Many families face challenges throughout their times traveling together. For a number of families, one of the most difficult parts of traveling can be keeping everyone happy throughout the travel process. But believe it or not, one of the largest challenges for families traveling is finding parking. Research has indicated that Americans spend nearly 17 hours a year on average searching for parking. Who would’ve thought that so many streets, lots, and garages would be so crowded? This time spent parking can be a real monkey wrench in your family’s travel plans, whether that be set schedules or itineraries, it makes a difference. Not only does it affect the traveling experience, it also has a negative impact on your vehicle’s fuel economy and the environment as well. Luckily though, there are a few ways that your family can save on gas money and decrease the environmental impact each trip has.
For shorter travel distances, one of the most overlooked options has always been public transportation or group bus tours. These may not be the most private excursions, but they are certainly the most environmentally friendly. If your family is planning a trip to a nearby monument for example, this could be the best way to go about traveling. However, this method can be limiting in regards to where your family can visit. If your family is planning a more long-distance trip, it is best to develop a plan in which the entire family can take one vehicle rather than multiple in order to save time and fuel. If this is the strategy your family plans to take, always be sure that the vehicle of choice has been properly maintained prior to travel.
Following up on this, if your family does plan to take a family vehicle and make the drive, there are a number of ways to reduce the stress on your vehicle throughout these travels. It starts with the air conditioning and heating systems of the vehicle and extends all the way down to the speed you’re driving throughout the trip. If you weren’t aware, everything in between these elements can have an impact on your family’s vehicle and the environment. If you’re traveling during the summer months, or through warmer parts of the world, rather than blasting your air conditioning, open the windows slightly to circulate air. During those frigid winter months, rather than cranking the heat on each startup of your family’s vehicle, let it gradually build up while driving. Rather than being concerned with driving the fastest speed to decrease travel time, maintaining the posted speed limits have been shown to decrease carbon emissions as well as increase your vehicle’s mileage.
For those families embarking on a long-distance drive, be mindful of how often you’re cycling your vehicle on and off. Turning the vehicle on and off too frequently can contribute to unnecessary carbon emissions and wear on the vehicle. For example, if your family plans to stop for any reason, whether that be at a rest stop or a gas station for a restroom or to gather some snacks, always turn off the vehicle. When your family is inevitably searching for parking throughout your trip, elect to choose the first spot you see rather than searching for that sweet spot closest to the destination. Within reason of course, this method not only offers physical benefits, it also does wonders for decreasing your vehicle’s emissions. For more information on environmentally sound travel tips, check out the featured infographic below.
Content is drawn with the help of Ian Todd, Director of Automated Parking Systems for Westfalia, a York, Pennsylvania-based manufacturer. He has an experience of more than 15 years in automated parking systems in both Europe and the Americas.