I am about to embark on an east coast odyssey, of sorts. I am taking my 2 and 4 year old girls from northern New England to the greater Washington D.C. area. By myself.
Yep, 10-12 hours on the road with two energetic, vocal, independent minded and sometimes surly (and whiny) little people strapped in. Wish me luck.
It really can’t be worse than the time my youngest decided to go on a 20 hour nursing strike while on this very same drive (any nursing mother can imagine the suffering–), can it?
In any case, I am packing today and thinking about how to green up road trips. Here are some of the ideas I came up with that might be helpful if you too are taking a road trip this summer, and want to be a little more green than in your younger (and more wasteful) days.
1. Pack food. Eating fast food on the road is bad for the environment, and for you and your kids. BUT- and this is a big but, I buy snacks I would never normally buy for long car rides. The kids feel like they are having a treat, and it is a good thing to keep them relatively quiet and happy. For meals, I’ve packed bagels and sandwiches and I have a boatload of snacks for in-between.
2. Bring small bowls for their snacks. We have two aluminum bowls that are light enough for them, and I can easily refill them from the snack mothership, the passenger seat.
3. Bring water bottles (so you don’t have to buy any juice boxes, bottled water or other disposable drink cups). We use Sigg bottles, which fit nicely beside the seat or in a cup holder.
4. Bring your reusable coffee cup. Then you won’t have to get a disposable cup to conquer the afternoon–both kids are sleeping–bout with the sleepies.
5. Bring some disposable wipes. I know, then you have to throw them out, but at least you won’t use lots of paper napkins, many of which come from virgin old growth forests. With wipes, you can use one or two and get clean hands after visiting crowded rest areas (yuck!) or clean up after a messy snack.
6. Drive a bit slower. This saves gas (and harmful emissions). I am MUCH better at writing this than actually doing it.
7. Take the smaller, more efficient car (bring less!) and take off any roof rack if you don’t need it. This will improve your gas efficiency.
8. Try to avoid rush hours. This is a good life goal, in my view, but of course you will save lots of gas and frustration by doing so.
Readers, what are your tips for greener road trips? Please post them here. Happy trails!
[This post was written by Katy Farber]
If you don’t have a GPS be sure to take along a road map hopefully a current one. You will waste less gas if you do not get lost! Also EZ Pass is green, you use less gas by not stopping and starting at toll booths. Safe travels over the holiday.
Update your GPS before leaving. Also double check it against other mapsites. Double check with locals also, so you don’t end up going down a road that no longer exists.
Leanne R says
Insteaad of wipes, bring a stack of baby washcloths & a thermos full of warm water to dampen them with.
Tara Benwell says
Just came across this list of 100 things to do. Some can be done in the car with kids. http://specialchildren.about.com/od/behaviorstrategies/a/timewasters.htm
Also bring some music that kids like and books and games lots of them