GreenRt66Traveling Green on the Mother Road

Planning Tips


Spending time to plan your trip can help avoid frustrations while on the road, and also help you go green!

Maps and Route Planning

Part of the fun of traveling historic Route 66 is the unexpected experiences you encounter, including getting lost! However, to minimize aggravations it is important to be well prepared with directional information in hand before you go. Signage is limited on the historic route, so do not rely on it for navigation! GPS or cell phone reception can also be limited. To avoid mishaps, it is best to have Route 66-specific maps and guidebooks, many of which are available in bookstores or through many of the Route 66 Associations and organizations.

To go green:

– Print your itinerary and maps on recycled paper, and recycle them when you get home.
– Consider checking out travel guides from your local library (make sure they are current!)
– If you purchase new maps and guidebooks, consider passing them on to a future Route 66 traveler at the end of your trip!

Choosing your Mode of Transportation

  • Bicycling – An adventurous and eco-friendly way to see Route 66 is by bicycle. Traveling by bike allows you to slow down and see many things you would miss if traveling by car. With the ever-increasing popularity of Route 66, there are now Route 66 bicycle maps and general bike touring blogs that can help you plan a safe bicycling trip down Route 66.
  • Motorcycle – Another lower impact way to travel Route 66 is by motorcycle. There are many businesses along the way that cater to motorcyclists. If you don’t own a motorcycle, or if it is not feasible to ship it to the US, you can search the web for organizations that rent motorcycles and/or lead group tours.
  • Rental car – Reserving a fuel-efficient vehicle, such as a hybrid or subcompact car, will significantly reduce your fuel costs on your trek across Route 66. These vehicles have lower emissions and are gentler on the environment. If you are traveling with family or friends, consider reserving a larger fuel-efficient vehicle to accommodate everyone, instead of renting two vehicles.
  • Personal vehicle or RV – Before embarking on your cross country trip, have your vehicle inspected by a mechanic to ensure it is operating at peak efficiency. Proper tire pressure and a clean air filter will increase your fuel economy and save on transportation costs. If your tires are in need of replacement, consider touring tires that provide with less rolling resistance and better gas mileage. Before packing your vehicle, remove unnecessary items to save weight and increase fuel efficiency. If possible, carpool with friends or family to avoid traveling with multiple vehicles, and to reduce your environmental impact. Re-create the classic “family road trip!”
  • Tour Group – If sharing the experience of the open road with new people appeals to you, a tour group may be something to consider. Having a group travel in one vehicle or bus is also friendlier to the environment than if each person or couple were to drive individually.
  • Train – For those who love to travel by train, it is a wonderful, scenic, and historically green travel option. Major train companies now offer Route 66 train trips that include visits to sites like Grand Canyon National Park. The history and experience of Route 66 is closely intertwined with the train, and the route parallels the railroad for much of its length.


Make your reservations with locally owned historic motels, or with lodging that has environmentally friendly certifications or memberships in green industry associations. Green hotels help conserve resources through efforts such as high efficiency cooling or heating, renewable energy systems, LED lighting, recycling programs, and water conservation. Of course, reserving and staying at campsites is another great way to minimize your impact on the environment, and is reminiscent of the early traveling experience of Route 66!


Pack lightly. Reducing the weight of luggage can increase gas mileage, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and decrease your carbon footprint. Bring reusable water bottles and travel mugs to refill on your trip and to reduce landfill waste. Pack rechargeable batteries and a charger for your essential travel items.

Before leaving home

Turn down the thermostat; unplug appliances, computer, and television; and set the water heater on the lowest setting.

With all this planning done, it’s time to enjoy your green travel on Route 66! Get some green traveling tips here!