When it comes to vacation planning, sustainability is becoming an increasingly important issue. Many travel enthusiasts want to spend their vacations in harmony with nature and pay attention to their ecological footprint when traveling. Compared to the classic package vacation or many short trips by plane, traveling by motorhome can be much more environmentally friendly. Below you can read what you can consider when traveling sustainably with a motorhome.
How do I find an environmentally friendly motorhome?
When choosing a suitable camping vehicle for a relaxing and sustainable vacation, you can look at various criteria:
- Before you rent or buy a motorhome, you should find out exactly about the fuel consumption of the model. Modern motorhomes are usually more economical than older ones. How modern rental motorhomes are depends mainly on the rental company and the destination. In Germany, for example, the models of the major rental companies MCRent and roadsurfer are no more than two years old.
- Choose the size of the motorhome according to the number of people traveling with you. Smaller camping vehicles, such as relatively compact campervans, generally have lower fuel consumption than large motorhome models.
- Bicycles or luggage boxes on the roof of the motorhome increase air resistance, which increases fuel consumption. Therefore, you should avoid models with high superstructures if possible.
- If you do without certain additional equipment in the motor home, you can also travel in a more resource-efficient way (e.g. integrated shower in the motor home). If you also use certain comfort equipment only very sporadically or not at all (e.g. steering wheel or seat heating), you can save additional energy.
- If you want to invest in sustainability in the long term, solar panels are an environmentally friendly way to supply energy. If you would like to rent a motorhome with a solar system, you will find information on such features in the detailed view of the respective motorhome type.
Motorhomes with electric or hybrid drive are often seen as trend-setting when it comes to environmentally friendly caravanning vacations. Even though the range of such models is currently still limited, it is worth keeping your eyes open for electric motorhomes.
How do I drive a motorhome in a fuel-efficient way?
Once you have selected the ideal motorhome model for your vacation, you can of course also pay attention to environmental friendliness during planning and driving. A key criterion for sustainable travel is the lowest possible fuel consumption, which is not only crucial for environmental protection, but also reduces fuel costs.
This is how you save fuel by loading cleverly
Lower weight during the journey reduces fuel consumption. When packing, you should therefore make sure that the vehicle is only loaded as heavily as necessary. Pay attention to the following basic points:
- The fresh water tank should only be minimally filled. As soon as you arrive at the campsite, you can fill it up without worrying.
- Empty the waste water tank before you go home to avoid carrying unnecessary weight around with you.
If you travel light, you automatically reduce your consumption. Therefore, encourage your fellow travelers to pack as sparingly as possible. Many campsites allow you to wash dirty laundry, towels or dishtowels, so you can already save some weight at this point.
In view of the fuel costs, you should also pack provisions only moderately: Enough to be on the safe side in case of delays due to traffic jams or detours, but not so much that you could supply yourself for the entire trip. Sustainability bonus: If you always replenish your supplies at the next stop, you not only save weight on the trip, but also support local merchants.
Depending on the destination, it can also be much more economical financially to stock up in an inexpensive supermarket or - if you're starting your trip in Germany - even to take provisions from home.
💁♂️Tip: Short trips without a camper
Would you like to explore the area around your destination in comfort? For short distances you should leave the camper behind and use public transport - or go on a bike tour.
How to save fuel by driving with foresight
In addition to vehicle type and weight, driving behavior also plays an important role in saving fuel. Even small adjustments to your driving style can make a big contribution to conserving resources and traveling more sustainably:
- Drive with foresight and avoid unnecessary acceleration and jerky braking, e.g. when approaching a town sign, a traffic light or a traffic jam.
- Accelerate quickly and then keep your cruising speed as constant as possible.
- Avoid unnecessary overtaking maneuvers.
- Shift up in good time and avoid driving at high speeds.
- Drive with optimum tire pressure to ensure low rolling resistance during the journey.
😎Optimum cruising speed
Depending on the vehicle model, the optimum cruising speed for a motorhome is 80 to 90 km/h. A steady speed reduces fuel consumption while providing a more relaxed driving experience.
Electrical appliances in the vehicle: Where can you save?
Air conditioning and auxiliary heating are considered real fuel guzzlers. Of course, you shouldn't do without them entirely, because a healthy climate in the passenger compartment is important for the driver and all passengers. However, if temperatures permit, you should do without air conditioning or heating if possible. At low speeds, e.g. in city traffic, open windows or sunroofs can provide a pleasant air flow. At higher speeds on expressways or highways, however, open side or roof windows increase air resistance, which can also increase fuel consumption. Situational decisions are therefore essential when traveling sustainably.
By the way: lighting, windshield wipers or windshield heating serve to ensure safety while driving. You should therefore not skimp on this part of the equipment!
How can I pay attention to sustainability when it comes to camping equipment?
For a comfortable camping vacation, you will of course also need some equipment, from hygiene products to leisure equipment. Here, too, you can use a few tips to make your camping more environmentally friendly and thus more sustainable:
- When it comes to hygiene products and cleaning products, go for organic, chemical-free alternatives to conventional cosmetics and cleaners. Solid soaps and shampoos are even more sustainable, as you can also save on plastic packaging.
- Try to avoid unnecessary waste by buying high-quality reusable products that can last you for many years. This includes wooden or stainless steel camping utensils.
- Are there other camping enthusiasts in your family or circle of friends? Then it may be worth sharing larger items of equipment such as camping chairs, umbrellas or bike racks. If you rent a motorhome, you can simply rent the necessary equipment such as dishes, chairs and so on.
- If you can't or don't want to share certain items, there is the possibility to buy equipment used or to rent it at rental platforms. In this way, you save resources by not buying new equipment.
How can I recognize an environmentally friendly campsite?If you are concerned about the environment and climate protection, you may be looking for an eco-camping site. A campsite can act environmentally conscious in different ways, e.g. by:
- efficient energy use or use of renewable energy sources
- economical use of water
- renouncement of toxic/harmful cleaning agents
- waste separation and avoidance
- nature-friendly leisure activities
- nature-oriented design of the campsite
If campsites meet these criteria, they can be awarded for their sustainability, e.g. with the "Climate-friendly operation" seal or the ECOCAMPING award.
✨Conclusion: Sustainable travel with a motorhomeEven if you can't yet meet all the criteria for more sustainability when planning your vacation, every little step counts towards making your next vacation more environmentally friendly. For example, you can try to do without plastic in the camping kitchen or for cosmetics. Or you can resolve to drive in a particularly fuel-efficient manner. The environment and your wallet will thank you! Sustainable travel doesn't automatically mean doing without, it's also a win-win situation: being more mindful when buying, packing and driving can help you feel more balanced and carefree on vacation.
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