Guest post: Hunter DeRusha
It’s time to hit the road! Whether you are searching for adventure, on a family holiday or even making a long-distance move, there is something so liberating about taking a road trip! Cruising along the open road is a great way to switch off from the bustle of everyday life, to create new memories and enjoy a sense of freedom.
Tourism Australia statistics show that these kinds of adventures have increased significantly over the last few years (not surprising, given international travel was off the cards) but more interestingly is that the demand for sustainable tourism has also gone up as people acknowledge travel as a positive force for good.
Are road trips eco-friendly?
While road tripping is kinder to the environment than flying, there are some downsides to travelling by road, including your car emissions and the increase in shopping for convenience, rather than conservation. However, there are ways to help reduce your footprint (or wheel print should we say?)
How to carbon offset your road trip.
If you want to be a climate hero, then you can consider going carbon neutral to offset your trip. What does this mean? An average car uses about 10.8 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres. For a carload of four people, that calculates to around 62.5g of emissions each per kilometre. Carbon offsetting means investing in an activity that reduces emissions, to make up for the emissions used elsewhere. The most straight forward way to do this is to donate to a carbon offsetting program that would do something (usually planting trees) to compensate for the greenhouse gas created by your trip. There are lots of program like this in Australia, such as Ecologi or Greening Australia.
How to reduce plastic on a road trip.
You can’t have a road trip without snacks (or coffee) but the main conundrum that we face when taking to the open road is that many of the food options are wrapped in single use plastic. It’s ironic that we drive to explore new places and connect with nature, but so often leave a trail of damaging plastic behind us! The good news is that with a bit of planning you can help to reduce your impact on the Earth, support local small businesses and still enjoy the sense of wanderlust.
Holiday trends are showing that the wellbeing of people, supporting local and maintaining the natural environment are becoming key considerations for many travellers and the road trip is no exception! Instead of stopping off at the service centres for plastic wrapped, mass produced food (let’s be honest, in some cases ‘food’ is a generous description of that stuff!), take a turn into a nearby town and support local cafés and growers. You can find a cosy place to sit down and enjoy a meal or if you’re on a time limit ask for your sandwich to be wrapped in paper instead. You might even have a reusable container that you can use and at smaller places they’ll usually be happy to oblige and fill it for you, instead of using plastic. This is a wonderful way to discover new places, that you might not have otherwise known about if you stayed on the main freeway. You can also look up local farmers markets that are on your route and if your days are flexible then plan ahead to arrive on the market days for delicious home grown produce and good vibes.
Making a positive impact while travelling.
Do your best to treat every place you visit with the same respect as you would your own home. If you’re on a hike or beach walk and spot some rubbish, pick it up to prevent it getting into waterways. The Take 3 movement encourages you to take 3 pieces of rubbish with you when you leave the beach, waterway, national park or anywhere that you visit. This small gesture that when repeated by many, can make a huge difference. By planning ahead and being innovative, your road trip can be used as a positive force for good for communities and for Mother Nature. Learning about the local communities or the indigenous culture of a place is also a thoughtful way to show your respect for the land and also learn something new. Be spontaneous and don’t be afraid to explore or try something new, this is how the best memories are made!
What to pack for a road trip?
Being prepared is essential to an eco-friendly road trip – here is a list of things to pack to make your trip more sustainable:
- Reusable Fressko coffee cup – Such as our spill proof Camino
- Refillable water bottle – Insulated stainless steel bottles will keep your drinks cold for hours
- Tupperware - For filling with food on the road or to store snacks like nuts and fruit for your trip
- Reusable eco wraps – Handy to have in case of leftovers
- Tea strainer & bottle in one – RUSH was made for this!
- Green cleaning products – try soap and shampoo in tins instead of mini plastic bottles
- Fruit as snacks – make the most of side of the road growers. You’re on an adventure! Follow those rustic wooden signs to a roadside veggie stall and enjoy fresh homegrown peaches for lunch.
- Sustainable sunscreen and zinc – There are lots of small ways to keep waterways clean, and using eco-friendly brands of sunscreen and zinc will be good for your skin and good for the planet.
It’s time to give in to that craving for wide open spaces, to take the road less travelled, connect with nature, explore new places and remember that the best road trips are all about the journey, not the destination.