How to Take a Greener Road Trip

Road-tripping may not seem like the most eco-friendly mode of travel out there. Taking a road trip requires the use of a vehicle, which increases your carbon footprint. However, you can take steps along the way to offset that increase and lighten your environmental impact. Here are some tips:

road trip in the desert
When you hit the road, keep the environment in mind. Photo © Welcomia |

Getting Around

• Pack your vehicle as light as possible so as not to weight down the car, which decreases fuel efficiency.

• Plan your driving route thoroughly to avoid wasting gas by backtracking.

• Get a vehicle tune-up before you launch. It helps increase fuel efficiency when your car operates at peak performance.

• Rent a hybrid or electric car. If you opt for an electric car, you’ll be pleased to know there are more than 20,000 charging

stations throughout the United States. Find specific locations at the U.S. Department of Energy’s website.

• Keep your vehicle’s tire pressure at its optimum level to aid with fuel efficiency.

• Use public transportation in cities.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

family on a road trip
Packing reusable items, rather than using disposables, can help you limit your family’s carbon footprint. Photo ©

Save your recyclables until you get to a recycling center in a town or city, or at a rest stop. Google Maps can help locate recycling centers near you.

• Pack reusable grocery sacks and utilize them when making purchases on the road, even at gas stations or mini-marts.

• Conserve water by re-wearing clothing when possible, using dry shampoo, and doing a full load of laundry instead of several smaller loads.

Bring your own toiletries rather than using those provided in individual bottles at hotels and motels.

Food and Drinks

• Bring a reusable water bottle instead of buying individual plastic bottles.

• Save food by planning meals ahead of time and buy in bulk when possible.

• Pack snacks and meals for the road and keep them in a small cooler in the vehicle.

• Bring reusable food containers, so you can store restaurant leftovers in a sustainable manner that doesn’t involve Styrofoam or throwaway plastic.

Start planning your road trip today: