Archives for March 2008

Geotourism Challenge

On February 7th I wrote about hotel chains that are stepping up to make a difference in the environment by adding recycling programs and decreasing their usage of water and electricity. Another amazing thing that’s happening around the world right now is Geotourism.

Geotourism is about more than an environmental footprint but also how a hotel or tourist hotspot affects the character, culture and future of the places they reside. National Geographic defines Geotourism as “tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place—its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents.”

I was recently made aware of an amazing contest being sponsored by National Geographic and Ashoka (an organization that helps entrepreneurs in under developed countries). The purpose of the contest is that entrants nominate individuals and organizations that support Geotourism.

You can take part in the contest by:

• Nominating candidates or enter the competition yourself
• Comment on entries in the online discussion throughout the competition. Use the contest forum to help tourism innovators refine and improve their ideas or simply learn more about great organizations to support in your travels
• Vote for three Geotourism Challenge winners from a slate of finalists

As of today, there are 89 entries in 44 countries! To name to a few: the 3 Sisters Adventure Trekking in Nepal; The Centre for Research in Environment in Kenya; and the Arenas del Mar Sustainable Beach Resort in Costa Rica.

You can visit the Geotourism Challenge Contest to read about these amazing organizations or perhaps nominate someone you know

Coffee souvenirs

Tea drinkers are starting to take over but even tea drinkers appreciate the smell of freshly ground coffee beans. A bag or tin of coffee is a suitable souvenir for friends, family and business acquaintances. It doesn’t take up much room in your luggage and is an excellent way to enjoy the unique flavors of many countries.

Whether you travel to popular coffee producing locations such as Costa Rica, Brazil, Columbia, Mexico, Kenya, India, Ethiopia or to popular coffee drinking nations like Italy or Turkey, coffee is an inexpensive and simple gift to bring home.

Some of my favourite coffee destinations include:

Brazil – I am pretty sure is the largest coffee producing nation in the world, producing 35% of the world’s coffee according to Coffee Terms. Brazil beans are used in many Espresso blends. There really isn’t a better souvenir from Brazil – unless you are into football.

Costa Rica – The time I spent in Costa Rica drinking Tarrazu coffee was hands down my most compelling coffee experience. So much so, Costa Rican coffee is always in my freezer and I frequently order it right from Café Britt for gifts.

Hawaii – The largest of the Hawaiian Islands produces an amazing coffee bean called Kona. In the grand scheme of things, it is a very small producer of the world’s coffee, but it is very exotic and sought after. A cop of 100% pure Kona coffee (only available in Hawaii) is absolutely wonderful, especially when it’s accompanied by chocolate covered macadamia nuts.

Tips for buying coffee

  • Buy it at a grocery store or local shop. You will save a bundle
  • Wrap it in a tight plastic bag before you pack or everything you own will smell like coffee
  • If you have to keep it for a while once you get home, store it in the freezer

World SIM Card

If you find yourself traveling overseas a lot, then chances are you have a huge phone bill. Perhaps you have already heard about International SIM cards and how you can switch the SIM card in your unlocked cell phone for a local country card every time that you travel saving you a bundle on roaming fees.

Maybe your even a step farther and have a cell phone that you use only for International travel by buying a SIM card for that trip for that country. You are certainly ahead of the game if you travel one country at a time. However, if you spend a lot of time in several countries or even several continents – you are spending unnecessary time and money by constantly switching your SIM cards.

The World SIM Card from Brightroam is the ideal solution for international travelers roaming through more than one country. It covers over 160 countries and still gives you 50-80% savings you expect from Brightroam International SIM cards.

So if you’re an international jet-setter who travels everywhere all the time, your worldly knowledge has expanded to saving valuable time and money with one SIM card to keep you in touch.

More shutter action with Eye-Fi

Do you take lots of photos while traveling and have no time to upload them to your laptop or the web? Check out Eye-Fi, a handy little memory card for your camera that also includes wireless technology so you can sync your camera to your laptop or the web without ever plugging it in.

Winner of MacWorld 2008 Best of Show and one of PC World’s 25 most innovative products, this handy little card will set you back $100 but its well worth it for the tech enthused. It’s very convenient for instantly moving photos off your camera onto your laptop for a presentation or slide show while traveling on business. However, it also offers technology to upload your photos directly to a photo sharing site like Shutterfly or a social networking site like Facebook to share with friends. See which photo destinations it supports.

It’s compatible with virtually all digital cameras accepting SD memory cards and will run on Windows and Mac operating systems. Find out more.