RV-ing is a great way to see the country. The wide open spaces, lack of strict schedules and the freedom to create your itinerary on the fly all add up to a trip that’s far from the usual. Once considered an option for retirees only, RV-ing is now a popular choice for family trips, girlfriend getaways and guys trips. 

And it’s easy to see why. Far from roughing it, many RVs now have gourmet kitchens, full-sized beds, luxury bathrooms and outdoor recreation areas with amenities like big screen TVs. Without airfare and accommodation costs, it’s a surprisingly affordable way to travel in style. 

But here’s what may really surprise you: RV vacations are more environmentally-friendly than fly/drive/hotel vacations. A family of four generates less carbon dioxide touring around in an RV than they would flying on a plane, renting a car and staying in a hotel. Also, today’s RVs are simply lighter, more efficient and more aerodynamically-designed than the recreational vehicles of the past. 

And the good news is that you can go make your RV vacation even greener. Try these simple tips:

1. Keep engines well-tuned. You’ll conserve energy and reduce emissions. 

2. Minimize water use while on the road. Onboard toilets and washing machines actually use less water than home versions. And although many RVs offer spa-like bathrooms, you’ll want to take a shorter shower and spend more time exploring.

3. Work with nature. When it’s warm out, parking the RV in shade cuts down on energy use. When it’s cool out, park in full sun and warm up your quarters naturally.  

4. Use green cleaning supplies. Just like you would at home, bring or make greener cleaning solutions and you’re already living greener than you would in a hotel room that’s cleaned every day. 

5. Buy from local vendors. It may be tempting to stock up on groceries and supplies from a big box store before you hit the road. But part of the adventure of RV-ing is wandering around new places. When you buy from local farmers and vendors, you’re cutting down on carbon by eliminating long-distance shipping.

Make your family’s next vacation one for the books. Pick a spot, pack a bag and rent an RV – guilt-free!