TripAdvisor (free, iTunes)
THE great allrounder, TripAdvisor takes its dynamic world of reviews, accommodation options, things to do, flights and forums and packages in a pocket rocket app that delivers more often than not, no matter where you are in the world. Virtual tours, a cool “near me” geo-tagging feature, and millions of reviews and photos from our world of fellow travellers.
Flight Track ($5.49, iTunes)
Ultimately the only way to reduce your carbon is to consume less, travel less and do everything less – other than have sex and take other forms of exercise.
But you are not going to do that are you?
So Carbon calculators do have a useful role to play in working out what impact you are having on the planet, and incidentally, on your own bank balance if individual carbon allowances ever come into force. Here is a guide to the best ones.
There are more and more responsible and ethical travel guides, including Lonely Planet’s recent “Lonely Planet Code Green: Experiences of a Lifetime ” and the upcoming “Green Travel: The World’s Best Eco-Lodges & Earth-Friendly Hotels” from Fodor’s Travel, aim to give readers a way to judge the sustainability of operations from lodges to wildlife treks. In a world where commercial enterprises are increasingly eager to tout their eco-tourist credentials, these specialty books help travelers distinguish environmental ventures from orchestrated PR. (In fact, “Code Green” has a short section on “How to Tell if Your Holiday Is Green or Just Greenwash,” and Rough Guides has a similar feature in its recently released “25 Ultimate Experiences: Ethical Travel.”)
Some publishers, such as the U.K.’s Rough Guides and Australia’s Lonely Planet, have integrated the concept into all their books and Web sites. They urge readers to reduce their global warming emissions and compensate for those they generate over the course of a vacation. Both companies’ Web sites have a feature allowing visitors to calculate the global warming impact of any given trip and then donate money to Climate Care, a British group that compensates for carbon emissions by funding initiatives that cut greenhouse gases. Every Rough Guide, moreover, contains a section urging travelers to stay longer in a given location to minimize their climate impact.
Actress Pamela Stephenson achieved her dream of sailing the world for a year, and now she doesn’t want to stop.
Stephenson, 56-year-old psychologist and former comedienne, who has three children with the Big Yin, Billy Connolly, said she was sick of being the “responsible one” and was desperate to escape her humdrum existence.
So she embarked on a mid-life adventure which saw her sail 19,000 nautical miles in ten months, visit uncharted islands and resist a hunky fisherman. But this was no primitive idyll. She travelled in a 112ft super-yacht with a crew of seven.
She has written a book on her travels, Treasure Islands, which she says has helped put her life in order: “I’ve survived. And I’ve never been so terrified.” You can buy the book on the next page.
For the conscientious traveller, certain countries are better choices than others. The world’s most ethical travel destinations, selected for their support for ecotourism, environmental protection and social development are, in alphabetical order, Argentina, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Costa Rica, Croatia, Ecuador, Kenya, Peru, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, South Africa and Uruguay.
At first glance, ecological concerns and tourism appear unlikely bedfellows. But according to the World Wildlife Fund, the concept of ecotourism combines “the pleasures of discovering and understanding spectacular flora and fauna and peoples of traditional cultures with an opportunity to contribute to their protection.” (Please click “more” for rest of story).
Ethical Travel Guide: Your Passport to Exciting Alternative Holidays – buy it from Amazon US
Eco-Touring: The Ultimate Guide – buy it from Amazon UK – £14.99
Welcome to the Beta version of a new kind of travel web site, specialising in eco-destinations, and ethical ways of getting there.
We want to hear from YOU, dear readers, with any eco-friendly havens you can recommend to the rest of the Web. Of course we recognise that the system is imperfect. We will always cause some damage just by gettinginto a plane or a car. So we will be featuring companies that at least offset their carbon.
Anyway, that’s an ongoing debate. Most times, when people want to travel to clear their head and get a bit of peace of mind, the last thing you want to worry about is damaging the environment. We are here to give you the tools to holiday with a clear conscience.
Today, Suenos Tulum on Tulum Beach Mexico, 90 miles south of Cancun at the end of a stretch of shoreline on the Caribbean Sea known as the Maya Riviera.
Lydia Polzer spent last Christmas on an intense 10-day retreat – Once you have heard her experiences, there’s still time to book yourself in for this year.
Ever since I lost my childlike excitement about everything sparkling, Christmas lost its, well, sparkle. So my relief was great when I found a low-impact, alternative to Christmas crackers and stockings last year on a hill near Sheringham in rural East Anglia. A 10-day Vipassana meditation retreat does add a new dimension to “Silent Night”. The Christmas period in noble silence sounded like music to my carol-worn ears. I added up the hours of meditation on the daily schedule of the retreat and felt a little intimidated when I got to eleven.
That’s a lot of silence.
“Lost” is “Baywatch” for the new millennium.
And just as Baywatch embodied the values of the 80s, so Lost incorporates our current set of values – all our secret hopes and fears. It must do – that’s why its successful.
So what does the success of Lost tell us about ourselves? Fans talk about the suspenseful story lines and the sexy actors (see the unofficial LOST site).
The great modern fear – death by aircraft, is too obvious to be mentioned. More subtly, the idea of being somewhere primitive but idyllic and making the most of it, is of course, close to the ethical travel life we espouse on this site, and which the success of Lost suggests must be a great hidden theme in our technologically driven advertising- saturated lives. “Lost on paradise isle and never wanting to be rescued” shouts the London Daily Express in one article about the series.
Off-grid is a state of mind as much as, or more than, a way of getting your water and energy.
The Northwest US has many destinations for spiritual retreats, and we have listed 40 of the best on the next page. We will build up a retreat directory for the whole of N America and Europe shortly, so please write to us with your recommendations.
Click for list.
Camper Vans have celebrity fans — actor Matthew McConaughey convinced girlfriend Penelope Cruz to go on holiday with him in his camper van this year. He said: “I love my mobile home, I can feel my independence. I have everything I need.” The film About Schmidt, in which Jack Nicholson played a man who set out on a cross-country journey in a camper van, apparently led to a rise in sales of luxury camper vans to pensioners.
US households with RVs (i.e. motorhomes, or camper van as they are called in the UK) will reach 8 million by the end of the decade, according to the RVIA 2005 business indicators. There are just 3 million camper van owners in Europe – 500,000 of them in Italy. Last year a record 8,487 new motor homes and camper vans were registered for use on British roads. The market for camper vans grew in France by 3.7% per cent and in Germany by 6.6%.