Road trip tips
Summer is the season for good times and the open road, but unfortunately it is often accompanied by a trail of fast-food wrappers and carbon emissions. To design a healthy road trip that ditches the carbon footprint, try these tips that will make your summer getaway a green one.
When hunger strikes, don’t assume fast food is the only option. Start your trip with a cooler of fresh fruits and vegetables and a stash of your favorite cereals and crackers; that way, you’ll be less inclined to pull over for french fries between meals. Along the way, research nearby farmers' markets and locally provisioned restaurants (find them at localharvest.org) where you can stop to dine and to replenish your supplies.
Rent a hybrid or biodiesel car—your mileage will soar and your fuel costs and carbon emissions will shrink. No matter what you drive, regularly check your tires to make sure they are properly inflated, which can improve your fuel economy by 3.3 percent.
Camping out is the greenest option; it also gives you the opportunity to teach your children about the outdoors and to explore our country’s most protected green spaces. Local, state and national parks offer campsites as well as backcountry camping. Some of the most popular spots can be fully booked weeks ahead of time, and some parks permit only a very limited number of campers in order to preserve the natural surroundings. So reserve space early via recreation.gov and reserveamerica.com.
Maximize your battery use by bringing along a solar-powered charger (you can find them at solio.com) for your cell phone and electronics, which you can place on the dash of the car as you go. Also consider LED roadside flares (niteize.com).
When it comes to sunscreen, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are the least harmful to the environment and to your health, because they consist of minerals that block the sun from reaching your skin, rather than chemicals that absorb UV rays. But if you’re opposed to a lifeguard’s nose, try less-toxic sunscreen brands like Avalon Organics and Burt’s Bees.