road trip

Road Trip Checklist to Make Your Travels More Biofriendly

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Road trips are one of those summer pastimes filled with adventure and fond memories. You’ve probably had at least one road trip, whether with family or friends, over the course of your life so far. Maybe you went camping or to visit a National Park. Perhaps you took a trip to the lake or decided to do a little cross-country sight-seeing. Whatever you did, I’m sure you have stories to tell and funny anecdotes to share.

Well, now is as good a time as any to go on another adventure. But, this time, before you head out on your road trip, go through the road trip checklist we’ve put together to help make your travels more biofriendly.

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Vehicle Preparation

Let’s start with vehicle preparation. If you’re planning to use your own car for your road trip, there are a few things you’ll want to do prior to your departure:

  • Unload any unnecessary items from your vehicle.
  • Check the air pressure on your vehicle’s tires and make the tires are properly inflated.
  • Make sure your car’s oil and all other fluids are topped off.
  • Check your car’s battery.
  • Be sure your brakes work properly.
  • Check your a/c and heater for functionality.
  • Pack your vehicle with an emergency kit including, but not limited to, first aid supplies, road flares or reflectors, drinkable water, non-perishable snacks, a blanket and a rain jacket.
  • Pack a cell phone charger you can plus into your vehicle or bring a solar-powered charging device.
  • Verify your GPS is working, either in your vehicle or on your phone.
  • Plan your route ahead of time to minimize drive and idle time, as well as save gas.
  • If you’re planning to make overnight or extended stops along the way, consider bringing (or renting) bicycles for getting around the local area without the use of your car.
  • NOTE: If you intend to rent a car, opt for an electric or hybrid vehicle as doing so will save money and minimize the harmful emissions from your trip.

Many of the maintenance actions can be taken care of through a basic inspection and tune-up at your local auto repair shop, if you don’t want to do them yourself. AAA also has a list of actions to take to prepare your car for summer travel, as well as services available for members in need.

Photo by Promodhya Abeysekara on Unsplash

Road Trip Snacks

If you’re planning on taking a road trip, you’re going to need snacks. You’re going to want to be smart about it, however. Stopping at fast food joints along the way is not the way to go. It’s not only expensive, but it tends to be a pretty unhealthy option. A healthier alternative is to pack your own snacks. Doing so also minimizes the number of stops you’ll have to make along the way.

  • Figure out what snacks you may want to eat along the way. Fruits and veggies are a healthy option and create very little non-biodegradable, or non-compostable, waste.
  • If you want to make sandwiches, or other pre-prepared meals, plan ahead of time and be sure to store these items in reusable containers. Try to stay away from processed foods whenever you can.
  • Pack a cooler with ice for your perishable foods. Add an extra bag of ice you can use for your drinks along the way.
  • Fill reusable water bottles for everyone in your vehicle. Then, if you’re going quite a distance, fill a water cooler with ice and water you can use to refill your water bottles. This will help cut down on unnecessary plastic waste.
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Leave No Trace

One of the nice things about taking a road trip is being able to stop along the way to check out the sights. When you plan the route you intend to take, you will have the opportunity to designate specific landmarks or destinations you want to see. For example, if you wanted to drive into the mountains, you may have to go through a desert area to get there. If there is some place you, your family or your friends want to see, you’ll have the freedom to do so. However…when you do make stops, keep these tips in mind to make sure you leave no trace.

  • Look for, and stick to, designated paths and trails.
  • Bring your camera (or cellphone) for picture taking so you can capture the beautiful landscape, but remember to leave what you find, i.e. don’t take home rocks, leaves or any other parts of the natural surroundings.
  • If you think you’ll need to make a campfire at a planned stop, do your research ahead of time to find out where fires are permitted. Then adhere to all local restrictions and make sure you put out your fire fully when you’re done.
  • Pack your food up properly so, if you do encounter any wildlife, the scents and smells won’t attract or entice the animals to come in for a closer look. Be sure you keep your distance, as well.
  • Plan to pack out everything you brought in. Leave no trash or waste along the way. You want to leave the open space in the same condition (or better) than it was when you arrived. Think along the lines of leaving only footprints.

Safe Travels

There are so many activities and projects you can do with your kids this summer, but road trips are a fun way to see new sights and spend quality time enjoying the company of family and friends. Although, road trips can have a significant impact on the environment. Following these steps, among others, can help make sure your summer road trip travels are more biofriendly.

Wherever you go, and whatever you choose to do this summer, I hope you make some happy memories! Safe travels!

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