10 Sustainable tips to help you save money on your next road trip

Discover 10 sustainable tips to save money on your next road trip! Learn how recycling can not only reduce your environmental impact but also stretch your vacation budget. Follow these easy and practical ideas to recycle on the go and keep your wallet happy. Read on for 10 great tips on how to make your next road trip eco-friendly and budget-friendly!

1. Starbucks
Bring your own cup to Starbucks to save .10. If a family of four goes to Starbucks twice on vacation, that’s .80 cents – about 1/3 a gallon of gas.

2. Restaurant refills
BYOC into a restaurant to get a drink to take out with you. This saves money over buying a soda or bottled water from vending or a convenience store. Depending on the store, bottled or canned drinks can cost you anywhere from $1.50 – $3.00 per person. Two people have the potential of saving the equivalent of two gallons of gas. A family of our has the potential of saving the equivalent of 4 gallons of gas.

3. Gas station refills
Some truck stops and gas stations allow you to get free ice or water with your own reusable cup. If you don’t like water, bring flavoring to add. Using reusable cups twice can save a family of four the equivalent of 8 gallons of gas! Who wouldn’t take free gas?

4. Single use plastic bags
Some states charge a fee on single use plastic bags. This seems to range anywhere from .05-.10. My last trip to the store yielded 8 plastic bags. That’s a potential of .80 cents. If I go to a store twice on vacation with a reusable bag, that save the equivalent of a half-gallon of gas.

Stores like Aldi only offer plastic bags for sale. You can use a box if available or BYO. Buying a reusable bag is $.99.

5. If you must get a plastic bag, reuse it.
Note: I’ll get plastic bags for my dog if I’m in a store that offers them for free. I use them for groceries, dirty or wet clothes and as poop bags. 100 dog poop bags at Dollar Tree costs me $1.25 plus tax. He usually needs two or three a day. I’ll be gone over a month this summer. Saving $1.25 is just over 1/3 gallon of gas. But, the rolls are small so I usually lose them. Friends also help me save bags.

6. Use plastic bags for trash bags
Trash bags for my wastebasket cost $1.25 for 25 bags. Free ones cost zero. Saving this plus dog bags is a ½ gallon of gas.

7. Reusable containers
Instead of using store containers or zip bags, I use reusable containers for leftovers. It’s easy to tuck a small flat one into my purse if I’m going to a restaurant (or make a trip out to the car).  Some restaurants have charge between .25 and .50 for a takeout container. So, I save money and help the environment.

8 Napkins
If a fast-food restaurant gives you a handful of napkins, use them. Create a space in your car to store them safely. You’ll use fewer paper towels.

9. Towels
Bring a large beach towel and a couple of washcloths. Use the beach towel to wipe up spills instead of paper towels. Spread it out to dry or wash it with your other clothes in the laundry. Washcloths can be moistened with water and used to wipe off faces or hands. Follow with sanitizer if needed. Recycled towels can keep you from buying paper and saves a couple of bucks.

10. Reusable plates and flatware
Reusing plastic plates and flatware help you save money. No need to buy plastic utensils or paper plates. Plus, you’ll appreciate it the next time you order takeout and the delivery driver forgot to pick up forks.

Don’t be put off by small savings. I’ve tried to demonstrate how the small changes can make an impact. Don’t think of it as “only saving a dime”. Put it in terms of gas or meals.  For example, I stopped at gas stations an average of twice a day coming home to Virginia from New Mexico. Not buying soda saved me about $4.00 per day – or about $16 over the four-day trip home. That alone works out to almost five gallons of gas! I’ll take five gallons of gas any day of the week. How about you?


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