7 Apps for Green Road Tripping
Summer vacation is often an excuse to pack on the pounds: not just on our hips but also on our carbon footprints. These apps will keep your footprint slim and trim by offering low-carbon, high-adventure options for green summer fun.
Take a few cars off the road by carpooling. Zimride allows users to post and book rides with local Zimriders headed for the same destination. Detailed profiles help you get to know your future carmates and connect on social media. As a driver, you can even earn gas money.
Gas money? How very 20th century. Try EV plug-in bucks. Rental car companies are adding more and more electric vehicles to their fleets, and thanks to Plugshare you no longer need to fear running out of charge in the middle of Nowheresville. The app’s easy-to-use maps cover over 50,000 EV charging stations worldwide, and users can add and review stations.
Whether you’re driving a factory-fresh hybrid or grandpa’s jalopy, your leadfoot won’t do your MPG any favors. So place greenMeter on your dashboard and watch it evaluate your driving in real time, providing instant graphical feedback on your acceleration, rolling resistance, and aerodynamic drag. GreenMeter will show you how modulating these factors can maximize your efficiency and reduce fuel consumption.
4. Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder
Stopping for a picnic along the way? Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder offers a searchable database of national parks, national forests, and state and local parks. You can also filter results in 30 activity categories, including hiking, picnicking, and birdwatching. That meadow coming up on your left? It has disc golf!
5. TripSketch Greenbook
If you’re visiting a major city, chances are it’s listed in the TripSketch Greenbook, which profiles 80 cities in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, and Oceania. The app is a great place to begin planning your outings, with in-depth reviews and insider tips for green attractions, restaurants, hotels, transportation, and tours. With just a click of the “Buy” button, you can boost your vacation karma: 20% of the purchase price is donated to the social projects profiled in the Greenbook.
Another way to make your vacation count is by volunteering in the local community. Find organizations and events that need your help with VolunteerMatch. Filter the opportunities by event date to find ones that Match your travel schedule.
You may be on a carbon diet, but deprivation is not on the menu. Skip plastic-wrapped snacks and disposable fast-food containers and indulge instead in package-free bulk foods. With ZeroWasteHome Bulk, you can search, add, and rate bulk options at local stores. Tailor your search to determine whether the venue offers a salad bar or dry goods like trail mix. Each listing notes whether the store will allow you to use your own containers.
--Image courtesy of iStockphoto/kwanisik