A road-trip can be the perfect antidote to cabin-fever, cold weather boredom and the travel bug. Whether you’re setting off to visit old friends, or want to make news ones in some new places; road-tripping around Australia’s many beautiful natural assets is one of the best experiences you can have.
However, we all know the high cost that fuel emissions can have on the environment, so it’s important that we strive to minimise that cost, while still having a guilt-free, unforgettably fun holiday. So here’s some sneaky pointers to help you gain instead of lose eco-points on your great Australian road-trip!
You might already have a hybrid car, if so – great! If not – there are still some things you can do to make sure your car is as fuel-efficient as possible throughout your trip. If you top off your oil and pump up your tyres, it can boost your car’s fuel efficiency by 5% or more. This can be hugely beneficial over an entire road trip. Before you hit the road – make sure you put your car through a full service so that it’s in good nick.
2. Pack light
The more you pack into your car, the less green your car will be. Bring only what you need and skip out on the extras like extra clothing and accessories. If you have bike or surfboard racks on the top of your car and you don’t plan on using them, make sure you take them off before the trip in order to decrease your car’s weight and wind-resistance.
3. Turn it off
Before you hit the road, it’s ideal to turn off all lights and power points in your home. If you’ll be away for more than a couple of days, it’s best to turn off your electricity meter until you return.
4. Drive the green way
Even the way you drive can impact your fuel-emissions. Driving smoothly will mean that your car uses less fuel, while driving at a high speed can cause your engine to be less efficient. Find out more about driving green here.
5. Watch your plastics
Just because you’re on the road, it doesn’t mean you can let your guard down around single-use plastics. Make sure you pack reusable bags, fill up bottles where you can to avoid buying water bottles, say no to plastic straws and try to recycle any plastic bags you happen to gather along the way!
6. Choose eco-friendly accommodation
Camping is, of course, the eco-friendliest accommodation of them all, while it also helps you get back to nature. But, if you’re after something a little lusher like a hotel, it is possible feel guilt free about it. There are plenty of green hotels all over Australia – all it takes is a little research. You can find some green accommodation options here.
7. Watch what you eat
Reduce food waste by planning ahead and preparing snacks and meals ahead of time so that you don’t have to eat out that much on the road. This reduces your trip’s footprint, but it also saves you a pretty penny. A green picnic in a park with organic food and reusable utensils will be far more enjoyable for your family than a fast-food stop over.
8. Don’t Litter!
This is a pretty obvious one – but you should never litter, not even food items, as this can attract animals who may ingest things they shouldn’t. In fact, if you’re going on a holiday, do your best to try and pick up any litter you might see, especially in national parks or on beaches.
Fun Fact: Probably one of the most memorable cases of littering in Australia would have to be in 1979 when debris from NASA’s space station, Skylab, fell into the small town of Esperance, WA. NASA was fined $400 by a park service official.
9. Offset your carbon footprint
If you’re still concerned about the environmental impact your road-trip might have, you can literally offset it! Just enter your car’s make and model and the distance you’ll be travelling into this online calculator and it will calculate the carbon emissions you’ll produce and convert it into dollars. From there, it will give you options to donate this amount of money to different global environmental projects, from reforestation in Kenya to tree planting in the UK.
Emily Leary is a health and lifestyle writer from Sydney. She has a passion for books, journalism and animals. She’s interested in renewable energy and slow-fashion.
So tell us in the comments – what are your tips for eco-friendly road trips, or where’s your favourite place to go?