Top 10 tips to make your RV travel more environmentally friendly

Author: Your RV Good Guide   Date Posted: 9 January 2024


Exploring New Zealand by RV is a dream come true for many. But as we become increasingly aware of our environmental impact, it's essential to consider how to travel New Zealand in a more sustainable manner. Whether you're an experienced road trip planner or about to take your first New Zealand road trip, there are some simple things you can do that add up to a big difference.

In this helpful guide, we share our top 10 tips for making your RV adventures more eco-friendly. From using 12v solar panels to smart waste solutions, we'll guide you through the essentials of sustainable travel in your RV.


Is travelling in an RV eco-friendly? 

Limited resources in an RV mean that motorhome travellers become quite adept at using water and electricity sparingly. And because you're dealing with your own rubbish and waste, you naturally lean towards products with minimal waste.

Travelling by RV also allows you to control your energy usage more directly than staying in hotels, which often consume a lot of power and other resources. Plus, many RVs are now designed with energy-efficient appliances and systems, making eco-travel easier than ever.

We invite you to join us in following the Tiaki Promise, a commitment to care for New Zealand's unique landscapes, wildlife, and rich culture. The Tiaki Promise encourages everyone who lives and travels in New Zealand to act as a guardian, protecting and preserving our home. It's a simple yet powerful way to align your RV travels with the principles of eco-travel.


Our top picks for ways to make your next RV road trip more environmentally friendly 

Let’s take a look at some of the must-have RV supplies and helpful tips to help you on your sustainable travel journey.


1. Set up solar panels 

If you're keen on sustainable travel, setting up solar panels on your RV is a brilliant move. 12V solar panels are an excellent way to harness renewable energy, powering everything from your 12V lights to your appliances. Enjoy the freedom of going off-grid, or just the peace of mind in knowing you’ve got extra power when needed.

RV Super Centre offers a wide range of solar solutions to fit your needs. Choose from fixed, flexible, folding, or portable solar panels for RVs ranging in size from 80W to 390W. We can take care of the installation for you, too.


2. Choose eco-friendly cleaning products 

Cleaning is a necessary part of RV life, but did you know that many cleaning products contain chemicals harmful to the environment? The good news is, you can make a difference by choosing eco-friendly options.

Take, for example, the Walex Bio-Pak toilet deodoriser. This natural enzyme deodoriser and waste digester is perfect for cassette toilets and portable toilets. It's environmentally friendly, breaking down waste and paper without harming the planet. Plus, it's safe for septic tanks and lasts for at least a week.

So, the next time you're shopping for RV supplies, why not add some eco-friendly cleaning products to your list? It's a simple yet effective way to help protect the environment on your New Zealand road trip.


3. Choose energy-efficient onboard appliances 

Not all appliances are created equal. In particular, appliances that create heat such as toasters, heaters, and hair dryers can guzzle energy.

To help you know which appliances are best, look for the energy rating label. The more stars, the better the energy efficiency.

Also, consider the size and functionality of the appliance. Do you really need a full-sized microwave, or will a compact one do? Smaller appliances often use less energy, making them a better choice for sustainable travel.


4. Be mindful of your waste 

We’re all aware that how we dispose of w aste can have a significant impact on the environment. Here are some tips that you may find helpful in making this task easier:

  • Recycle: Separate your recyclables from your general waste. Many campgrounds offer recycling facilities.
  • Use dump stations: Don't just let your wastewater go anywhere. Use designated dump stations to empty your cassette toilet and wastewater tanks.
  • Limit single-use items: Try to avoid single-use plastics and other disposables. Opt for reusable containers and utensils instead.

To make waste management even easier, take a moment to download the thl Roadtrip app. Available on Google Play and the App Store, this handy app helps you find your nearest dump station, rubbish facilities, campsites, supermarkets and much more.


5. Make fuel-efficient driving choices 


The way you drive can significantly impact your RV's fuel consumption. By adopting a few simple habits, you can make your New Zealand road trip more fuel-efficient and eco-friendly. And as a bonus, you’ll reduce your fuel bill too. Here's how:

  • Maintain a steady speed: Sudden accelerations and decelerations can eat up more fuel. Use cruise control where possible to maintain a consistent speed.
  • Plan your route: Use a road trip planner to avoid congested areas and stop-and-go traffic, which can be a drain on fuel.
  • Keep tyres properly inflated: Under-inflated tyres can reduce fuel efficiency. Check your tyre pressure regularly and keep them inflated to the recommended levels.
  • Reduce idle time: Idling wastes fuel. If you're stopped for more than a minute, it's more fuel-efficient to turn off the engine and restart it when you're ready to move.
  • Pack light: The heavier your RV, the more fuel it will consume. Be mindful of what you're packing and try to keep your load as light as possible.


6. Switch to LED 12V lights 

When it comes to lighting up your RV, LED 12V lights are the way to go. Not only do they consume less energy, but they also last longer than traditional bulbs.

At RV Super Centre, we offer a wide range of LED lighting options to suit your style and needs. Whether you're looking for dome, strip, or downlighting, we've got you covered. You can even find bedroom reading lamps with built-in USB ports to charge your devices. We can take care of the installation for you too.


7. Take care around local wildlife 


New Zealand is home to many unique and endangered wildlife species. As travellers, it's our responsibility to respect their natural habitats. Whether you're parked up by a forest or near the ocean, always remember you're sharing the space with native wildlife. Here are a few tips:

Firstly, give them the space they need. Animals can become stressed when humans get too close, affecting their ability to hunt, feed, and rest. This is especially true for our special birds like the New Zealand dotterel/tūturiwhatu which nest openly on our beaches. During their nesting season from August to January, it's crucial to be extra cautious. Keep a respectful distance and stick to marked paths to avoid disturbing these vulnerable birds.

  • Secondly, resist the urge to feed them. While it might seem like a kind gesture, human food is not suitable for wildlife and can cause them harm.
  • Lastly, be mindful of their environment. This means not leaving any rubbish behind and being cautious with RV supplies like cleaning agents or waste. Always dispose of these properly to ensure you're not contaminating their home.
  • By following these guidelines, you're doing your part in preserving New Zealand's unique wildlife for future generations to enjoy. It's all part of sustainable travel and respecting the land we love so much.


8. Ensure your RV receives regular maintenance 

Regular maintenance isn't just good for your RV; it's also beneficial for the environment. A well-maintained vehicle runs more efficiently, which means less fuel consumption and fewer emissions. And of course, the better you take care of your RV, the longer it will last.

To make it easy, RV Super Centre can take care of all your maintenance and service needs. Our fully equipped on-site service centre offers a range of service packages, including Standard and Deluxe options. All service options include a change of your engine oil, oil filter, and a comprehensive 20-point inspection of your vehicle. So, you can hit the road knowing your RV is in top condition, and you're doing your bit for sustainable travel.


9. Tint your RV’s windows 

Window tinting might seem like a purely aesthetic choice, but it's actually a smart, eco-friendly move. Tinted windows can block a good amount of solar heat, reducing the need for air conditioning. The tint also acts as a barrier that blocks harmful UV rays, protecting both you and your RV's interior. This can extend the life of your RV curtains, upholstery, and other interior features, reducing the need for replacements.

While not directly an eco-benefit, tinted windows offer added privacy. In addition, reduced glare from the sun can make for safer driving.

If you're considering this eco-friendly upgrade, RV Super Centre’s double-glazed, tinted windows are a great option. They're available in a range of sizes to suit your specific needs.


10. Stay in designated camping areas 

One of the best ways to respect New Zealand's precious environment is to stay in designated camping areas. These areas are specifically designed to minimise human impact on the environment, making your New Zealand road trip more sustainable.

To find the best spots to park your RV, remember to make use of the thl Roadtrip app. By choosing to stay in designated areas, you're doing your part to protect New Zealand's beautiful landscapes for future generations. It's an easy yet impactful way to contribute to eco-travel.


Does owning an RV align with your values? 

From staying in designated camping areas to making simple modifications like switching to LED lights, there are plenty of ways to make your New Zealand road trip more sustainable.

Remember, every little bit helps, and it's the collective efforts of the motorhoming community that will make a real difference.

If you're looking to make your RV travels more eco-friendly, RV Super Centre is your one-stop shop. We offer a wide range of RV supplies, plus, we can take care of all your installation and servicing needs.

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