Just the thought of going on a road trip can stir up excitement and anticipation in anyone. Being out on the open road and driving to a destination where you can unwind is an experience like no other. While taking a road trip can relieve some tension and worry, it has a less favorable impact on the environment.
About 404 grams of carbon dioxide are released per mile by the typical passenger car, and this emission adds up as more people go on trips. What’s more, this activity also contributes to waste pollution since travelers are likely to use single-use items while on the road.
Given these problems, it’s imperative to take steps into making road trips more sustainable — and this guide is here to help you get started.
Opt for an Energy-efficient Vehicle
Choosing the right vehicle is a must when going on road trips since it has the biggest impact on the environment. You’ll be consuming large amounts of fuel when you drive long destinations, which then leads to high carbon emissions.
You don’t have to buy a new car to achieve sustainability on your road trips. Instead, you can opt to rent energy-efficient ones like a hybrid or electric vehicle. Cars that have an automated driving feature are also a viable option since automation optimizes the drive cycle, which improves the fuel consumption of the vehicles.
Also, you can consider a different mode of transportation, such as e-bikes, that have lower carbon emissions. Opting for energy-efficient vehicles will not only help you minimize your carbon footprint but also save you on the cost of fuel.
Plan Your Route
Planning your trip ahead of time enables you to avoid going long routes and wasting fuel. Consider taking the shortest routes possible, but that doesn’t mean you need to ignore the scenic ones. Just be mindful of the additional miles you’ll need to drive.
Moreover, planning ensures that your travels are stress-free and that you can make the most out of this activity. It also helps you in creating and sticking to a budget for your trip, thereby avoiding unnecessary spending.
If you’re just planning for a quick weekend getaway, it’s best not to crowd your vehicle with big luggage. That’s because you’ll likely consume more fuel when you have a heavy load in your vehicle. Packing efficiently will not only give you more room in your car, but it will also lower your environmental impact.
You can also pack light even if you’re traveling for days. For instance, your clothes won’t get that dirty if most of your traveling time is spent inside your car. If they do, you can opt to wash them when you stop at towns or cities where there are laundromats you can use.
Additionally, traveling light allows you to access your essentials quickly since you won’t have to rummage through different bags just to find the things you need. Just make sure that everything is organized, especially your cables, cords, and wires.
Bring Reusable and Eco-friendly Materials
As mentioned, going on road trips can cause higher waste production due to the usage of single-use and non-recyclable items. The most effective way to minimize it is by opting for reusable products.
Instead of buying plastic spoons and forks, consider bringing metal ones instead and wash them after every use. Bringing reusable tumblers, plates, straws, and bags also lessen the need for disposable items.
Consider using eco-friendly toiletries as well. Switch to bamboo toothbrushes and dental tabs instead of plastic brushes and tubes of toothpaste. Using shampoo and soap bars is also more sustainable since you can store them in recyclable or reusable containers. They are also likely to last longer than the liquid variants.
Mind Your Meals
What you eat and how you prepare them can also impact the environment. So for snacks, consider buying in bulk and repacking them in reusable containers. Doing so allows you to minimize waste from single-used packaging and ensures that you always have food on board.
You can also opt to cook meals instead of ordering takeouts. This strategy can help you save money and avoid using disposable containers that end up in landfills. If your itinerary includes passing by a town or city, consider eating at local restaurants instead.
Offset Your Carbon Emissions
Even when you drive an energy-efficient vehicle and reduce your waste production, other factors related to road trips will still contribute to carbon emissions. Fortunately, there is a way for you to counterbalance this: offsetting your emissions.
You can do so by donating to environmental organizations that implement carbon reduction activities like fighting deforestation, carbon capturing, and lobbying for the widespread use of alternative energy.
The first thing you’ll need to do for this initiative is to calculate your carbon footprint and then choose the carbon offsetting project you want to support.
Becoming a Sustainable Traveler
Climate change is among the greatest economic risks to society, and traveling can contribute to this threat. Still, it’s unlikely that road trips will become obsolete even with this risk. That’s why it’s important to adopt a more eco-friendly way to travel. With the tips written above, you can continue enjoying road trips while being a more responsible and sustainable traveler.