted platforms and verified payment methods when finalizing your bookings. Fraudsters may try to lure you away from a trusted platform with the promise of discounted rates. Remember to keep all your communications and bookings to trusted platforms and verify the site before entering payment information. This will help protect you from phishing and other cyber fraud.

Utilize an identity theft solution

With all this personal data floating around online, it’s important that you protect your identity. Use an identity theft solution to help protect personally identifiable information from identity theft and fraud.

Always connect with caution

If you have to conduct transactions on a public Wi-Fi connection, use a virtual private network (VPN) to help keep your connection secure.

Enjoy your summer travels and stay cyber-safe!