Do you love taking off on the open road, but hate the damage those trips wreak on the environment? You don’t have to give up road trips to cut your carbon footprint. There are ways to lessen the impact of your highway adventures without giving up any of the fun. Here are several green ideas to consider next time you feel the open road calling to you.
Rent an Eco-Friendly Vehicle
Renting an electric or hybrid car for a road trip is a great way to see how compatible they are with your lifestyle. You’ll find eco-friendly options at companies like Budget Rent A Car and Enterprise. A fully electric car is a good fit for long trips outside the city where you might not find opportunities to charge. But a hybrid car, which is powered by both electricity and fuel, will significantly reduce your emissions and improve your mileage. Pro tip: Watch Facebook for coupons from both Budget Rent A Car and Enterprise that you can use toward renting a hybrid.
Make Small Adjustments
You can make a number of changes that will improve your fuel consumption and emissions. Keeping your tires inflated and your engine well-maintained goes a long way toward making your car more fuel-efficient. You could also reduce your carbon footprint by slowing down a bit, cutting the engine instead of idling, turning off the air conditioner and other accessories, and using cruise control.
It’s not hard to reduce the trash your trip will create if you plan ahead. Plastic water bottles, trash bags, tissues, and wet wipes are an environmental disaster. Outfit each member of the family with a refillable water bottle and equip your car with a small trash container, several inexpensive dish towels, and a spray bottle of water for easy cleanup. Pack snacks from home and bring your own to-go containers for leftovers.
Use Greener Lodging
Camping can be a low-impact activity if you’re not constantly shopping for new equipment and supplies, and if you are careful to leave only footprints and take only memories. When camping isn’t practical, look for green hotels or seek eco-friendly lodging through sites like Airbnb, which often lets you rent unusual options like yurts, underground homes, and cave houses. If you must stay in a traditional hotel, opt out of daily housecleaning and hang your towels to use them again.
Use Teachable Moments
If you’re traveling with kids, talk to them about the choices you’re making. Point out wildlife and green spaces along the way and talk about the impact our insatiable consumption is having on the world around us. Ask them for their ideas on other ways to reduce your impact as you travel, and listen to what they have to say.
A road trip is an eco-friendly alternative to a vacation involving flights and resort stays, but highway travel still has a huge environmental impact. A few simple changes can make a world of difference when you’re planning your travel, and leave you feeling much happier about your trip.
Photo by: Christina T