Everybody dreams of exploring the world and experiencing everything it has to offer. Sadly, we can’t avoid the strain that tourism puts on the environment. In fact, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has found that air travel is one of the leading causes of air pollution. There’s also the fact that some places around the world just aren’t equipped to handle such a massive influx of tourists. Therefore, to sustainably travel has become more important than ever — and there’s no better place to start than with our children. After all, they, too, deserve to see the world while knowing how to take care of it, no matter what their age is.
Even if it’s a family vacation, it doesn’t mean your eco-friendly habits have to take a break too. Here are some tips on how to travel sustainably as a family.
Even when you’re travelling by plane, ship, or car, there’s always a way to choose a greener alternative. While air-travel isn’t very eco-friendly, booking your flights with airlines like Hi Fly is a better option, as the company makes the necessary efforts to eliminate excess waste like plastics. Though they tend to be more expensive, it is well worth the cost.
Bring your own containers
Plastic is a major issue across the world and contributes an obscene amount of toxic pollution every year. The UK alone has to dispose of 38.5 million plastic bottles a day, and almost half of them aren’t even recycled. Save yourself (and the environment) the trouble of having to buy plastic bottles abroad by carrying a refillable container like these stainless-steel water bottles on Zhaoshopping. They’ve been through drop-impact testing, and are large enough to hold water for the entire family.
Travel on foot
There’s a lot you can miss by constantly taking taxis or going on bus tours. Walking and using public transportation will not only allow your family to explore the place like the locals do, there’s the added bonus of getting some exercise too. Of course, you’ll need the appropriate footwear, more so for the little ones. Consider getting them a pair that are built for walking about a lot, such as these waterproof Keen Kids Targhee hiking shoes. Additionally, if you are travelling with young children, they are bound to get tired towards the end of the day. These lightweight yet compact pushchairs on iCandy are ideal for families on holiday, not just because they can be folded up when travelling on public transport but because they are built to handle all sorts of terrain. Plus, you get to save money, cut back on your carbon footprint, and have more quality time together. It’s a win-win situation.
The way food is cultivated and processed is one of the biggest environmental concerns around, so it’s only natural to look a little deeper into what you’re eating. If you’re staying for an extended period of time, make sure to buy organic produce from the local market. If you’re just staying for a weekend, at least enjoy your meals in family-owned restaurants or small bakeries that use fresh (and local) ingredients. By purchasing food that doesn’t need to be packaged and imported from other countries, you are contributing to the greater good and not increasing your carbon footprint. And if you’ve got left overs, it may be worth investing in a travel-friendly lunchbox like this tote from Wilko.
Travelling is one of life’s greatest pleasures, but it comes with its own set of challenges outside of sustainability. Our previous post on ‘4 Common Issues When Travelling and How to Deal with Them’ looked at some of the common travel disasters and how to deal with them, such as lost luggage, cancelled flights, and food poisoning. Luckily, you can avoid most of these the same way you keep sustainable: by being mindful and organised.