GreenRt66Traveling Green on the Mother Road

Traveling Tips


There are many choices to make while traveling Route 66. The information below is meant to help you make choices that will give you an inspiring and sustainable road trip experience. Not only will these choices contribute to a healthier planet, they will also help you experience a more authentic trip reminiscent of the historic family road trip!

Recreate the Family Road Trip

It may be hard to visualize, but during most of the historic era of Route 66 there were no computers, email, social media, smart phones, or hand-held gaming devices! While many of us appreciate these wonderful modern conveniences, they can also distract from the full traveling experience of Route 66.

Try an experiment: For at least one day of your trip, disconnect from all of your electronic devices. Fully immerse yourself in experiencing the Mother Road. Imagine what it was like to drive the route 75 or more years ago. Slow down. Take your time. Converse with family and friends. Use paper-based maps. Stop often to walk and visit the many mom and pop businesses. Start conversations with those that you meet along the way. Play cards or other games, sharing those that you played as a child with friends and family. Here are some fun car games to play for all ages!

Be Mindful of Resources

On your trip, you can choose to “reduce, reuse, recycle.” Water is a precious resource, particularly in the high drought areas of the Southwest and the Western United States. If staying multiple nights at the same lodging location, reuse your towels and hang them  to dry. Minimize water usage when showering or brushing your teeth. Bring and use your own toiletries. Turn off heat or air conditioning, lights, and appliances when not in use. Save paper by checking out of lodging electronically, if possible. Use reusable water bottles or travel mugs to reduce your waste. Take only the maps and brochures that you will use; if in a large group, share these materials. Afterwards, you can recycle them, pass them on to future travelers, or give them to a library.

Cultural Sensitivity

Be respectful of the culture and customs of your hosts along the road. Do not enter tribal land, private property, or abandoned buildings without permission.


Follow the posted speed limit and use cruise control to save on fuel costs and emissions. Keep in mind that many small towns strictly enforce speed limits. If you have a vehicle that displays fuel economy, enlist the help of children or family to read the display; see if you can increase your average miles per gallon of fuel consumption. When stopping within towns, try to minimize driving by getting out and walking to sites of interest as much as possible.


Support the local economy by staying at local mom and pop motels, or stay at eco-friendly hotels.  If you are feeling more adventurous, car camp or stay at campgrounds.


Sample the local cuisine. Dine in where possible for a richer experience and to avoid carry-out wrapping and waste. Choose locally owned restaurants that buy local. Visit a farmer’s market, and shop at a locally owned grocery stores. For snacks, buy in bulk to save money and reduce packaging, and store in reusable containers.


Bring your own reusable shopping bags. Think like a local—buying locally supports the local Route 66 community, and reduces pollution from transporting goods.

Outdoor Recreation

When hiking or camping, stay in marked areas and on trails to avoid destroying vegetation. Follow the “Leave no Trace” guidelines and take only pictures, leave only footprints.

Planning your trip? Get green planning tips here!