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Rivoli family travelers road-tripping in the family van

"Greening up" your family road trip may be easier than you think.

Okay,  5 people packed in a minivan setting out for hundreds if not thousands of miles of adventure may not be the first image that comes to mind when you hear the words “green travel.” Yet this year, families across the continent will set out to do just that in the name of meaningful, family vacations. With just a few minor adjustments, you might be surprised how even the Great American Road Trip can be done a little greener than you’d think.

Here are five easy steps you might take to “green” your own family road trip this year.

Take a BPA-free water reservoir with tap on your road trip

Use this BPA-free water tank with tap to refill your reusable water bottles and sippy cups.

1. Use a refillable 3-gallon water dispenser as you travel instead of buying bottles of water. One identical to this BPA-free model has accompanied us on countless road trips, and we don’t plan to leave home without it this year! On shorter trips, I love having our same delicious water from home with us as we travel, and on longer trips, it’s always easy to refill with more water and ice at hotels along the way. During drives in the car, we keep it in a shady nook and sometimes set a pillow on top to insulate. In the campground? Perfect. And in case of a roadside emergency, you’ve got plenty of extra water for the family – or the car.

2. Bring your own travel mug and USE IT (again and again and again). Many a time, my hubby and I have stopped in our tracks in line for a free hotel breakfast or in a motel lobby with free coffee to go back and grab our travel mugs to fill them instead of the paper or Styrofoam cups provided by the hotel. Not only is this better for the environmental big picture, but my travel mug holds way more coffee and keeps it hot longer to boot! (For the same reason, I love using it to keep my cold water cold on the road.)

3. Bring a bag for recyclables. Garbage cans may be many along your route, but recycling receptacles? Not so many. Your road-trip recyclables stashed in a separate bag can be properly filed when the opportunity arises, or put in your own bin at home on your return from a weekend away.

4. Consider renting a hybrid – If you’ll be renting a car for your family road trip, or one to drive around the island, consider renting a hybrid car. Depending on the driving you’ll do, the savings in fuel costs alone may prove well worth it. For a limited time, you can also save 5% off all hybrid vehicles at Fox Rent a Car locations across the U.S., though the hybrids here and at other locations go quickly, so book yours early to avoid disappointment.

5. Bring an ice chest loaded with easy travel foods, even if you won’t be camping, and replenish as you travel. Having simple sandwich fixings, string cheese, baby carrots and the like on hand may not only save you money and calories over frequent fast food and drive-thru stops on your journey, but you won’t have nearly as much packaging to dispose of along the way. Not to mention, you’ll be picnic-ready for any scenic stop along your path.

GET MORE! For more road trip tips  for travel with young children, see the Car Seat and Road Trip Tips Page, and don’t miss the planning help in Travels with Baby and tips to use during your road trip in Take-Along Travels with Baby.

Related posts and pages:

Safe journeys,

Shelly Rivoli
Author of the award-winning Travels with Baby and Take-Along Travels with Baby
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