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Introduction to Sustainable RV Travel: How To Make Your Trip More Eco-Friendly
Table of Contents
RV travel offers an amazing opportunity to enjoy nature while reducing your carbon footprint for the green-minded traveler. With a little planning and some adjustments to your lifestyle on the road, you can positively impact the environment by being eco-friendly in your RV. Here are 17 of our favorite tips for sustainable RV travel.
What Is Leave No Trace?
Whether in the wilderness or your favorite state park, it’s good to know and follow Leave No Trace principles. This is a set of standards that outdoor enthusiasts can use on any adventure, from day hikes to weeklong camping trips. The seven LNT guidelines are:
1. Plan and Prepare
– Do some research before heading out to know what to expect and how best to be prepared.
2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
– Be aware of your surroundings at all times, especially in areas that may have a more fragile ecosystem like wetlands or alpine tundra. Stay on designated trails whenever possible. This will minimize impact from human activity as well as trampling of plants.
3. Dispose of Waste Properly
– Leave zero waste. Pack out everything you bring with you and dispose of waste at designated dump stations or trash cans at all times. If they aren’t available, properly bury human waste in a hole six inches deep 200 feet from any water source and away from the campsite.
4. Leave What You Find
– Respect the natural state of things you come across in nature. Everything has its place, so leave rocks, plants, and historical artifacts just as you found them.
5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
– Campfires can cause lasting impacts to an area if they aren’t done properly or within designated areas. If fires are allowed in your location, use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern or headlamp around the campsite instead of straining your eyes with an open fire.
6. Be Considerate of Other Visitors
– Be aware that everyone else wants to experience nature in their own way as well. Keep noise levels down so you don’t disturb other campers and never approach wildlife.
7. Respect Farm Animals and Wildlife
– Do not feed any animals you encounter, whether pets or wild creatures. They should be able to forage their own food in the woods without people interfering with them. If you bring dogs along on your trip, keep them leashed at all times, so other campers aren’t afraid or intimidated by them.
What Is Eco-Tourism and How Does RVing Fit In?
Eco-tourism is a type of travel that minimizes the impact on our environment. It focuses on sustainable practices, long-term economic benefits for local communities, and an overall positive experience for all travelers involved. RVing fits into eco-tourism because you can camp in designated areas while still enjoying conveniences like running water and electricity at your campsite. When you’re out exploring the great outdoors, follow LNT principles to keep your impact on all-natural areas as light as possible.
How Can I RV Travel In a More Sustainable Way/Reduce Your Carbon Footprint?
There are many ways to be environmentally conscious on an RV trip. A few simple changes can have a big impact, so it’s worth thinking about your consumption habits and making some adjustments before you head out on the road.
Each conservation tip is an important part of reducing your footprint while traveling, no matter how big or small.
17 Tips For Sustainable RV Travel/ RV Camping
There are many ways to travel in a green way to help protect the natural environment. Here is a list of 17 of our favorite tips for sustainable RV travel.
1. Shop Local:
Supporting local businesses keeps money within your community, which is better for the environment than buying products that have been shipped in from across the country or even overseas.
2. Reduce Waste:
Take reusable bags with you on shopping trips so you won’t be tempted to buy disposable plastic ones. Reduce waste by recycling as much as possible and compost if you are able.
3. Use Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products:
Your RV gets dirty when you’re on the road, so make sure to use all-natural cleaning products that won’t pollute our waterways or disrupt delicate ecosystems in any way. You can even make your own!
4. Find The Nearest Forest To Gather Firewood:
Chopping down trees for firewood is not sustainable or eco-friendly, so do your research to find out if the forest you’re in has an adequate supply of downed branches and twigs. If it doesn’t, purchase wood from a local source instead. Using local firewood is very important to reduce the spread of invasive insects and diseases to pristine areas.
5. Trade-In The Non-Reusable Plastic:
Stop using non-reusable plastic. If you can’t use something multiple times, then don’t bring it along on your trip. Opt for cloth napkins instead of disposables and swap out all the plastic silverware in your kitchen with reusable metal ones.
Plastics are bad for the environment. They take hundreds of years to biodegrade and often end up in the ocean.
6. Use Solar Power:
If you’re lucky enough to be able to park your RV somewhere with access to a sunny spot, use solar panels for all of your electrical needs. It’s better for the environment than using electricity from a power plant and will also save you money over time.
Make sure you’re recycling any waste that’s created when you’re on the road. If there are no facilities nearby, ensure anything recyclable ends up in the right place once your trip is finished.
This helps the environment by reducing the amount of waste in landfills and saves you money.
Whenever possible, reuse things in new and creative ways. For example, old plastic water bottles make great plant pots when you’re on the road.
This reduces waste by reusing items that would otherwise end up in a landfill or an incinerator and saves money since you won’t need to purchase as many supplies for your trip.
9. Do Your Maintenance:
Regularly maintaining your RV will not only save you money and possible headaches, but it will also protect the environment by preventing any problems before they happen. Leaks and spills are never good for the environment, so be sure to stay on top of your RV maintenance.
With a properly running vehicle, you will also get better gas mileage and consume less fuel!
10. Reduce Energy Consumption:
Don’t let your RV run when you’re not using it, even if you plan to be in that spot for a while. The energy consumed can add up quickly and make an impact on our natural resources over time. Anytime possible, use renewable energy sources like solar and wind power.
11. Use Less Fuel:
Stay in one location longer. Stay off the roads for longer periods of time. This will help you to increase fuel economy. Using less fuel is better for the environment because it reduces pollutants in the air.
12. Conserve Water:
Conserving water is a great way to be more eco-friendly when you are on the road. Using a low-flow showerhead is a great way to conserve water! You can also use a collapsible water basin in your kitchen sink when washing dishes to save even more water. Water conservation is an important factor in sustainable travel because it reduces pollution and saves money in the long term.
13. Choose Energy Efficient Appliances/ Use Less Power:
Choosing appliances with higher energy efficiency for your RV can help reduce the amount of energy you use and save you money. It can also reduce your impact on the environment by reducing greenhouse gas and producing less carbon dioxide emissions.
14. Use Natural Resources like shade:
One great and free way to reduce your carbon footprint is to park your RV in the shade. If you can do this when you reach your destination, you will reduce your energy consumption.
If you properly insulate your recreational vehicle, you will be able to regulate your internal temperature, reducing air conditioning and heating appliances. Keet your heat inside in winter and keep it cool during hot summers!
16. Ditch The Disposable:
Purchase reusable water bottles, camp-friendly dinnerware, and cutlery. Ditch the disposable items and plastic products in your camper and use only environmentally friendly and reusable items! This will reduce the amount of waste headed to our already full landfills and plastics that inevitably end up in our oceans.
17. Upgrade To LED:
Replace your current lightbulbs with LED lightbulbs. These bulbs use less energy and will help reduce your carbon footprint!
Other Sustainable RV Camping Resources To Check Out
Some many great organizations and websites can help you learn more about sustainability and RV travel. Here is a shortlist:
The Green Living Guy is a website that provides information on healthy, green living. This site has a section devoted to sustainable RV travel with tips and tricks for reducing your carbon footprint on our planet while camping!
Camp Addict is a website dedicated to all things camping. This site contains a section about sustainable RV travel with tips and tricks for reducing your carbon footprint while camping!
Wilderness Awareness School is a nonprofit organization that provides outdoor experiences for individuals and groups.
Conclusion to Sustainable RV Travel: How To Make Your Trip More Eco-Friendly
As we’ve seen, there are many ways to make your RV travels more eco-friendly and reduce your environmental impact. Whether you start with the little things like recycling and conserving water or go all-in by purchasing a solar panel system for your rig, this article is here to help! We hope that these tips will inspire you to take on sustainable living and travel responsibly while enjoying an unforgettable trip of a lifetime.
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