Planning a Green Road Trip: Tips for Energy-Efficient and Safe Earth-Friendly Traveling
It’s time to organize another trip into the unknown, and you want to make sure that your journey has all the necessary elements for a memorable, yet eco-friendly adventure. Taking a road trip instead of flying directly to a destination is definitely a more satisfying and immersive way to explore, but also gives you more freedom to tweak your behavior and habits on the road. That way you’ll make your trip more sustainable and mindful of the nature you’re about to visit and appreciate. In fact, with the right Earth-friendly vehicle, a solid road trip plan with pit stops, and safety precautions, your adventure can be transformed into an incredibly sustainable way to travel.
Still, for those who are new to the idea of road tripping with a green twist, it takes time to evolve your habits to meet all the green criteria. Let’s delve deeper into the subject so that you can prepare yourself for that long-awaited adventure in a way that will reduce your carbon footprint, help you cause little to no waste, and do some good along the way!
Meal-planning for the road
Your mom might tell you that it doesn’t hurt to bring a little extra food, but the added load actually puts more pressure on your engine and forces your car to spend more fuel, or more energy. Instead of being wasteful in any sense, food included, you should plan every meal and your caloric needs for the entire road trip. Plus, you can avoid bringing foods that get easily spoiled due to temperature changes if you don’t have proper storage containers available.
First, consider your activities and calculate your caloric needs for the trip. Then, divide those into your meals and snacks, and then look into the best local, seasonal foods you can buy to make your meals last long and be as nutritious as possible. You’ll prevent throwing out food and you’ll stay full for your entire trip!
Focus on reusable containers
Embarking on a green road trip also means you should aim to make your road trip adventures plastic-free as much as possible. Single-use plastic cups and bottles is bad news for the environment and it only exacerbates the problem of plastic pollution. Furthermore, the plastic bottles leak dangerous chemicals into our environment as they decompose, and the process could last for up to 450 years, sometimes even longer.
Switching to reusable water bottles is a sustainable alternative to staying nourished and hydrated while on the go. Nowadays, you can easily find reusable water bottles that are foldable and lightweight so you can bring them everywhere with you, whether you’re backpacking, vacationing, or heading for a concert or festival. Not only will you have your drinks on hand but you’ll also be saving all that plastic from going to the landfill.
Check your car for issues
Another “before you leave” chore on your checklist should be your car itself. While you should always go for a car that is as sustainable and fuel-efficient as possible, and there are many affordable options available today, you also need to make sure that your car is ready for a road trip. Head over to your trusted mechanic to conduct a thorough check-up. That way, your ride will be both safe and Earth-friendly in terms of fuel or energy consumption.
By spotting leaks or subpar performance beforehand, you will prevent any emergencies on the road, cutting your trip short, and of course, causing more damage to the environment with a vehicle that’s not working properly.
Health and car insurance are a must
On that note, even though your car is road-ready and your mechanic has given you the all-clear, and you’re a mindful driver that follows the rules, you still need to obtain proper insurance policies for you and your vehicle. For starters, get the necessary health insurance for your road trip, especially if you’re planning to cross the border and visit different states.
Add to that, your driving behavior will also help you save on car insurance when you’re getting ready for the road. Mindful companies nowadays offer lower fees for those who use their vehicles less frequently, thus supporting a more sustainable lifestyle. Generally speaking, opting for comprehensive insurance is your safest bet because of its tailored approach and flexible options it offers. If you only intend to use your car for special occasions such as holiday visits and road trips, chances are that you can find a policy that will both support your eco efforts and save you some cash in the process.
Map out your trip and stops
Although it’s exciting to just sit behind the wheel and choose your destination spontaneously, and surprise yourself with all the unexpected natural beauty vistas along the way, there are eco-friendlier ways to drive. By selecting a detailed road map for your trip, you will prevent yourself from back-tracking too often (if at all), and you can choose the safest, most efficient routes that will take you less time and fuel alike.
You can also locate sustainable accommodation along the way where you can add another green dimension to your road trip when you need to make an overnight stop.
Explore on foot or use your bike
Although the road trip itself is an adventure, most people want to have a place to stay for a day or two, such as a camping site, a nature reserve, or even a new city. In that case, consider parking your car for the duration of your stay and opting for a more sustainable way to explore this destination: on foot or by cycling. Hiking trails are often divided according to difficulty and length, so you can do your research beforehand and choose something that will fit your needs to avoid using the car.
Alternatively, you can always bring your bicycle with you or rent one when you reach your destination and use it to get to know both the smooth streets and the rugged outdoor terrain.
Clean up after yourself (and others)!
This is one aspect of your road trip where you’ll be able to go that extra mile whenever the opportunity arises. Make sure that you leave all spots that you visit in the exact condition in which you have found them unless they’ve greeted you filled with litter! In that case, you can actually bring compostable garbage bags and carefully collect and separate the litter you come across. This is also good to factor into your planning: check for recycling facilities along your route to make a stop in case you should drop off any garbage or litter you find.
As for your food and organic waste, still, don’t leave it on site. It might be harmful for the local animals as well as the soil, and you should always focus on the environment and not your own convenience first.
Although there are so many habits and choices you can make before you go and during your trip that will ultimately determine the carbon footprint of your travels, these are some of the simplest, yet most effective ones to keep in mind. Do your best to stick to these road trip principles, and you’ll not only make a difference for the planet, but you’ll also serve as a role model for all those around you who can follow your lead and find smarter, more sustainable ways to explore our beautiful world.