Top Tools For Socially-Conscious Travel


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This post was written by guest columnist and TED staffer Stephanie Kent. You can follow her on Twitter @StephKent.

Whether you’re on a business trip or looking to unwind and explore a new culture, you’re probably well versed in the travel sites that help us get the most bang for our buck on airline tickets and hotels. If you want to leave a tiny environmental footprint, support your host community, or take away memories of locales you won’t find in any guidebook, there’s a new suite of travel aides you can’t leave home without: tools for socially-conscious travel. 

Google’s Field Trip helps you veer off the tourists’ path by sending notifications to your phone when something interesting is nearby your GPS location. This discovery app is your local guide to everything from local shops with hidden entrances to breathtaking architecture looming above you. Field Trip really unlocks the DNA of a city to help you discover its secret corners.

Trip-goers with a long-standing commitment to eating locally and those looking to dine responsibly (not to mention deliciously!) during their travels must be sure to bring Locavore along for the ride. This no bells and whistles app is an encyclopedia of seasonal food in your region. You’ll have access to recipes from other locavores in the area and nearby farmers markets, farms, and CSAs to pickup the ingredients. Is your hotel room not optimized for whipping up your own meal? Fear not, the list of foods in season is also a great way to determine eco-friendly orders from local restaurant menus. 

Travelers who want to inject sustainability into their trip need look no further than Green Passport. This app provides tips and reminders for keeping your trip environmentally, economically, and socially responsible. A guide to CO2 emissions caused by your journeys, advice on what to pack, and a reminder to consider traveling by foot or bike instead of car are just a few of the helpful tools Green Passport provides.  

What travel tools make your trips into a more meaningful experience? To share the tools you won’t leave home without, recommend an addition to The Toolbox here

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