Travelers from around the world are becoming increasingly aware of the ecological, economic and social impact of traveling. That’s why a lot of them choose to discover new countries through sustainable tourism. But sometimes it is easier said than done. Do you also want to travel in a sustainable and responsible way but you don’t know where to start?
We’d like to share some tips and tricks about fun apps and websites that help you create a more ecological trip, gain a better understanding of foreign cultures, establish profound interactions with locals, find places where you can eat local or vegetarian food, find volunteering options and learn more about fauna and flora while you’re on the road.
Turn your seat green
“Responsible travel minimizes negative ecological impacts.” That’s one of the most important points in the Cape Town Declaration, the founding document of the Responsible Travel Movement. But how can you make up for your negative ecological footprint if you want to travel to the other side of the planet?
Biking, taking a hydrogen bus or a green energy train are a few options. But unfortunately these CO2 neutral alternatives can’t be found everywhere. That’s why a Dutch guy created GreenSeat. It’s a website where you can calculate your CO2 emission when you’re traveling by train, car, bus or plane. The idea is that you can compensate your trip by supporting their different green energy projects. Of course it’s not the perfect solution for more environmentally friendly travel but it’s a good alternative to travel in a climate smart way. And let’s admit it, turning our seat green also has a positive impact on our conscience.
An accountant in your pocket
Want to enjoy your time with friends more or have more time on the beach instead of arranging money issues after a cosy dinner or an adventure tour? Payback Calculator can be your private accountant! It’s a free app you can download to manage your group finances during your trip. This very user-friendly app saves you a lot of time and calculations!
For every entry you make, you can decide who paid what. You can also share the payment summary with all your travel companions to inform them about the expenses.
Playful language classes
Sustainable tourism is also about valuable experiences and meaningful connections with locals. But communicating isn’t always easy if you don’t speak the language. That’s why Duolingo is a fun way to learn a new language so you can have more personal interactions with locals! ¡Oye amigo! ¿Que hay de nuevo?
With the Duolingo app, it seems more as if you are playing a game instead of taking language classes, because it uses different methods of learning which will always make you feel engaged!
Eat like a local
Almost everywhere in the world you find big multinational food chains in city streets such as McDonalds, Subway, KFC and so on. But if you really want to try the local food and support the local economy, Eat Your World can be an interesting website to give you a kick-start.
It’s not always easy to guess what food you’ll get on your plate if you order “Tacu Tacu”, “Chanfainita” or “Tiradito” when you first visit Peru. But with this handy webpage you’ll find a nice overview of local dishes per country with photos of delicious looking plates! Maybe even the “cuy” (guinea pig) looks more inviting to give it a try!
Are you a real food daredevil, just ordering any dish you can pronounce? Then you can also share your own food experiences on their webpage by uploading your regional food pictures or food memories.
Responsible and sustainable travel is about so much more than just traveling from one place to another. Sometimes you should take a chance, put your “Lonely Planet” away and just try something new to really immerse yourself in another culture. Volunteering can be a good option!
With the website VolunteerMatch you can easily get in touch with local NGO’s all around the world. You can click on the country that you are going to and learn more about the possibilities and requirements to become a volunteer. The sky is the limit!
The Zoological Society of London created the Instant Wild app. They placed live cameras in remote nature reserves around the world. By identifying the wild animals on pictures taken you play a direct role in helping conservation scientists understand and protect wildlife! If you want, you can follow a specific camera somewhere in the wild and receive notifications if a new photograph of a wild animal is taken!
With this app, it’s also possible to comment on the images, pose questions or point out identifying features. You can also discuss what’s been spotted in each photograph with others online and see live wild animals from the comfort of your own living room on the Instant Wild website.
Sharing is caring!
A new trend is the “sharing economy”. More and more people are taking part in this open-source community and share or give access to their goods or services. As a traveler, you can also take part in this peer-to-peer exchange by using the Spinlister app!
With this app, you can easily rent a bike from a local to discover a city or the countryside in a different and sustainable way. You can message the “listers” and coordinate the pick-up location. There’s even an insurance you can take through the app if you’re afraid your bike will get stolen or damaged during the rental period. For the sportier travelers, there are also surfboards, stand-up paddle boards and ski and snowboard material for rent! Is this tickling your curiosity? Take a look at their promo video here!