How to Be Green on a Road Trip

Trying to save money while traveling can be daunting enough, but striving to be “green” while on a road trip can be even more challenging. However, an increasing number of people are realizing that changes must be made so that our natural resources on Mother Earth will last beyond just the next few generations. We all have a duty to be more responsible in our activities, and this includes living green while traveling. Creating a green road trip might seem like a difficult prospect, but these six tips, gathered by, can help to get you “on the road” to greener travels:

Green Hotels: Green hotels are now a viable option in many areas. If you do your homework, you should be able to find them on or close to the road you’ll be traversing. If you’re looking to see specific attractions while on your road trip, strive to find a green hotel that is close enough to enable you to walk or bike to them. This will eliminate the need to drive your car there and burn more fossil fuels than you are already. Another great feature of green hotels is that they tend to promote other green living practices and other ideas for healthy living. While you’re there, you’ll likely learn about lots of ways to change the way you’re living at home to be even friendlier to the planet.

Plan your route: The more efficiently you can make your trip, the less of a carbon footprint your trip will leave. Take advantage online map sites to be able to pre-plan your driving route of every phase your trip. Look for shortcuts that will save fossil fuels and also enhance your trip by routing you to tourist attractions you might not otherwise see. Find access to public transportation if you will be staying in a city for a day or two and plan to do some sightseeing. Better yet — walk! Walking is healthy for both the environment and your body.

Eco-Friendly Packing: When it’s time to pack, you can do so in an eco-friendly way. Pack a reusable water bottle with a filtering feature; this will allow you to refill it at any water fountain you’re able to find along the way, and doing so will help to prevent more disposable plastic water bottles from filling up landfills. Bring your own snacks and drinks, and pack them in reusable, washable packages. The benefits of this include saving money by not having to buy snacks on the road, and also avoiding excess wrappers and other refuse to have to throw away. Eating healthy is easier when you bring your own, too, since it’s often difficult to find healthy snack options at convenience stores and gas stations.

Recycle on the Road: Just because you’re on a road trip doesn’t mean you must stop recycling! Bring some reusable bags such as washable tote bags to use to put recyclable items into while you’re driving in the car. Designate one bag for plastics, one for paper, and so on. Then when you see recycling bins while at gas stations or rest stops, you can just toss the contents of the bags into the appropriate container and start the process all over again.

Green Your Wheels: Making sure your car is properly maintained can also help with green travel. Use a hybrid electric vehicle for your trip if you can, or at least one with excellent gas efficiency. Before you embark on your trip, check the air pressure of each tire to ensure that it is not too low; low tire pressure is one of the leading causes of wasted gas. It causes the burning of more fossil fuel than is really needed for the mileage. Another tip to remember is to drive safely, carefully and intelligently. Follow the speed limit; don’t “gun” it at green lights, and don’t accelerate or decelerate too quickly. All of these simple steps will increase your gas mileage and optimize your car’s performance during the trip. Your car, your passengers and other drivers on the road will be safer, too.

After the Trip: When the trip is finished, keep your green habits going. You’ll probably want to give the car a good wash — get rid of the bugs from the windshield, the dirt from the car and wheels, and also any food or drink stains from spills that might have occurred in the interior. When you do your car cleanup, make sure to use naturally derived cleaning products whenever possible. Dispose of any remaining recyclable materials in the car into the proper bins and receptacles. Re-check the tire pressure to make sure they are still at optimal levels after all that driving.

Saving money and going “green” while traveling may seem daunting at first, but as these six tips have shown, there are a number of easy steps that any one of us can take. More and more people are catching on to the need for changes in the way we do things in order to make our natural resources last. This is as true of taking a road trip as it is for any area of life. Taking a green road trip need not be daunting or baffling. All it takes is a few simple steps and preparations before, during and after the trip.

Ultimately, going on a green road trip just takes a few more steps and a little more planning, research and dedication. Green living on the road need not be a big challenge; as you can see from these tips, it’s very possible. With so many hotels “going green” and with cities and towns offering public transportation options, there are lots of ways to burn less fuel and save money in the process. Packing in an eco-friendly way and recycling while on the road helps to reduce your carbon footprint as well. Follow these six tips, stay conscious, and you’ll have no trouble making your living green road trip a reality!

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