During the pandemic, short trips, camping, and van trips have become more popular than ever. And as more and more individuals are discovering this way to travel, they also become more interested in making their journey as sustainable as possible. Let’s talk about a few ideas that will green up your travel game.
MY (RENTED) VAN IS MY CASTLE
Outdoor trips and camping are the easiest way to escape your busy routine in a crowded city, at least for a weekend or a couple days.
Those who don’t own a camper van benefit from the growing amount of rental companies specializing in wheel estate. Van life is the new cool life. Your van is your castle. Moving, comfy, tiny castle.
With the awareness for earth-friendly living on the rise, we want to address 5 simple ways to turn your motor castle experience into a more sustainable one.
1. LESS GAS, LESS STRESS
Question: How green is travel if it relies on a combustion engine, read, on mineral oil?
Obviously, there is no real alternative yet when it comes to filling up your van. But what earth-conscious, seasoned vanlifers will do — and what you can learn from them — is strategizing the route. Before heading out the door or the garage take some time to lay out your travel route. There are options to make your van trip more efficient and conserve gas.
By simply adding some planning to the mix, you can discover the filling stations in advance which helps to reduce stress (and extra miles); you can plan driving times to avoid traffic jams and thus to maintain a steady speed. Check the tires before you set off, and pack light. These things do add up, a lot.
2. LOW WASTE IS THE WAY TO GO
Less load, less rubbish, less unwanted extra-driving.
When you resort to zero waste or low waste products, you can dramatically reduce the weight of your van and the time spent looking for a waste disposal site. But what exactly are zero waste products for a road trip in a camper van?
Well, it can include anything reusable — from wax wraps and sponges to replace your cling wrap and paper towels — as well as anything with less or no packaging: food bought in bulk rather than prepackaged salads, for instance.
3. CHOOSE PLASTIC-FREE
In the same vein: plastic-free is good for the planet and good for you.
When we said “reusable”, chances are, you thought about single-use plastics. Aren’t those lightweight though? Making them ideal for a day trip? Ok, ok, we can’t trick you here. You know your sustainable essentials.
But what about jars? Glass is durable and reusable, sure, but it’s also heavy and can break. So what is the savvy traveller’s best bet?
Stainless steel is really the best option here. There’s a lot of chic reusable stainless-steel utensils, kitchenware, straws, cutlery, you name it, and it comes in (almost) all shapes and colours for you to pick from. If you prefer the warm aesthetics and durability of wood, check out bamboo and cork alternatives.
4. CHOOSE SOLID AND MULTI-USE
Whether you’re washing your face or doing laundry: choose organic, plastic free and multi-use detergents and skincare.
In the last years we’ve seen a wave of solid, water-free multi-use products both in the skincare and in the cleanser departments. Try waterless, solid formulas: powders that function as shower foam and shaving powder or toothpaste in tablets or… The possibilities are nearly endless, but they all help save you some space and reduce the vehicle’s overall weight, as well as the amount of waste.
5. KEEP THE BEACH TIDY
The great outdoors is not ours to litter.
In the same vein: some smaller vans may not have a toilet on board. In which case you’re either bound to using the camping site’s restrooms (no bueno in the current situation) or you can get yourself a comfy, sustainable, easy-maintenance dry toilet , for example a sturdy and fun one that’s made of solid cardboard and can be reused for your later trips. Or you can invest in a more durable piece if you call a camper van your own.
Photo by Kai Gradert on Unsplash.