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How To Plan A Green Road Trip

Summer is officially upon us, and in the spirit of the season, we will be devoting several posts to the traveler in all of us. The green traveler, that is! In this our second post, we will be giving you tips on how to have a green road trip. Thought that was an oxymoron? Think again. In these difficult economic times and with the advent of the “staycation,” remember these green points when planning your summer jaunts.

  • Find a destination that is not a long distance away from your starting point. It will save you gas, mileage on your (hopefully hybrid) vehicle, and, lets be honest, the fun in a tiny car starts to decrease after the first four hours.

  • Buy local goods on your pit stops. Instead of hitting up the 7-11 for chips and a soda, find a local farm stand (they are EVERYWHERE) and try some fresh- pressed cider and homemade muffins, fruit, popcorn, or candy. Your body, your wallet, and your planet will thank you.

  • Turn off your AC when you leave your house. Why keep it cool if you aren’t there?

  • Bring a few re-usable water bottles that you can keep with you throughout the trip. Whenever you stop, wash and refill with fountain soda, or, even better, free water. This will save you from buying and wasting plastic bottles that will likely never decompose completely.

  • CARPOOL. A road trip isn’t a road trip without people fighting over who has to sit in the middle of the back seat.

  • Pack as light as possible, and use the air conditioning. Rolled- down windows and open sun roofs cause your car to be less fuel- efficient (because they hinder the aerodynamics of your ride), as does every excess pound you cram in your trunk.

  • Consider renting a hybrid car for your trip. They use significantly less fuel, and run quietly, a plus for those who want to sleep in the backseat. Plus, renting a car is relatively inexpensive if more than two people chip in to help pay for it.

  • Instead of souvenirs, take a ton of digital photographs. Who needs inefficiently- made tchotchkes cluttering up your house or room? If you absolutely must bring home things to remember your road trip by, pick up locally- made crafts, food, or artwork.

  • Wherever you lodge, do as you would at home: Unplug lamps, stereos, appliances, etc. when you are not in the room. If you are staying in a hotel, opt to not have your linens and towels changed every day (keeping the “Do Not Disturb” doorknob sign on your door should do the trick)

  • Stick to the speed limit! On the highway, your car is most fuel- efficient between 50 and 60 miles per hour.

Want to tell everyone the story of your green road trip? Found other ways to go green in your car? Share it!

by M. Molendyke

  • Roger
    Jun 15th, 2009 at 13:56 | #1

    Looks like some really good suggestions! When using reusable water bottles, be sure to keep them clean, and re-fill from clean sources. Tap water is often better than bottled water.

  • Molly
    Jul 1st, 2009 at 21:11 | #2

    Speaking of reusable water bottles, keep an eye out for some reviews of things like self- filtering reusable water bottles and straws that are very handy for just this sort of thing in our new blog section entitled “eco- gadgets!”

  • Feb 28th, 2012 at 20:41 | #3

    I drive a truck, so are there any truck accessories that I should bring along on my trip that might make it a greener one? I took note of all the other points and definitely am going to put some of it if not all into use.

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