7 sustainable travel experiences to have this summer as an ecotourist

June 24, 2019 by  
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Planning an international trip can be pretty overwhelming as it is, but it can be even harder for eco-friendly travelers looking for sustainable activities that promote cultural travel and ecotourism. Luckily, more and more travel companies and agencies are making it easier to travel with the environment in mind. Start off by researching green destinations, travel packages and green hotels at websites like Lokal Travel , Green Pearls or Responsible Travel . The World Travel Market Responsible Tourism website is a great resource, as it gives out awards each year recognizing worldwide travel organizations in categories such as “Best for Reducing Carbon & Other Greenhouse Gases” and “Best for Reducing Plastic Waste.” Look for hotels and resorts that have been certified eco-friendly or green, that have clear evidence of protecting the Earth, that are built with environmental sustainability in mind or that have made the investments to truly change their business models toward long-term sustainability. Once you’ve chosen a destination and accommodation, look for travel companies that are trying to help the local culture or the land in a positive, significant way and have hired local employees with fair wages. While these organizations are usually small and focused on a few specific places, there are larger companies doing good work as well. Sadly, plenty of “volunteer” programs out there are aimed at making the client feel good about themselves, rather than making an effort to make a positive difference on the destination (or at the very least leave it unharmed by the presence of visitors). If your volunteer trip costs money, find out where the money is going. Related: Natural Habitat Adventures launches the world’s first zero-waste vacations Of course, flying is something to keep in mind, as the carbon emissions from airplanes are high. Don’t be afraid to stay close to home or travel by train to somewhere near you. If you do decide to fly, as many of the destinations below might require unless you are a local, do some research into the most sustainable airlines and consider carbon offsets to ever-so-slightly lessen the impact of this form of travel. Here are seven eco-friendly activities to enjoy in destinations around the world. Watch the Northern Lights in Norway Not only is Norway one of the most environmentally conscious countries on Earth, it is also one of the most beautiful. Its capital city of Oslo was named Europe’s greenest capital by the European Union in 2019. When it comes to seeing the Northern Lights, don’t do it as an afterthought. Take the time to plan a trip with local guides that benefits the economy. Consider an immersion program with the indigenous Sámi people, who have recently embraced sustainable tourism as a vital source of local income. Volunteer in the Galapagos, Ecuador An undisputed leader in ecotourism destinations worldwide, the Galapagos are home to some of the most exciting and important lands on the planet. Almost 100 percent of the island chain is protected as a national park , and visitor fees go straight toward conservation efforts. Look for a company that organizes volunteer trips rather than sightseeing; the latter creates unnecessary trash and carbon emissions. Book an eco-friendly safari in Kenya It’s no secret that poaching is one of African wildlife’s greatest threats. Eco-friendly safaris and lodges provide alternative employment to poaching in Kenya, all while supporting the community and putting money toward the upkeep of nature preserves. A good tourism company works hand-in-hand with the local people (such as the Maasai tribe in Kenya) to protect the land and animals. Consider staying on conservancy lands, where the area has been set aside for wildlife conservation and is strictly regulated. Related: 7 eco-friendly and conservation-minded safari lodges across Africa Help save elephants in Thailand The tourism industry is beginning to see elephant riding for what it is — cruel. What was once a misunderstood and popular bucket-list item is now one of the main proponents responsible for the rise of ecotourism. Skip the elephant ride and opt for a trip to an elephant rescue center, where your money will go toward the betterment of these animals rather than the exploitation of them. For a day trip, check out the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, but if you want to spend a week or more volunteering, the Surin Project is another great choice. Go hiking in New Zealand New Zealand is world-renowned for its luxury ecotourism (such as “ glamping ”) as well as plenty of hiking opportunities that let tourists submerge themselves in the natural environment without doing any damage. Another thing to consider: Air New Zealand recently got rid of all single-use plastics from its entire fleet of planes. That means no plastic bags, cups or straws are being used on any of these flights, resulting in about 24 million less pieces of plastic being used each year. Visit animal sanctuaries in Costa Rica Costa Rica pledged to become the first carbon-neutral country by 2021, and with 25 percent of its territory protected as national parks or biological reserves, it is setting the bar pretty high for the rest of the world. The country is known for its abundance of eco-friendly accommodations and wildlife sanctuaries. Check out the Corcovado National Park on the Osa Peninsula or the Jaguar Rescue Center in the Limón Province. Stay in self-sustaining accommodation in the Maldives With more than 1,000 islands making up this archipelago, environmental awareness and protecting the ocean is a vital part of life in the Maldives. For example, Soneva Fushi Resort has been completely carbon-neutral since 2014. It has an on-site recycling program, and all the water used at the resort is desalinated. Ninety percent of the waste produced is recycled, including 100 percent of the food waste , and all of the facilities run on the energy from solar panels. Images via Derek Thomson , Claudia Regina , Peter Swaine , Marcel Oosterwijk , Bruce Dall , Jeff Pang , Michelle Callahan and Selda Eigler

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7 sustainable travel experiences to have this summer as an ecotourist

A gorgeous eco hotel to open in the Dolomites

May 30, 2019 by  
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In June, the Adler Hotel Group will debut ADLER Lodge Ritten, a new eco hotel in Italy’s Dolomites mountain range. Sited on the Ritten plateau, the new hotel features views of some of the world’s most beautiful mountains and forests. The hotel group expects the ADLER Lodge Ritten to attract city dwellers wishing to get away from it all. The retreat was designed to blend into the surrounding forest rather than stand out. It is built from local timber and resembles other rural alpine structures. Related: A series of geometric, sustainable treehouses is imagined for the Italian Dolomites The ADLER Lodge Ritten meets Klimahaus ( Climate House ) standards, which means it adheres to strict environmental protection and energy conservation measures. In addition to the main structure, which houses the lobby, bar, restaurant and spa, two additional buildings each contain 10 junior suites. Twenty private one- and two-story chalets are also scattered around the property, with some built around a small lake. Each room has its own bio sauna. Billed as a gentler alternative to a Finnish sauna , bio saunas warm the body without getting as hot as a regular sauna nor as humid as a steam room. Guests who yearn for hotter temperatures can use the classic steam sauna in the main building or venture into one of two saunas set in the forest. “Under treetops, you can experience the feeling of untouched nature even better,” said spa director Emily Brugnoli. The hotel will work on an inclusive arrangement, meaning meals and drinks are included in the room rate. Chef Hannes Pignater’s menus will focus on local and regional products, and he’ll use organic ingredients whenever possible. “My cuisine is creative and authentic at the same time, an interaction of two culinary traditions — quality products from our committed local farmers in South Tyrol, and delicious specialties from other parts of Italy,” he said. Guests who want the most relaxing getaway don’t even need to drive themselves around the area. The Rittnerbahn, a historic narrow-gauge railway , stops 200 meters from the hotel. While visiting, guests can get around on bikes, skis or snowshoes, depending on the season. + Adler Lodge Ritten Images via Adler Resorts

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A gorgeous eco hotel to open in the Dolomites

Kin Travel is offering unique vacation ideas that benefit destinations through conservation and sustainability

April 23, 2019 by  
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Traveling is becoming more and more convenient through the help of new technology, but sadly it doesn’t always bode well for places affected by over tourism and negative influences. Kin Travel began when founders Brian Jones and Mark Somen decided to give travelers a way to go on vacation while immersing themselves into the local culture and having a positive impact on their destinations. They strive to offer opportunities to rejuvenate communities and environments through travel , proving that visitors don’t have to disrupt their surroundings to enjoy themselves. One of the company’s most popular trips, located in Labadie, Haiti, includes volunteer work in reef restoration, hikes to UNESCO World Heritage sites, local school visits, bonfires with village elders and beach drum circles. The trip ranges from $2,400 to $4,000 for the six-day experience depending on accommodation type, but that rate includes everything but flights (that means transportation , experiences like yoga classes and photos, food, drinks and accommodation). The housing for the Haiti vacation is akin to glamping, equipped with a glamorous beach side yurt tent with memory foam mattress and furnishings made by local artists. Throughout the camp there are spots for dancing, yoga, fire pits and lounging, as well as a fully-equipped bathroom, bar and kitchen. Food is prepared by an accomplished chef who uses local ingredients for every meal. Kin partners with local companies in Haiti to help boost the economy and positively impact the community . Related: Fairmont canine ambassador program promotes human-animal connection Halfway across the globe in Kenya, Kin Travel leads safari trips in the Olderkesi Conservancy bordering the famous Maasai Mara National Reserve. Kin invests part of the profits into tree-planting, as well as the Cottars Wildlife Community Trust to support local entrepreneurial and educational opportunities for women. Accommodations for the Kenya trip include private bathrooms, a spa, pool and tented lounge area with a viewing deck. Apart from the typical safari activities like bush walks and Big Five game drives, participants also get to experience school visits, waterfall swims, massages, local markets, village visits and even an educational meeting with a reformed poacher. The camp is an accredited Global Ecosphere Retreat, chosen for its commitment to sustainability through conservation, community, culture and commerce. In Wyoming, Kin partnered with The Bentwood Inn, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World to create a winter wildlife safari on the corner of Grand Teton National Park and Elk Refuge. An uncommon spot for a typical American vacation, the town of Jackson Hole, where the trip takes place, represents one of the country’s largest income gaps. Kin focuses on serving underrepresented communities in the area while interacting with the people who best know how to serve the local environment . Along with a National Geographic photographer and local biologists, visitors will track animals such as wolves, bison, fox, bighorn sheep and elk through the unparalleled landscape . Travelers will also visit the Wildlife Art Museum, Vertical Harvest and Cultivate (a local organization that provides training and education to combat the local unemployment rate), while supplementing the trip with skiing adventures. In Wyoming, Kin Travel also works with One 22 providing language interpretation, emergency services and education to underrepresented communities and 1% for the Tetons, who contribute $1 million a year to local social and environmental projects. Beginning in August, the company is pairing up with non-profit IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) to curate a series of trips focusing on animal conservation in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Each weekend package for the Cape Cod trip will include immersive activities led by renowned scientists and explorers where travelers will dive into the non-profit’s work saving marine mammals (think tracking whales at sea and dolphin rescue training) and beach side experiences like bonfires, oyster shucking, bike riding and yoga. In addition to Provincetown, IFAW and Kin are planning future trip location opportunities as well. Prices range from $2,200 to $2,800 for the all-inclusive weekend. Accommodations will take place in The Salt House Inn, a restored 19th century cottage a few blocks from the beach , complete with an outdoor patio and dining room. The focus of the newly designed trip is to immerse participants into the IFAW Marine Mammal Rescue and Research work along the 700-mile southeastern Massachusetts coastline. Sadly, this area is known as having one of the highest rates of whale and dolphin strandings (beaching) on earth. IFAW is fighting back against strandings and sea life entanglement with the non-profit’s world-renowned rescue and prevention program made up of experts and highly-trained volunteers, all while conducting important research simultaneously. As a part of the Kin Travel group, attendees will participate in a marine conservation course led by these experts. With the growing popularity of mindful and sustainable travel increasing among jet-setters, the journeys offered by Kin Travel couldn’t have come at a better time. The company proves that travel organizations don’t have to sacrifice community and environmental awareness for life-changing experiences. + Kin Travel Images via IFAW, Kin Travel, Kimson doan, Montylov

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Kin Travel is offering unique vacation ideas that benefit destinations through conservation and sustainability

Natural Habitat Adventures launches world’s first zero-waste vacations

September 11, 2018 by  
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In a travel-industry first, Natural Habitat Adventures is spearheading a zero-waste vacation package. The groundbreaking trip will take place in summer 2019, when 14 travelers will visit Yellowstone National Park from July 6-12. The Safari America: Yellowstone Country adventurers will explore the sustainable travel industry as well as refusing, recycling, composting , upcycling and reusing at least 99 percent of all waste produced during the trip. Natural Habitat Adventures hopes to avoid landfill contributions or incineration, fitting all waste into a single small container by the trip’s end. Founder and president of Natural Habitat Adventures Ben Bressler said, “One way we’re dedicated to protecting the planet is to inspire the travel industry to become more sustainable,” of the initiative that is more about setting a new standard for travel than anything else. “Our goal is to continually raise the bar on conservation, and our first zero-waste adventure will show that it’s possible to reduce our environmental impact while providing an exceptional experience for our guests,” he continued. Related: 100% solar-powered Fiji resort combines 5-star luxury with sustainability Trip leaders have already devised plans to mitigate waste , including providing travelers with a zero-waste toolkit containing reusable items such as water bottles, mugs, cutlery and totes as well as digitizing all pre-trip forms and vacation itineraries. Travelers are encouraged to refuse potential waste items such as single-use straws or individually packaged condiments. The vehicles, lodges and camps throughout the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem will be stocked with bulk foods that will be transported as individual meals in reusable containers. Napkins and biodegradable foods will be composted by the team, while hard-to-recycle materials will be sent to TerraCycle , a world-leading company that specializes in recycling difficult outputs. There is no better company in achieving this mission than Natural Habitat Adventures, which just celebrated 10 years of being 100 percent carbon neutral — in 2007, the ecotourism pioneer became the world’s first carbon-neutral travel company. Its  carbon offset program has thwarted more than 34.5 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions generated through the company’s global nature adventures. The company hopes to inspire and educate its guests to make an impact beyond the trips. For Natural Habitat Adventures, showing people how to make conscious decisions about daily waste production at home and at the office is a cornerstone of the trips. + Natural Habitat Adventures Images via Collective Retreats & Natural Habitat Adventures

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Natural Habitat Adventures launches world’s first zero-waste vacations

Climate change is expected to bring more intense storms like Hurricane Florence

September 11, 2018 by  
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Hurricane Florence is on a collision course with the southeastern United States. The immense and powerful storm will create high winds and surges along coastal towns and cities, but scientists are more concerned about how much rain Florence might produce — and the increased frequency of similar storms as a result of climate change . James Kossin, a climate scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration , said flooding is the biggest risk with the incoming hurricane. Florence is moving so slow across the ocean that it might come to a near standstill once it hits land, moving somewhere around two to three miles per hour. If that happens, Florence could hit cities on the East Coast with record rainfall. Related: 2018 hurricane season may be worse than last year A similar situation occurred last year when Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas. The massive storm slowed almost to a halt in the Houston area, dumping more than 60 inches of rain in some locations. The excess rain led to 93 deaths and completely shut down certain areas. With Hurricane Florence set to repeat history, scientists believe slow moving storms may become the new norm — and it is all thanks to climate change. Kossin and his team published a study this year that showed cyclones are moving slower on average. In fact, hurricanes have undergone a decrease in speed by about 10 percent over the past 70 years. Kossin believes climate change is slowing down wind currents, which hurricanes use to travel across the ocean. Once the storms stall over land, they continuously dump rain and produce record flooding. The only exception to this trend is in the Indian Ocean, where wind currents have remained strong. Along with slowing down hurricanes, climate change is creating larger and more intense storms as ocean waters warm. The added warmth creates more fuel for the storms as the water evaporates. Harvey and Florence are two examples of this, and scientists believe that trend will continue until we begin to cut down greenhouse gases. + NOAA Via NPR Image via NOAA

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Climate change is expected to bring more intense storms like Hurricane Florence

Embrace sustainable travel in this solar-powered A-frame cabin

August 6, 2018 by  
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A beautiful A-frame cabin has popped up on the remote Finnish island of Vallisaari to serve as an “ecological alternative to cabin life.” Imagined by Finland-based designer Robin Falck , Nolla is a beautiful cabin retreat that was built using sustainable materials and designed to leave minimal impact on the environment. Nolla (which means “zero” in Finnish) is located on the island of Vallisaari, just a 20-minute ferry ride from Helsinki. Carefully constructed for zero emissions, this  A-frame cabin stands just 13 feet tall, lifted off the landscape by multiple supports so that it leaves little-to-no impact on the pristine landscape. The minimalist design was inspired by the need to provide an off-grid retreat that lets guests truly connect with nature. An all-glass wall floods the interior with natural light and provides stunning views of the surrounding landscape. The interior of the cabin is modern with furnishings from the Stockmann Sustainable Collection, which specializes in eco-friendly products. Related: These tiny steel cabins in Joshua Tree epitomize off-grid design The cabin’s energy needs are met by solar power. Guests can cook on a Wallas stove, which runs entirely on Neste MY Renewable Diesel that is made entirely from waste and residue. Guests can rest assured that their voyage to the cabin is also sustainable, because the ferry that travels to the island runs on the same eco-friendly diesel, which reportedly reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90 percent. “With the Nolla cabin, we want to offer visitors the possibility to experience modern cabin life in the realm of nature, with minimal emissions, Falck explained. “An ecological lifestyle does not only require giving up unsustainable commodities, but also discovering modern, sustainable solutions that can be used instead. This has been an essential part of the design process.” Nolla, which will be on the island until the end of September, is part of Neste’s Journey to Zero project. Neste has collaborated with notable eco-concious companies to design and promote the cabin’s eco-message. The first guests to visit the eco-retreat will be hosted by Finnish zero waste influencer Otso Sillanaukee, a specialist on sustainable everyday living . “Finns are known for spending time at their beloved summer houses. We wanted to explore sustainable solutions that could enable cabin life with minimal emissions,” said Sirpa Tuomi, marketing director at Neste. “Shared and circular economy, as well as new technologies and innovations, have made it possible to enjoy our cabins without harming or burdening the environment . Some of the solutions that have been used at the Nolla cabin are perfectly adaptable at any cabin.” + Robin Falck + Neste Images via Neste

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Embrace sustainable travel in this solar-powered A-frame cabin

Prefab open-air theater pops up with speed in a London park

August 6, 2018 by  
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Completed in just seven months, the Regent’s Park Open Air Theater in central London is yet another example of how prefabrication can be a fantastic solution for site-sensitive projects strapped for time. Local architecture firm Reed Watts Architects designed the theater using a lightweight cross-laminated timber (CLT) panel system. Set amidst protected Royal Parks trees, the cultural institution houses new rehearsal studios and a catering kitchen, marking the first time in the theater’s 86-year history that its operations have been brought together onto one site. Spanning an area of over 5,000 square feet on the far corner of the site, the Regent’s Park Open Air Theater is designed to host over 1,200 people every night during the summer season. The architects installed the building during the winter season, when the Theater was closed, atop relatively small foundations to minimize site impact. The building exterior is clad in dark-stained larch at its base with more textured cladding higher up; the overall effect helps the structure recede into the landscape and makes it look like a natural extension of the existing Theater buildings. “Reed Watts have succeeded in delivering a significant new rehearsal facility for the theatre, as well as a state of the art kitchen to support the commercial catering arm of our business,” said William Village, Executive Director of Regent’s Park Open Air Theater. “Efficiently utilising every inch of the available footprint, the sense of scale when entering the building is impressive, and yet the design is sympathetic to the magical ambience of the Open Air Theatre. Realised with an acute understanding of the natural environment and the importance of our location in the heart of Regent’s Park, one might be forgiven for assuming that these new buildings have always been a feature of the theatre’s infrastructure.” Related: A prefab chapel’s sculptural form amplifies the landscape in Uruguay Most of the programs are located on the first floor; however, a floor above provides extra room for rehearsal spaces and a green room. The new studio is double-height to provide added flexibility for dancers, actors and acrobats. The space is illuminated by roof lights and tall windows, heated with underfloor heating and mechanically ventilated (and cooled) from upper-level ductwork. + Reed Watts Architects Via ArchDaily Images by Simone Kennedy and David Jensen

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Prefab open-air theater pops up with speed in a London park

100% solar-powered Fiji resort combines 5-star luxury with sustainability

June 18, 2018 by  
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Luxury travel doesn’t have to come at the expense of the environment. At Six Senses’ new Fiji Resort , visitors can indulge in five-star comforts and minimize their stay’s carbon footprint. Crafted by Auckland design firm Space Studio , this 24-villa resort on Malolo Island is powered entirely with solar energy and promotes environmental awareness throughout. Opened last month, the Six Senses Fiji comprises 24 villas, two restaurants, a lounge, a library, welcome and guest service areas and a spa. The development will soon include a total of 60 privately owned residences — 11 of which have already been completed. The five-star resort blends contemporary design with elements of traditional Fijian culture, which is celebrated in the handiwork and artwork produced by local villagers, the Rise Beyond the Reef charity and the local material palette of grass cloth wallpaper and timber. In addition to cultural awareness, Six Senses Fiji also turns its spotlight on sustainability. The 100 percent solar -powered resort is equipped with its own water filtration plant on site so that staff can bottle water in glass and eliminate single-use plastic bottles. Reusable containers can be found in places like the on-site gourmet deli, and guests are encouraged to return those containers for reuse. Food waste is turned into compost for the resort’s farm and garden with a worm-based septic system. Recyclable waste is sorted in the resort’s “recycling corner,” after which the items are shipped to Denarau Island on the return barges that bring food supplies twice a week. Related: Experience bliss at a luxury Indian spa nestled in a former coffee estate “We also try to have as little waste as possible by creating a lot of our own homemade tonics and bitters using local produce and shrubs, so there’s no waste to begin with,” said Karen Morris, Six Senses Fiji director of sales and marketing. “We’re growing our own kombucha, so we don’t need to ship it in, and we’re creating our own tepache, a fermented pineapple drink.” A luxurious night at Six Senses Fiji starts at $870. + Space Studio + Six Senses Fiji Images via Six Senses Fiji

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100% solar-powered Fiji resort combines 5-star luxury with sustainability

Soak Up the Sun at Casa de las Olas’ Solar Powered Eco-Escape in Tulum

January 30, 2013 by  
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Read the rest of Soak Up the Sun at Casa de las Olas’ Solar Powered Eco-Escape in Tulum Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: cancun , Casa de las Olas , eco design , eco escape , eco luxury , eco-tourism , Geothermal power , green design , solar powered resort , sustainable design , sustainable travel , Tulum

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Soak Up the Sun at Casa de las Olas’ Solar Powered Eco-Escape in Tulum

The Midget Bushtrekka Is a Cool Pull-Along Mini-Camper Designed for Bikers

April 13, 2012 by  
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The summer months are just ahead, and for many of us this means days full of cycling and plenty of camping excursions. But for you outdoor adventurers who don’t want to trade in your two-wheelers for four, now you can combine the two activities with your very own bike-trailer! Dubbed the  Midget Bushtrekka , and made by Kamp-Rite , this cool design goes from an ultra-compact carrier to a cool tent complete with cot-bed and some cozy amenities. Read the rest of The Midget Bushtrekka Is a Cool Pull-Along Mini-Camper Designed for Bikers Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: bike trailer camping , cycling , kamp rite , midget bushtrekka , mini camper bicycle , pop-up camper , sustainable travel

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The Midget Bushtrekka Is a Cool Pull-Along Mini-Camper Designed for Bikers

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