Tips for a more sustainable Road Trip

Road trips were always that type of vacation that people do at least once in their lifetime. You can do it with friends, on a budget, customize it as much as possible and you know you’ll always have a good time!


As Covid-19 started to invade the world and borders started to close, many people decided to do their vacations at home and explore their own countries instead of travelling to foreign countries. Whether they’re doing it out of fear or because the pandemic shortened their income, people are now discovering and rediscovering their homes and there’s nothing better than taking your car to do it! But, as domestic tourism and road trips are increasing, it’s important to discuss how we can make it with a lower impact possible.


So let’s see how we can make our road trips more sustainable:

Preparation is the key

This sentence could apply to almost everything in our lives and it couldn’t be different here! If you want to make the most out of your journey and still be sustainable, you must prepare your holidays to make sure everything is as it should.

Let’s see what we can do before we hit the road:

the car

If you’re using your own vehicle you must take it to a mechanic to make sure everything is okay with it. Besides being super important to do it due to safety reasons (no one wants to have a car accident or lose time with car problems on vacations), it’s also important at an environmental level. And why? Because if your car has any problem like having lower pressure tires, for example, the car will consume more fuel, ending up releasing more carbon to the atmosphere. It will be safer, more sustainable and even more economic if you take your car to an inspection first.


If you decide to rent a car you have the option to choose a hybrid or an electric one and that can make a great difference in the carbon emissions you will release during the journey. Don’t forget to rent a car that suits your necessities: you don’t need a big van which consumes a lot if you’re travelling as a couple.


If you’re planning vacations with your friends and you all fit in the same car, take 1 instead of 2 cars.

the bag - what to take

First rule: regardless of where you’re going and for how long, always try to pack as light as possible. The same way heavier luggage means more carbon emissions on planes it means the same with cars.


If you’re going to camp or sleep in hotels will make a difference in what you will need, so

I’ll try to make a shortlist that could fit both situations:


Take your reusables


Reusables will save your life in endless situations! Let’s see what you should have with you:


  • Bottle of water – take your reusable bottles of water, so you can avoid buying water along the way. Normally you should find good tap water or water refills anywhere you go.
  • Bags – wherever you will go, you already know you will stop to buy food, so take some bags and you won’t need to buy more at the supermarkets.
  • Camping? – Don’t forget your cutlery, your fabric napkin and your coffee mug! Also, don’t forget to take some natural and more sustainable soap to wash your dishes! Nowadays there are great solutions and you should only take the amount you need, occupying less space.
  • Straws – if you like to use straws take your own

Your hygiene items – solid items are more sustainable and will occupy less space in your luggage. Take only what’s necessary and try to avoid plastic items, as if they end during the journey you’re more likely to leave your trash where you are travelling. The sustainable options you use at home are the ones you should take with you (solid shampoos, soap bars, toothpaste tablets and elixirs instead the regular ones, menstrual cups instead of pads,




Food is something that can’t be missed on the list!


If you’re planning to cook, see how many meals you will make and take the correct amount of ingredients. You should also take ingredients that last longer so, in case you don’t use them, they will still be good for you to bring back home.


Snacks – prepare your own at home, so you don’t have to buy them on the way. We all know that the majority of snacks always come wrapped in plastic


Take your ingredients/snacks or pre-cooked food in containers that you can reuse. In case you’ll go to a restaurant or a takeaway you can always use those same containers to bring food.

the journey

And of course, you should prepare your journey with time. See what the best route for your destination is and which will take you faster to your destination. Avoiding getting lost also means fewer carbon emissions.


Now that we are all set to go, let’s see what we can do during the road trip!


There are many things that one can do to have a more sustainable journey. If you are staying in hotels during your journey I suggest you read my blog post on how to be more sustainable at your accomodation.


There are so many easy things that one can do to be more sustainable on a road trip:

  • Always try to buy your food from local markets or from street vendors. You are more likely to have products in bulk and you are supporting the local economy. Avoid as much as possible the camping sites supermarkets, as normally they have almost everything wrapped in plastic.
  • Buy your souvenirs from locals
  • Eat local – choose local restaurants or even small family restaurants (normally they have the best food!) and if you’re taking leftovers with you, ask to use your own containers
  • While on the car avoid using the A/C! Using it for an entire journey, especially if it is a long one, can have a big impact on carbon emissions! Sometimes all you need is to open the car windows and you will be comfortable as well.
  • Don’t litter anywhere you go! If you have any trash with you try to dispose of it on local litters or recycling bins. If you don’t find any, carry it with you until your next stop.
  • If you’re camping, please do not wash your dishes on watercourses. All the chemicals will go to the water and affect its biodiversity.
  • Road trips can be extremely exhausting. If you feel tired the best option is to stop your car and sit somewhere to drink a coffee. Avoid the to-go coffees that come in plastic cups. You’re on vacations, so just enjoy and relax!
  • Whenever you can, park your car and explore the new place by foot or by public transports. You will discover much more this way and you will probably spend less money, as you will be saving fuel.

I hope these tips can help you prepare your next journey. If you’re planning a different type of vacations do not forget to check my blog posts on how to travel on a more sustainable way:

11 steps for a more sustainable journey – the preparation

11 steps for a more sustainable journey – sustainability at the destination

 You will find many complements to this one!


Stay safe and enjoy your vacations!


If you have any other tips feel free to comment below or to share them with me on my Instagram @travellingtothegreen!


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