“On the road again, I just can’t wait to get on the road again.” Mr. Willie Nelson’s song is famous for a reason. There is something so alluring, soothing, and exciting about road travel. The thrill of seeing and experiencing many new things again and again as you traverse miles of open road to your destination (or no destination at all!). It’s about enjoying the close time spent with your fellow travelers. It’s about spontaneity, and about creating memories that color your life’s journal. And if you are also passionate about protecting mother earth, then you’ll want to do some conscious planning for an eco-friendly road adventure.
Way Take An Eco-Friendly Road Trip: Environmental Travel Facts
- The Environmental Protection Agency reports transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions.
When these emissions get trapped in our atmosphere they cause the average global temperature to rise.
- This exacerbates the global warming effect.
- Transportation (cars, ships, trains, airplanes) emissions accounted for 28.9 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in 2017!
- Needless to say, this is alarming and we can definitely make changes in our transportation habits to reduce emissions.
ECO-FRIENDLY ROAD TRIP IDEAS & PRACTICES
#1 Rent An Electric or Hybrid Car
Not only will you save on these historically high gas prices, but you will also be able to greatly reduce your carbon footprint (ie greenhouse gas emissions). Electric vehicles do not emit greenhouse gases, thus looking into the future, they are going to be a large part of the global warming and climate change solution.
- They are the best eco-friendly way of traveling.
- They use almost no fuel.
- The availability at rental agencies is much wider now (at Enterprise and Hertz’s ‘Green Fleet’ for example).
- Another example, the Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle has an estimated 259-mile range when fully charged.
- The rental price is higher at the onset, but if you do the simple calculations, you will see that you SAVE money overall because of the gas conservations.
Easy To Find Charging Stations
The GPS systems in these EV cars can easily locate electric charging stations along the trip. Or use apps to search for “nearby charging stations” for listings. These sites and apps prove to be excellent resources:
Being an eco-tourist and embarking on eco-travel journeys basically means you are looking to practice environmental-friendly procedures all throughout your trip. This article goes into many practical details about what it is, resources to find sustainable adventures, and all the ways you can improve and preserve the environment during your vacations.
Eco-Friendly Destinations & Accommodations
Unless you already have a specific destination in mind, doing a search for eco-friendly vacations and eco-cabin rentals can give you a destination point for your journey.
- The site GlampingHub offers a search to find eco-friendly vacation rentals across the U.S. (many pet-friendly too). Right now there are sites in Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, North Carolina, Salt Lake City, California, Hawaii, and many more.
- These eco-friendly vacation rentals mean they most likely have accommodations in nature (adult treehouses, cabins, etc) or that they are close to hiking trails, state parks, swimming holes, waterfalls, and basically all of glorious nature!
Hotels calling themselves eco-freindly make an effort to be environmentally sustainable through waste reduction, recycling practies, and water and energy conservation.
- To start off, this guide gives you all the tips and hacks you need to be an eco-friendly hotel guest.
- Thankfully eco-friendly tourism and “green” hotels are on the rise so finding one should not be a challenge. Find an eco-friendly hotel with an internet search for “eco-hotel” or “green hotel” for your road trip’s stopping points.
- Choose hotels that are certified as eco-friendly by reputed organizations such as Green Globe, Rainforest Alliance, or Green Tourism.
- A better option might be a home or apartment rental through such sites as Airbnb. This allows you to practice the same eco-friendly habits you do at home (water, laundry, electricity conservation).
Eco-Friendly Tours & Travel Activities
To incorporate sustainable and environmentally friendly activities into your road trip think ‘minimal impact’. The goal might also be to leave the experience with a deeper understanding of the planet and how you can make a difference, for example, visiting and learning about sustainability at a local city’s science center or nature center. Theme museums are also interesting and educational. Other ideas include:
- Check out a local attraction.
- Eat a farm-to-table meal.
- Rent bikes for a tour around your current town.
- Take a self-guided walking tour.
- Visit a farmer’s market.
- Visit a farm or ranch.
One of the most sustainable ways to partake in overnight shelter during your eco-friendly traveling is to pitch a tent for the night.
- This guide offers all the details on how to have an eco-friendly camping trip, from the benefits to packing to campsite tips.
- Use this link on how to find campsites in your area: Ioverlander. It will tell you how much a site costs or if it is free, as well as what amenities are available.
Sustainable Packing For Your Road Trip
- Avoid plastic toiletries.
- Bring reusable tote bags.
- Reusable cutlery sets.
- Food containers (to take leftovers on the go).
- Reusable straws.
- Reusable water bottles.
Sustainable Meals On The Road
- Search for farm-to-table restaurants (Yelp a good source).
- Local food trucks are usually the best meals around at great prices; use your own dinnerware.
- Buy healthy snacks in bulk before heading out. This means no plastic packaging!
- Ideas include nuts, dried fruit (banana chips, raisins, apples, coconut), fresh fruit (bananas, tangerines, apples, strawberries, cherries, grapes), seeds (sunflower, pumpkin) crackers, trail mix, and granola.
- Make sandwiches on the road; but bread from a store bakery (no plastic bag needed), and proteins and cheeses from that deli; ask for paper wrap instead of plastic.
Offset Your Road Trip Carbon Footprint
Offsetting your carbon footprint means counterbalancing your emissions by giving to a carbon dioxide saving project for example.
- Carbon offsetting means giving back to the environment; giving as much as you take.
- This article clearly explains how carbon crediting works.
- If you’d like to take carbon neutral steps in your everyday life, this article outlines many easy and practical ideas and tips.
- Carbonfootprint.com has numerous projects you can donate to as part of eco-friendly travel and your eco-conscious road tripping adventures.
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