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Jul 2, 2014

Tips for a Green-Friendly Road Trip

Road tripping is an excellent way to get off the beaten path, see the sights, and bond with your travel companions. Compared to flying, it can also potentially have a lower carbon footprint. There are a number of ways that you can enjoy all the roadside attractions and spontaneous adventures of a cross-country road trip while minimizing your impact on the environment at the same time. 
Hoover Dam Bypass bridge near
Las Vegas, Nevada

Plan your route in advance.
One way to maximize efficiency on the road is to spend some time mapping out your route beforehand. This will allow you to drive your vehicle at its most efficient speed, with fewer stops and congestion. You can work out a route that avoids passing through a lot of town and city centres, because these involve frequent stopping and starting points as well as traffic congestion. You'll also minimize your chances of getting lost and burning extra fuel trying to get back on track.

Drive an efficient car.
Another way to automatically make your trip more efficient is to drive an eco-friendly car. The selection of hybrids available has really exploded in the past few years, and you'll find a number of options available from car rental agencies and used car lots alike. The best type of car will depend on your itinerary. For example, if you'll be passing mainly through big cities you could even drive a fully electric option, because there will be plenty of stopping points. On the other hand, if you'll be venturing into rugged terrain you'll need a suitable car with 4WD. In this case, consider a SUV or pickup truck with a hybrid or diesel engine for a more favourable mile to gallon ratio. 

Adjust your driving style.
No matter what type of car you're driving, you can greatly reduce the amount of fuel you burn by adjusting your driving style. Click here for more details about green driving, which can halve your fuel use. This includes driving your car at a steady, reasonable speed on motorways and turning the engine off if your car is stuck in a traffic jam. It's tempting to weigh the car down with all of the gear you own, but if you're able to pack lightly you'll boost efficiency. Look at alternative forms of transportation if you're staying in one location for a few days. Exploring the area by bicycle or public transport can be a refreshing change of pace from the car.

Choose eco-friendly accommodation.
Even major hotel chains are quickly becoming more mindful of their impact on the environment, and you can also seek out eco-lodges and sustainable campsites. When possible, try to patronize locally owned businesses. Does the hotel hire a local staff, and does the restaurant use locally sourced ingredients? Most hotels allow you to reuse your towels and linens rather than changing them every day. You can also look for accommodation that uses energy efficient technology, including solar power and low-flow toilets. 

Minimize rest stop waste.
In remote areas, it may seem like your only options for food consist of convenience stores and fast food restaurants off the motorway. These often use disposable packaging. Be sure to recycle whenever possible, or ask to use your own reusable storage containers. Stock up on healthy snacks at grocery stores and you'll feel better for it as well.


These are a few ways to make sure that your road trip not only runs smoothly, but with less pressure on the environment around you!

Guest Blogger: Rachel MacDonald is a Glasgow-based freelance writer with a background in sustainable travel and design. She has worked as a copywriter for businesses spanning the globe, and has contributed guest posts to a multitude of travel and lifestyle blogs. 

2 comments :

  1. Road trip can be ruined if not planned well. Proper planning is very important to make a successful and enjoyable trip. The tips you have shred sound amazing. I have learnt some things that would help me in my next trip.

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