Do you suffer from wanderlust? Are you an adventurer who itches to travel? Well, then you know that a summer road trip is the perfect way to scratch that itch and temporary relieve those symptoms. It's a modern day Kerouac experience – on the road, exploring new territories across the continent and experiencing the many cultures within. However, if you're an eco-conscious adventurer, it's hard to not feel guilty for using so much energy for the sake of adventure. While there's no way to truly take a road trip with zero carbon footprint, there are ways to ensure that you're doing the best you can to not impact Mother Nature. Consider these ways to save energy while hitting the road for a journey.
- Take a fuel-efficient vehicle. Sadly, electric cars were not made for road trips. Chances are, its battery would die long before you reach your destination. Since you have to use gas regardless, you might as well take a vehicle that uses it wisely. Most rental car companies have fuel economy or hybrid vehicles that get about 34 miles per gallon or more, such as Honda Fits or Toyota Priuses. You'll be helping reduce your carbon emissions and your spending.
- Take the bus. I know, I know… taking the bus isn't as fun as making the drive in your own car but Sal Paradise took the bus in On the Road. Not to mention, you'll be saving yourself from contributing more CO2 to the atmosphere via a separate trip. The bus will be going with or without you, so you might as well make it worth the pollution by hopping on board.
- Bring a tent and camp! Picture yourself in a tent in the middle of the desert with coyotes yipping and wolves howling in the distance. Terrifying – yes – but also exciting and eco-conscious. Camping has virtually no carbon footprint and can be quite the experience. You'll save energy and money while creating stories to tell for a lifetime.
- If you must stay indoors, find an eco-conscious hotel. Across the United States there are greener hotels that make less of an environmental impact. Take, for instance, Krimpton hotels that have been a trendsetter for the entire state of California. Krimpton's eco-friendly EarthCare practices include encouraging guests to re-use linens and towels, recycling 60% of hotel waste, using recycled paper, water-saving devices and much more.
- If you want the best of the outdoors but don't want to sacrifice a real roof over your head, find a creative Airbnb rental. If you're not familiar with Airbnb, you've been missing out! You can find a variety of listings that are not only eco-friendly but also unique. From forts in the desert to tiny houses to communes in the wilderness, you'll never forget your stay. You can even learn a thing or two about sustainable living from some of the more adventurous off-the-grid listings.
- Don't participate in excess just because you're on vacation. It's really easy to leave the lights on or take a very long shower when you're not responsible for the bill. Just keep in mind that all of these resources are coming from the same place and just because you're not paying for it doesn't mean the environment isn't.
- Find eco-conscious restaurants or grocery stores. Part of taking a road trip is exploring the area you're in. Many towns have local co-op grocery stores, green chain stores or eco-friendly restaurants. Experience fresh produce from the area you're in or know you're supporting a green company – all while satisfying your appetite. It's a win-win for both your belly and Mother Nature.