Pay a trip to the over-crowded campsites of the UK, and you’ll realise that eco-tourism is booming right now. More and more people are dining in restaurants using locally-sourced ingredients, visiting attractions that offset their carbon emissions and using energy efficient transport.
The term ‘green travel’ now means so much more than re-using the same soggy towel over and over again at the hotel.
The eco-friendly travel app market is still in its early stages, but the apps that do exist are doing a fantastic job. Read up on our top five for 2013!
1. TripSketch Green Book
If you thought eco-friendly holidays were just about eating brown rice and tofu, think again. TripSketch Green Book is a worldwide guidebook giving you green recommendations for tours, hotels and restaurants in over 80 cities around the world. Reduce your carbon footprint by taking a walking tour rather than a bus tour and dine in restaurants practicing farm-to-table cooking. Green Book may seem quite expensive at around £3.28, but given the amount of information contained, it’s a bargain. 20% of the price goes towards social projects, too.
2. Instant Wild
Could this be the most selfless app on your iPhone? Instant Wild was created by the Zoological Society of London to help monitor endangered species in the wild. Stream live photos of wild animals straight to your smartphone from camera traps placed in remote locations. Users can identify rare species, aiding the Zoological Society in their classification efforts. The app is great for spotting elusive wild dogs, leopards and rhinos, and you can share your favourite finds with your friends on Facebook or Twitter. A veritable photo safari for your daily commute, while also helping to preserve endangered species. Right on!
Flying can really rack up your CO2 emissions, but you can learn to travel more efficiently with the help of Twavel. This fun and kid-friendly app lets you calculate CO2 emissions associated with your travel choice. How often you ride your bike over take a taxi will influence the Twavel character you become – from ‘wheezing machine beast’ to ‘fresh-air loving friend’. Best of all, the app has its own social network so you can compare carbon footprints with friends in a global eco-conscious community.
Why take a taxi when you can use pedal power? Cities like Paris, Brussels and Luxembourg are easy to get around by bike, and Velo lets you quickly find the public cycle hire points near you. This app plots your actual location on a stylised cartoon map, with available bikes shown in green and places you can leave them in red. It’s a great tool for newcomers to a city, and by renting a bike you’ll see much more than you would normally.
If you’re planning that little bit longer in a new place, why not do some volunteering? VolunteerMatch is the leading app for connecting willing helpers with good causes. From office admin to mentoring, you’re bound to find something suitable for you from the 62,000+ options available. The app tells you which skill sets are required, and if you’re not sure you can check reviews from other volunteers. Volunteering abroad can be an enriching experience as well as helping a good cause.