Sustainable Travel Maintenance Tips for Every Budget
by Jennifer Chonillo
We all love to travel and explore new places. However, this often comes at a cost to our environment. What if we could satisfy our wanderlust with a significantly lower impact on the planet? That’s what sustainable travel is all about. The best part is it’s more attainable and affordable than you might think.
This article will explore different ways to travel sustainably, whether on a tight budget or with extra cash.
What Is Sustainable Travel?
Sustainable travel is traveling in ways that minimize negative effects on the environment, society, and the economy. It involves making decisions to reduce your carbon footprint, support local communities, and conserve natural resources for future generations.
Most people often use the term sustainable travel interchangeably with eco-tourism. But unlike eco-tourism, sustainable travel takes a more holistic approach to travel and tourism, taking into account the environmental, social, and economic impact of tourism.
Why Is It Important to Maintain Sustainable Travel Options?
The primary reason for practicing sustainable travel is to preserve the environment. When we travel, we often leave a large carbon footprint through transportation. By choosing sustainable transport options, we can significantly reduce this impact.
Benefits of Maintaining Sustainable Travel Options
Climate change is a growing concern, and it’s essential to do our part in mitigating its effects. By adopting sustainable travel practices, we can contribute to reducing carbon emissions. This can avert the negative impacts of climate change, such as rising sea levels and extreme weather conditions.
How to Save Money on Sustainable Travel
When we talk about sustainable travel, expensive electric vehicles come to mind. While this is an option, there are other ways to decrease your carbon footprint while traveling without breaking the bank. These include the following:
- Walking to nearby destinations
- Cycling if the distance is manageable
- Using public transportation whenever possible
- Carpooling with other travelers
Walking is a simple, cost-effective, and eco-friendly mode of transportation. It reduces the carbon footprint to almost zero.
How to Choose the Right Walking Shoes and Maintain Them
Choose shoes with a firm heel, good arch support, and thick, flexible soles to cushion your feet. Try on shoes in the afternoon and in hot weather. Your feet are at their largest during this time.
To prolong the life span of your walking shoes, clean them regularly and keep them dry. Replace your shoes when the sole breaks down or the shoe feels uncomfortable or less supportive.
Tips for Walking Safely and Efficiently
For efficient walking, always maintain a brisk pace. Swing your arms naturally with a slight bend in your elbows. This helps to keep your balance and expend less energy. Also, keep your back straight to avoid back strain, which can limit your walking distance.
For safety, be mindful of your surroundings, especially when walking in traffic-prone areas or low-light conditions. You should also follow pedestrian signals and use crosswalks. Additionally, opt for breathable, lightweight attire suitable for the weather.
E-bikes are an excellent, sustainable solution to city commuting. They combine physical exertion with the ease of motorized assistance, offering a healthier, greener alternative to conventional motor vehicles.
The carbon footprint of manufacturing an e-bike falls between 134 and 165 kg of carbon dioxide. This is way less than the 5.5 tons of carbon dioxide produced while manufacturing a small hatchback. In operation, an e-bike has an emission of 0.021 to 0.025 kg of carbon dioxide per kilometer.
How to Choose and Maintain an E-bike
When choosing an e-bike, consider your commute needs. For longer distances, opt for a model with a higher battery capacity. Also, ensure the bike has robust brakes and gears suitable for your terrain.
Regularly inspect the brake system, tire pressure, and the battery. Additionally, ensure your e-bike is clean and dry after usage.
Tips for Riding Your E-bike Safely and Efficiently
Always wear a helmet and use designated cycling paths. Also, maintain a speed that allows you to react quickly to sudden changes. For efficient riding, use the pedal assist system wisely. This will save battery life for uphill rides or longer commutes.
Bikes are a superb green solution for city travel. They have low emissions of between 0.023 and 0.025 kg per kilometer and a manufacturing footprint of about 100 kg.
How to Choose and Maintain a Bike
Consider your commute distance and route when choosing a bike. For longer distances or hilly terrains, consider getting a geared bike. For shorter urban commutes, a single-speed bike may suffice.
To maintain your bike, regularly check tire pressure, brake pads, and chain lubrication. Keep the bike clean and dry to avoid rusting.
Tips for Riding Your Bike Safely and Efficiently
Always wear a helmet and follow traffic rules. Utilize hand signals to indicate turns. For efficient cycling, maintain a steady pace and use gears effectively to conserve energy.
Electric Vehicles (EVs)
Electric vehicles are reshaping the transport industry. These vehicles have zero tailpipe emissions, making them a sustainable and clean alternative to traditional gasoline-powered cars.
EVs are also cheaper to run in the long term. The average cost per mile for an EV is 60 cents. This is more cost-effective than gas-powered vehicles, whose average ranges from 55 to 86 cents, depending on the car type.
How to Choose the Right EV and Maintain It
Selecting an EV depends on your specific requirements. Consider the vehicle’s range, charging time, and cost. A small EV with a shorter range might be ideal for city trips. For longer commutes, you might want an EV with a longer range.
EVs have fewer parts than gasoline-powered cars, so they require less maintenance. However, it’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule.
Remember to keep tires at the correct pressure and regularly inspect other parts, such as the brake system. The batteries are their most crucial aspect, and taking good care of them is essential for the vehicle’s longevity.
How to Extend the Life Span of Your EV Battery
EV batteries are estimated to last from 10 to 16 years. However, the battery’s life span is affected by external factors, such as:
- Exposure to extreme temperatures
- Charging when the vehicle is running
- High charge rates
- High frequency of charge and discharge cycle
It’s essential to keep your EV in a garage or covered parking spot. In addition, only charge after the car has cooled and avoid using fast-charging stations. Fully charging and depleting the battery is also not recommended. Always keep the charge level between 20% and 80% for a healthy battery life.
Tips for Efficient EV Driving
Maximize your EV’s efficiency with smart driving. Gentle acceleration, steady speeds, and regenerative braking can significantly extend your range. Additionally, plan your route wisely to avoid heavy traffic or steep hills, which can drain the battery faster.
Other Sustainable Travel Options
Apart from the options mentioned above, there are other sustainable ways to commute within urban environments. These include:
- Public Transportation – Utilizing trains, buses, or trams is eco-friendly. These transport services carry many people at once, slashing the per-person emissions compared to individual car travel.
- Carpooling – Sharing your ride with others going in the same direction reduces the number of cars on the road. This translates to less traffic congestion and lower pollution levels.
- Ridesharing – Services such as Uber and Lyft offer the convenience of private transport with the sustainability of public transit. By sharing your ride with others, you contribute to reducing carbon emissions.
- Hitchhiking – Although not ideal, hitchhiking can be a cost-effective and sustainable travel method. Utilizing spare capacity in vehicles already on the road reduces environmental impact.
- Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles – Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are an emerging sustainable transportation option. They use a chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen to power the car, emitting only water vapor as a byproduct.
- However, these vehicles are still in their early stages and are not widely available. The lack of infrastructure for refueling and the high cost of production are major obstacles to their widespread adoption.
- Japan and China are China are leading the way in hydrogen fuel cell technology. Japan intends to have 200,000 hydrogen cars and 300 hydrogen refueling stations by 2025. China aims to have 50,000 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles on its roads by 2025.
The Bottom Line
Embracing sustainable travel is a powerful move towards a greener future. By adopting eco-friendly modes of transportation, we can reduce our carbon footprint and preserve the environment for generations to come. The next time you plan a trip, remember these tips and make a conscious effort towards protecting the environment.