5 steps to reduce your environmental footprint on road trips and car vacations

January 4, 2019


You have your snacks, a fully charged car battery, and your favorite road trip playlist ready. But what about the carbon footprint of your trip?

This year, many of us are spending the summer holiday within driving distance of our home. And what a great thing that is. Hitting the open road and exploring the region's scenery and wonders will bring you memories and laughs for years to come.

We put together a list of 5 steps to make your trip not only memorable but more environmentally friendly.

#1: Leave it better with a trash hike

Besides making sure not to litter, we can do cleanup hikes, where we bring trash bags to our hiking routes and pick up the trash we find along the way, leaving nature in a better state than we found it.

The #Trashtag challenge that went viral in 2019 showed us people doing impressive cleanups all around the world. By keeping a couple of trash bags in your daypack, you’re always set to give nature a high-five (as a bonus, you can use the empty bags for sitting on, if it’s been raining).

Remember to bring gloves or tissue for picking up trash!

#2: Bring your reusables

Single-use plastics put a lot of strain on the environment, and there’s no need for it. When planning your trip, remember to pack your zero-waste accessories, like a reusable coffee mug, a water bottle, food containers, and utensils.

It’s easy, and you get to bring your favorite coffee mug on your journey.

3#: Download playlists onto your phone, instead of streaming them

Road trips would not be the same without music, and while we might have different ideas of what a perfect road trip playlist sounds like, a vacation drive just isn’t the same without some tunes. Using streaming services for music is extremely convenient, and allows us to have everything at our fingertips (that is, if we can remember the title), but it does leave a trace.

Every cloud solution involves servers in need of power, and therefore they leave a carbon footprint. But, if you download your playlist before you take off, you use less energy and, therefore, have a slightly smaller carbon footprint.

#4: Stay in your lane – go slow

The slow lane isn’t’ just for caravans and horse boxes. By sticking with proper traffic etiquette and keeping within the speed limits, you are also significantly lowering your fuel consumption.

For instance, driving 120 km per hour, a car uses around 20% more fuel than if it’s driving 100 km per hour. On a 25-km trip, this speed – and fuel consumption – cuts just 2 minutes of your travel time. That’s neither fast, nor furious, and wouldn’t you rather use those 2 minutes listening to great music anyway?

5#: Recognize your footprint and account for it

Part of the solution is recognizing that most of our actions leave a mark. We can take steps to make that mark as little as possible and do our part to leave the world better. The world is here to be enjoyed, but let’s protect our beautiful playground while we do so.

No matter how fuel-efficient we drive, our trip will never be completely carbon neutral. But by driving responsibly, and cutting down on fuel, energy, and resource consumption as much as we can, we can account for the carbon footprint we leave behind with offsetting.

That’s our list. We hope you like it!

It takes very few steps to cruise consciously, and once you’ve made the decision to travel with awareness of your footprints, the open road feels a little more beautiful and precious.

What do you do to make your vacations more climate-conscious?

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