5 tips to make your road trips eco-friendly
Editorial team
Apr 22, 2022
Traffic and travel information

5 tips to make your road trips eco-friendly

Editorial team
TomTom Blog
Apr 22, 20223 min read
5 tips to make your road trips eco-friendly
Travelling sustainably is becoming increasingly important, but it’s also increasingly possible. From electric vehicles giving people the choice to drive without tailpipe emissions, to route planners that help us reduce our carbon footprint, there are plenty of options to make road trips more eco-conscious than ever. For this year’s Earth Day, we’ve put together our top 5 quick tips to make your next road trip more friendly to the planet.

Tip 1: Plan, plan, plan


Getting lost can sometimes be a good feeling on a road trip. But when trying to minimize your impact on the environment, it’s best to plan your route before you hit the road to avoid any unnecessary travel.

Planning our trip helps us avoid driving extra miles as we find our way. In the planning stage we can also make crucial decisions such as choosing more economical routes or deciding where is best to charge (if you’re an EV driver). There’s also the added benefit of discovering the best route, so we can sit back and enjoy the beautiful views from the car.

Another way to reduce your impact is to plan your meals. Throughout your journey try to find local restaurants or eco-friendly facilities. You can try out the local cuisine, or venture into new restaurants.

If you’re traveling by van or motorhome and want to cook, look for local markets. Buying local and seasonal products when possible is a good way of limiting your impact on the environment and reducing waste.

Bonus tip: Get offline maps, keeping you on track even if you lose connection! Might we suggest TomTom's Go Navigation App? Not only will it help you plan your trip, but it'll keep you updated on real-time traffic, so you can avoid the extra time and emissions and enjoy the open road instead.
Plan your route to avoid unnecessary travel and reduce your environmental impact.
Plan your route to avoid unnecessary travel and reduce your environmental impact.



Tip 2: Avoid disposable plastics


No summer road trip is complete without an assortment of driving snacks, but there’s a downside to that. The disposable plastic packaging. As we all know, plastic packaging is a huge detriment to the environment, and causes problems for wildlife, sustainability and the preservation of natural landscapes.

There’s no other way of putting this but avoid using plastic as much as you can. The planet will thank you. Forget about disposable water bottles and packaging and equip yourself with reusable containers. Choose between more eco-friendly and reusable alternatives to plastic, such as metal, compostable packaging and reusable cutlery and plates whenever possible. It’s more convenient and more sustainable!

Bonus tip: For longer trips, bring a water filter or sterilizer, so you can refill your water anywhere.



Tip 3: Be holistically mindful of your emissions


Your car matters. So be sure that your vehicle is in its best shape for the road: check the engine, air filter, oil level and fuel filter before your trip. Changing your oil regularly and keeping your tires at the right air pressure also helps improve fuel economy. Use the available functions in your car such as cruise control, which can help you to maintain your speed and reduce excess emissions. While it may seem small, every little bit can work towards making your trip that little bit greener.

Even better, if you can drive an electric vehicle, your road trip will be free of tailpipe emissions! Just make sure to check available charging stations on your route.



Tip 4: Think about how you drive


What you drive can have a massive impact on how eco-friendly your summer’s road trip is. But how you drive is incredibly important too.

Over long distances, being careful with the throttle and easy on the brakes can help to manage your speed more progressively can help cut down on tailpipe and brake dust emissions. It will also decrease the wear on your tires and your passengers will probably have a nicer trip too.

Bonus tip: If you're curious about going electric, why not rent an EV for this year’s road trip and cut your tailpipe emissions completely?



Tip 5: Leave no trace


Ok, so this one is a little more philosophical rather than practical advice. We should always, especially on road trips, aim to leave no trace. What is it they say? Leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but photographs? The same should go for our summer road trips.

A good way of living by this philosophy is to leave wherever you’re visiting cleaner than how you found it. If you see some litter that someone else has dropped, why not pick it up and dispose of it properly?

When discovering rural areas be respectful of the land and leave it untouched. Avoid walking off marked trails as this can be dangerous and disruptive to the local environment and wildlife. After you experience the wild, dispose of everything you use in an appropriate waste bin. If you can’t, hold on to it until you find a suitable spot.
Leave no trace, so that the nature around you remains untouched.
Leave no trace, so that the nature around you remains untouched.



Time to get on the road


Even if your road trip isn’t done in an EV, there are so many ways to reduce your carbon footprint and make your trip a little greener. From planning your trip carefully to avoid extra miles to forgoing disposable plastic, it’s often the little things that make a big difference. Adding all these things together means a great deal. If it’s ten, twenty or hundreds of people on road trips following these tips, the impact is even greater.

If you ask us, enjoying your time on the road in the knowledge that you’re reducing your impact on the nature around you is the best way to relax into your vacation!
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