Getting ready for the summer travel season (or maybe the travel bug just bit you)? If you’re pulling out the suitcases and making an itinerary, we suggest you consider packing up family and friends for an eco-friendly road trip. Take our green tips into consideration and your vacation will not only provide great memories, but it will also have a smaller environmental impact and keep your carbon footprint on the skinny side (and we all love skinny!).
Plan: Before you put the key into the ignition, plan your journey from start to finish. By mapping things out ahead of time, you can make sure to take the shortest route, using less gas and expelling the fewest pollutants into the environment. Next, determine if your road trip will require overnight stays and select green hotels or campsites. Making a shorter trip? Utilize the services of a location where you can fuel up on gas and snacks and also take a bathroom break. When you can take care of everyone’s needs in the same rest area or convenience store, you won’t have to travel from place to place, starting your car over and over again, which consumes even more fuel.
Pack: Pack fewer things and try to keep your travel gear to a minimum. When you travel lighter, your car weighs less and your gas mileage improves. Only take what you need and rid the car of anything heavy and bulky, such as an unused bike or ski rack and items you might be storing in the trunk.
Drive: Buckle up in an electric or hybrid car for your trek and you’ll save big-time on gas and subsequent pollution production. Nearly all of the big rental car companies offer hybrid models, which will significantly reduce fuel emissions and won’t require constant charging along your route. You can keep your road trip’s carbon footprint (or track prints?) small while driving by changing gears sooner, breaking slower and accelerating at a slower place. And whenever possible, put your car into cruise control.
Eat: No road trip is complete without some snacking along the way. Pack reusable containers with eats such as homemade trail mix or fruit crisps – anything that doesn’t need refrigeration. As you make stops along your route, hit up the local farmer’s markets – they’ll have the freshest, healthiest and most locally available items.