As travel by RV grows in popularity, especially in the face of a global pandemic where keeping your distance from others is advisable, the question is often posed as to exactly how environmentally conscious it is to travel the country via this mode.
A staple in many of our holiday plans, packing up the kids and some essentials, and loading everyone into the RV and seeing what happens is always going to be an appealing prospect. No fighting your way through the airport with tired kids. No need to find a suitable rest stop for bathroom breaks and no packing and unpacking as you move from destination to destination. An RV is a home away from home and a perfect way to see the world depending on where you are traveling.
Being able to maintain your eco-credentials when RVing within the US or abroad isn’t impossible. At first glance, RV travel may not appear to be sustainable; however, there are ways you can look to offset your carbon footprint when traveling via this mode.
Split Your Travels
Especially when traveling abroad, why not consider splitting your vacation time between a fixed base and RV travel around the country. We recently interviewed our friend Michelle of BenandMichelle.com about RV travel in Australia. See the video below.
You can rent vacation homes anywhere in the world to enjoy a more authentic visit–just look at these houses for rent in Kota Kinabalu. This method of travel can help you to reduce your carbon footprint and explore the area like a local. Spending money that is put back into the local economy, walking as much as possible and using local businesses are all legitimate ways you can reduce your carbon footprint and put back into the economy at a grassroots level.
Avoid Disposable Items
Another great thing about traveling by RV is that you can take all your own gear with you. Just having your own dinnerware and cutlery will save you money and save the environment by reducing the need to buy disposable items. Try to opt for more eco-friendly and sustainable items to reuse throughout your journey and avoid buying products you will need to replace.
When purchasing an RV consider the appliances that will make your life easier on long or frequent RV trips. For instance, a super compact portable washing machine can help you to save water and on costs of doing your laundry as you won’t need to visit laundromats on your travels.
Of course we always try to use cleaning supplies that are kinder to the environment to reduce the damage done from chemicals entering the ground or local water systems. Biodegradeable and plant-based cleaners are always better when boondocking as you don’t want to release harmful chemicals with your gray water. We always try to be aware that our actions have a direct impact on the world around us and remember to help preserve the land we are visiting.
RV Power Sources
One step further to reduce your carbon footprint is to convert your RV to more sustainable energy sources when parked and employ other tips for reducing emissions and saving on fuel efficiency when driving.
Our power upgrade included swapping our lead-acid house batteries to lithium and installing solar panels. When stationary, we consider it to be the epitome of sustainability.
When on the road, there is no denying that at around 8 miles per gallon RV’s are less than friendly to the environment. And with more than 1 in 12 households in the US owning an RV, that is a lot of RV’s on the road. So one thing we do is to play our part is reduce the total miles by taking longer duration trips so we can stay in one place longer, or take shorter trips closer to home.
Another tip for improving fuel efficiency and overall performance is preventative maintenance Before heading out on a long journey, make sure you have given your RV a fine-tuning. Making sure your lights are working correctly, tires are properly inflated – this can save you up to 20% on fuel efficiency, and your engine is working as it should do along with all the other components will help you to save on fuel bills and lessen the impact your RV will have on the environment.
Finally, pay close attention to how you drive too. Slow your acceleration and take your time as you drive keeping to speed limits to reduce emissions and maximize your fuel consumption. Avoid sudden braking and reduce your speed gradually.
A Final Note
As you can see traveling sustainably by RV isn’t impossible. It can take some effort and planning to change how you are used to traveling, but it is worth the rewards. Obviously any type of travel leaves a carbon footprint, but we see RV travel when done right, as a better alternative to flying. Just employing the subtle changes we mentioned her will help towards reducing your impact on the world around you.