The best part of any vacation is dropping out. No calls to return, no laundry to wash and fold. The floors can stay dirty and the dust can accumulate for all we care.
This summer, as you hit the highway in search of your next great adventure, remember your commitment to green living. From plastic bags to zooming above the speed limit, avoiding some things—and packing a few of the right things—will help pave the way for a happy, healthy, environmentally friendly road trip.
1. Reuse Containers. Cut down waste by loading up drinks and food to go in plastic-free containers. ECOlunchbox has sizes for every meal—from small snacks (think homemade trail mix the kids can make) to lunch in no-leak stainless steel boxes or handmade fabric bags. Also, skip the non-sustainable water bottles; aluminum containers will keep your beverages cold and toxin-free and are easily refilled.
2. Bag It. Always keep a trash receptacle in your car, especially when travelling. Paper bags are better for the environment than plastic and will hold more trash, but bags can roll and contents may spill out. To keep your car tidy, try a reusable garbage bag like the Auto Trash Buddy Car Storage or Clean Ridez Car Garbage Can. Both come with lids and removable and reusable liners. They are also waterproof and washable and cost about $20.
3. Get Cruisin’. Once you’re en route, set your car’s cruise control. Maintaining a constant speed will help you save gas, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Plus, “Driving is far better from an emissions perspective than flying to begin with—so enjoy that road trip with less guilt,” says Manda Aufochs Gillespie, author of “Green Mama: Giving Your Child a Healthy Shot and Greener Future.”
4. Be Water-Wise. Chances are you don’t throw in the towel after one shower at home. On the road you shouldn’t, either. Most hotels have adopted a policy asking guests to reuse their towels. Rather than leave yours on the floor or in the tub, hang it up and let the cleaning crew know you’re a friend to the environment.
5. Conserve Resources. When it comes to bathing, curb your water usage. The island you’re visiting or the town you’re passing through may be suffering its own water shortage. Be mindful of your surroundings; turn off unnecessary lights and limit running water when brushing your teeth.
6. Shop Local. “Shopping and staying in smaller, locally run places both can reduce the environmental footprint of your travels and keep money local,” Gillespie says. “Plus, it's fun.”