Green Travel Tips
Six simple (we promise!) ways to keep family vacations eco-friendly
Depending on what kind of mom you are, spring break will either delight you or send shivers down your spine. Family vacations have their charms, but they’re not always the most relaxing of experiences. After all, stress levels spike when people travel. Ideally the focus should be on the adventure of getting away—but that is hardly ever the case. Packing multiple distractions, arranging for car seats the world over, and remembering to bring everything from emergency medication to the-only-doll-little-Sally-will-sleep-with is beyond exhausting. And on top of all that, doing everything the eco-friendly way—organic snacks, reef-safe sunscreen, PVC-free earphones—starts to feel like a chore. But it doesn’t have to be. Traveling green is not only doable—it’s convenient. Here’s how.
Move past the undeniable fact that there’s nothing green about flying and start small by tackling what goes in your carry-on bags. As an eco-expert and mom, here’s what is always in mine.
1. Reusable, washable, TSA-approved see-through bags. These replace disposable petroleum-derived plastic baggies for our under 3.4-ounce liquids. They not only reduce waste—they help me keep everyone organized as well.
Reveal Quart-Sized Bag
2. Truly organic lip balm and cream. I tuck lip balms that contain organic jojoba oil and shea butter into those reusable bags to keep everyone’s lips from dehydrating. For hands small and big (and other dry spots) Dr. Bronner’s makes cute tins of certified organic body balms scented with essential oils.
Weleda Everon Lip Balm
Dr. Bronner's & Sun Dog's Magic Organic Tattoo & Body Balm Orange Lavender
3. Packets of fragrance-free plant-based laundry detergent and dish soap.
Bringing these means we’re good to go at our destination—being able to do laundry means you can pack less stuff. You might even get away with not checking luggage. The dish soap is for our reusable bottles and picnic gear.
Seventh Generation Free & Clear Detergent
4. Two kinds of reusable water bottles. In addition to our stainless steel bottles, we pack ones that contain an activated carbon filter. Once we’re past airport security, I filter tap water and fill all of our bottles for the flight instead of buying—and throwing out—bottled water. Once airborne, flight attendants are always happy to refill our bottles.
5. Thyme wipes. To keep us as germ-free as possible in-flight, we wipe down armrests and trays with CleanWell’s wipes—derived from thyme, a natural antimicrobial. We also carry their hand spray for when we can’t wash with old soap and water.
CleanWell Disinfectant To-Go Wipes
6. Food. We pack our own meals for flights and car trips. That way, we’re in charge of the ingredients and we know we’ll all like the food. It also cuts down on packaging waste and we can reuse the containers for picnics on the rest of the trip. Cloth napkins and utensils are also helpful. And for parents, so is a coffee thermos. Or maybe a flask. —Alexandra Zissu