With climate change being a major concern, many people are looking for ways they can live in a more eco-friendly manner. If you are thinking about taking a road trip, but want to minimize your environmental impact, California is a great destination. Here are five ways you can make your California road trip more eco-friendly.

1. Choose Eco-friendly Lodging

From out of control energy usage, to wasting water and overuse of single-use items, such as shampoo bottles, many hotels and other lodging have a negative impact on the environment. Choosing a place to stay with a focus on green practices can dramatically reduce the environmental impact of your road trip.

One way you can ensure your lodging is eco-friendly is to look for a Green Building Council LEED-certified hotel. However, these choices are fairly limited, so you can also look for hotels that advertise green practices such as using solar panels and a solar panel battery for sustainable power, encouraging guests to turn up the thermostat on their air conditioning and not run it when they are not in the room, encouraging guests not to have towels and sheets laundered every day, providing recycling bins and utilizing recycled materials and not offering single-use products, such as plastic shampoo bottles.

2. Drive an Electric Vehicle

Driving a gas-powered vehicle on a road trip is one of the worst things you can do for the environment. Pollution from cars is one of the primary causes of global warming. Gas-powered vehicles produce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that trap heat in the atmosphere and cause temperatures to rise. Pollutants from cars also contaminate the air, water and soil and have been shown to have a negative impact on human health.

Electric vehicles are not completely free of negative environmental impact but do offer significant benefits. If you do a lot of driving, purchasing an electric vehicle could be one of the best things you can do to help the environment.

If purchasing an electric vehicle before your road trip is not feasible, consider renting one or road tripping with a friend who owns one. If you must drive a gas-powered vehicle, choose the most fuel-efficient you can find and pack light to reduce fuel usage.

3. Choose Eco-Friendly Food

Fast food restaurants and gas-station snacks use a lot of single-use packaging that goes right in landfills. Fast food restaurants also tend to waste a lot of food, because they make many items ahead of time and then throw them out when they sit for too long.

Consider packing your own food to take with you. You can also look for more eco-friendly options on the road, such as roadside fruit and vegetable stands, farmer's markets and sit-down restaurants that have made a commitment to sustainable practices.

4. Take Some Friends

Combining your vacation with some friends has many benefits. You can travel together, so the pollution from taking multiple cars is eliminated. You can book rooms together, reducing the impact of your lodging choices. You can share meals, which makes it easier to avoid wasting food.

5. Do Not Drive Once You Get There

Once you reach your destination, one of the best things you can do is avoid driving your car as much as possible. Try to choose lodging that's located in an area where you can walk to restaurants and attractions. Take public transportation when walking is not an option. Look for options such as bicycle or scooter rentals. If you are planning on spending a lot of your time at one major attraction, consider choosing a place to stay that is located near that attraction so that your need to travel will be reduced.

California is a great choice for environmentally-minded travelers. You can make it even better by taking these five steps to make your California road trip more eco-friendly. You can have a great time while supporting eco-friendly businesses and helping the planet.

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