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Wiser Living

Finding a natural solution

Green Travel: Eco-Friendly Road Trip

by Samantha Schwartz

Tags: eco-friendly road trip, green travel, green road trip, eco-friendly rental cars, hybrid cars, Enterprise hybrids, organic snacks,, Late June, energy-efficient hotels, green hotels, eco-friendly hotels,

Before I head off to college this summer, my family is taking a road trip to Iowa and the twin cities. We’re no strangers to road trips; we’ve done two cross-country trips as a family. This time, however, we want to make our trip more eco-friendly.

Eco-friendly rental cars

My dad just bought a hybrid car, so even though it’s a little small, we’ll take that car to get great gas mileage and reduce our carbon emissions.

Honda Insight
My favorite part of our Honda Insight is the green leaf that lights up next to the fuel gauge when you are driving efficiently.  Photo By Honda News/Courtesy Flickr

If you don’t own a hybrid vehicle, consider renting one for your trip. You’ll get better gas mileage and reduce your carbon emissions.

Major rental cars now offer hybrids in select locations. Enterprise Rent-A-Car is in the lead for the most hybrid vehicles available, followed by Hertz and Budget.

If the rental car location does not offer hybrids, rent the smallest car possible. Make sure to request hybrids so the company knows you’re interested!

Once you reach your destination, bike, walk, or take public transportation around town to minimize your carbon footprint.

Organic snacks to go

No road trip would be complete without delicious snacks. Granola trail mix is a great way to go. Now I can take my granola to go with MixMyGranola. I’m drooling just looking at the photos of natural ingredients on the website.

A 16-ounce can of organic granola cost $5, and each of the 45 mix-ins, such as nuts, fruit, cereal, candy and chocolate, costs $1–$2. MixMyGranola also offers a free nutrition calculator to check your mix as you go. If you fall in love with the mix you create, you can save the mix ID to order your perfect concoction again and again.

Not feeling creative? MixMyGranola has 20 pre-mixes such as Energy Booster and Healthy Heart mix that run from $7–$11. Photo Courtesy MixMyGranola.

MixMyGranola uses USDA organic ingredients. The stylish granola containers are fully recyclable, and the label is printed with soy-based ink.
Need another no-fuss snack for the road? Late July also carries the USDA organic seal and specializes in organic cookies and crackers. Late July is a small, family-owned business in Barnstable, Massachusetts.

Late July’s 21 count Cookie and Cracker Sampler is the best road trip option. The sampler includes dark chocolate sandwich cookies, peanut butter sandwich crackers and mini cheddar cheese sandwich crackers. It has a unit price of less than $1 per serving at $19.

Energy-efficient hotels

Unfortunately, eco-hotels just recently hit mainstream appeal, so finding one may be a challenge. Flexibility about location may be necessary.  The Environmental Protection Agency suggests choosing an Energy Star-labeled hotel.

Cairo Marriot
Want a truly green getaway? The Cairo Marriot hotel is an eco-friendly and beautiful place to stay. Photo By Mussad Hussein/Courtesy Flickr. 

Energy Star-labeled use at least 35 percent less energy and emit at least 35 percent less greenhouse gas emissions than their competitors.

The EPA also suggests you do the following once you’re in your room:

• Turn off the lights and TV when leaving the hotel room.

• Adjust the thermostat to an energy-saving setting so it doesn’t heat or cool the room while empty.

• Unplug electronics such as cell phones chargers and laptops when not in use.Open curtains to take advantage of daylight when possible.

• Reuse linens to save both water and energy.