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I learned many years ago that a green road trip can be both frugal and a ton of fun. If you are planning a family road trip this summer, consider a few ways to reduce your carbon footprint while you do it. Sustainable travel is one small way that you can have frugal family fun this summer!
Family Travel Can Be Fun, Right?
We travel by car fairly often. The grandparents all live far away and they like to see their grand kids occasionally. I look forward to these drives about as much as I look forward to my yearly OB exam.
Must Have Sustainable Travel Items
- Bamboo Cutlery Travel Set: It is the perfect alternative to plastic cutlery offered in bars and coffee shops. It will allow you to limit your ecological impact in everyday life.
- Stainless Steel Insulated Travel Mug : Stainless steel vacuum insulated travel mugs keep beverages hot or cold for hours.
- Bamboo Toothbrush Set: If you have decided to start making more eco-friendly zero waste and green choices in the items in your life, then deciding to purchase a bamboo wooden travel toothbrush would be a great start.
- Reusable Sandwich Snack & Storage Bags: Ideal to pack snacks for the munchy moments in your road trip.
When we first started traveling as a family across the country, it was tough. The bickering. The cramped space. Days of being cooped up with the kids and nowhere to hide. To top it all off we usually ended up eating fast food, getting leg cramps and headaches, and arrived at our destination with a less than stellar attitude about the whole trip.
I knew we should be packing organic apples and singing songs together and we tried…for about the first hour. Then, things start to go downhill steadily. We have improved our family travel experiences quite a bit over the years and I thought I would share a few ways to enjoy a green road trip with your own family.
Road Trips: A National Pastime
More Family Travel Tips
- Car Traveling Tips for Long Distance Road Trips
- Night Driving Tips for Safer Evening Travel
- Staying Sane While Traveling with Kids
Green Road Trip Tips for Frugal Family Fun!
- Prepare to Picnic: Grab a cooler and stock it full of healthy (organic, even!) snacks, homemade sandwiches, and drinks. Throw in a blanket just in case you can’t find a picnic table! Check out my post about healthy picnic ideas to get started.
- Skip the soda: You can pack water in stainless steel bottles or bring premade drinks in glass and/or plastic bottles. Bring along an extra bag to stow your recyclables in til you get to your destination.
- Plan your trip carefully: You really want to avoid stop and go traffic and head for the highway whenever possible. You will use less gas and save your sanity. If you hit a traffic tie up, use a handy traffic app if you have one to find a new route.
- Pitch a tent: Consider camping instead of checking into a motel. You will save a ton of money on this one as well as create a green road trip for your family. Throw a tent and sleeping bags in the car and check out KOA for campground suggestions. Make a few DIY firestarters before you leave.
- Lighten your load: Every extra 100 pounds shaves off up to 2 percent off your miles per gallon, according to fuel economy.gov. Think before you pack! Or, put everyone on a serious diet 🙂
- Do some car maintenance: Get an oil change. The proper grade of motor oil can up your gas mileage by 1 or 2 percent. There are even eco friendly oils out there now that use recycled content. Also, check your tire pressure. Gas mileage improves up to 3.3 percent with properly inflated tires.
Best Road Trip Destinations in the USA
Sure, family road trips to grandma’s house are fun. However, there are so many great road trip destinations out there just waiting to be explored! I firmly believe that teaching kids about the beauty of nature is one of the best green road trip lessons ever! Head to a few of these great places on your next family vacation:
- Pacific Coast Highway – California: A major north–south state highway that runs along most of the Pacific coastline of the U.S. state of California.
- Going-to-the-Sun Road – Montana: Going-to-the-Sun Road is a scenic mountain road in the Rocky Mountains of the western United States, in Glacier National Park in Montana.
- Blue Ridge Parkway – Virginia: The Parkway runs from Virginia all the way to Cherokee, North Carolina.
- Olympic Peninsula – Washington: With its incredible range of precipitation and elevation, diversity is the hallmark of Olympic National Park.
- Brandywine Valley – Pennsylvania and Delaware: A road trip through the Brandywine Valley offers a taste of American aristocracy.
- Cape Cod – Massachusetts: Quaint harbors, windswept beaches, glorious dunes and blinking lighthouses.
Green Travel Resources for Sustainable Vacation Planning
Planning a green road trip isn’t always easy. Of course, planning vacation in general isn’t easy, right? However, if sustainable travel is important to you, there are many ways to reduce your carbon footprint while still enjoying a nice vacation. Here are a few green travel resources to get you started:
Green Lodging News
International Ecotourism Society
Sustainable Travel International
Do you have any other green road trip suggestions?
Diane is a professional blogger and nationally certified pharmacy technician at Good Pill Pharmacy. She earned her BS in Microbiology at the University of New Hampshire and has worked in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging and freelance writing to share this knowledge with others. Learn more about her HERE.
7 thoughts on “Green Road Trip Ideas for Frugal Family Fun!”
Excellent tips! We take a lot of summer car trips too and do a lot of what you suggest here. If you can do something green and have a good time, all the better. 🙂
Thanks for the tips! We have a road trip in June and this will be great!
Thanks for the really great tips! We usually do everything you listed except camping. We have never done that before but would love to!
I hadn’t thought about weight being an issue for saving gas. I’ll have to tell my husband that!!! Great tips!! Raod trips are surely coming up for us.
I’m all for skipping the soda, I just need to find the perfect spillproof/leakproof reusable bottle. I’ve tried a few different kinds without success.
we have a ton of them and I usually go for stainless steel when I can.
Thanks for the helpful tips and reminders! We take a lot of road trips each year and I never thought about lightening the loads, will be more thoughtful about how much we pack now!