Zero waste family travel tips

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One of my commitment for this year is to have a more sustainable life. I became more conscious of environmental issues after watching a documentary, A Plastic Ocean, which I really recommend. There are many different ways to reduce plastic waste in our daily life and for our family it all starts when we decided to eliminate plastic water bottles. It’s easy to go zero waste, it only takes some planning.

plastic bottles

 

Probably you have already heard about the five R’s: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot. Starting from the top, each level of elimination is more powerful than the levels below. As you can see, we should’t focus on recycling, as take a fair amount of resources. It’s better if we refuse it, reduce it or reuse it first.

 

 

We have also chosen to go with a more minimalist and sustainable life and spend less money on buying and more money on doing! Like travel of course.

However, if we cannot reduce our own carbon footprint when flying, or the chemicals used by the hotels where we stay, we can still choose a sustainable tourism respecting the natural environment of the destination we visit, adopting shopping tactics to less damage the environment and supporting local businesses there.

With our daily actions we are building the future for our children and we need to be conscious about of waste we produce. Also when we travel. As I start to plan our next holiday, I have arranged our packing list with a zero waste goal in mind. I hope you can find the following tips of how to travel zero waste useful.

 

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TREES

 

PACK WELL FOR A MORE SUSTAINABLE TRAVEL

clothes to pack for a travelTraveling, especially with kids, brings it with a lot of small wasteful practices. With a bit of more planning we can travel more eco-friendly. So do make a list in advance. And plan and pack well: it might be obvious unless you start forgetting things and so you need to buy during the travel. Especially when you have kids, it’s easy to forget sun glasses, a hat or flip flops. Make a list so you won’t need to buy something cheap or fast fashion and that you will not be wearing again.

 

ZERO WASTE TRAVEL KIT: REUSE AND BRING CONTAINERS

Since I have started to pay more attention on the environment, in my bag I always have my reusable coffee mug and water bottle. In my packing list this year I have added also mesh bags which are perfect when buying fruit and vegetables without any packaging and reusable bags for carrying extra stuff or sorting packing. If you need to buy the coffee or tea mug, I really suggest the collapsable one by Stojo that when on travel reducing space is essential! I also recommend the water bottle from Kablo, which donate 1% to the 5 Gyres Institute to help tackle plastic pollution!

 

In case you are hiking in the mountains you might night this travel water bottle with a filter will save on copious single use plastic bottles as well as money.

Again about the concept of REUSE, it’s important to bring also your own reusable utensil set and some food containers. I know that it seems to be an extra bulk for your suitcase, however you can share with your partner the mug and bring just one.

 

 

WATCH YOUR PAPER WASTE

green mountains

When traveling we produce a lot od useless paper waste such as plane tickets, receipts, attractions leaflets… We have technology so why don’t use our mobile phones more? Starting with the boarding tickets.

I usually ask not to have the receipt, as we usually pay with card for everything and you can keep track on expenses from the bank account.

Single use paper napkins are made from trees and use a lot of energy to make for one use. What about the paper towels we use in the public toilets? Luckily there are more and more hand blowers everywhere, however I have started to bring some little hand towels in my bag. My kids are also scared of the noise of hand blowers so I definitely use them a lot!

I also have some cloth napkins in my bag for any kind of use. I still have also some wipes, because with little children and especially when traveling I need to have a backup just in case. However I reduced a lot the amount of paper in this way. I always bring my Marseille soap when traveling, so I can wash easily in the evening and not to bring too many.

 

4 ZERO WASTE TIPS FOR TRAVEL WITH KIDS

 

1. REUSABLE BOTTLE

Like most of the kids, also my children get thirsty the minute after we have started our journey by car or to reach the airport. We always bring our own bottle and when we arrive at the airport we usually throw some water before the checks because at Stansted airport it takes more time if you have liquids. Then we fill it again with tap water. We have small Hydroflask bottles that are perfect size (18 ounces) for kids.

 

2. LUNCHSKIN BAGS & BEES WRAP

Reusable little bags with zip for carry many snacks and avoid plastic bags.

I also started to use bees wrap for storing food and bringing snack when I am out with my children. You can wash and use again and again. A great way to avoid clinic film and aluminium foil.

 

 

3. ECO LUNCHBOX

If you have young children like me, there is no better way to let them calm down than giving a snack for entertain and distract kids while traveling or flying. Especially during takeoff and landing, eating or drinking can help to limit air pain from pressure change. These box are perfect for pasta or other meals and when traveling great for snacks like grapes, raisins, crackers. It takes a bit of more organisation however it’s better than waste money on airport shops and better than it is usually given onboard.

 

4. BRING LOTS OF LOW-WASTE ACTIVITIES

One of our favorite toy for travel is this wooden memory game, as it keeps the boys busy a lot of time and it’s perfect as it is just one piece. It comes with several boards to entertain them a lot.

You can also use small drawstring bags for crayons. There are lots of inspirational diy on Pinterest on how to create a tote bag from an old t-shirt.

You can pack up some sheets of paper already used or this eco friendly idea:

 

 

For more tips about traveling with kids, I suggest to read Strategies and tips how to enjoy air travel with kids

 

 

ZERO WASTE TRAVEL TOILETRIES

The big change in my life has been the introduction of the menstrual cup. I know to be probably one of the last person that has started to use it, but believe me, I am that kind of fussy and picky person and I didn’t want to give it a go. It has been three months now I am using it and I can’t be happier to use it. You can have more info about size and instructions here.

Another way to reduce plastic in our daily life and also when on holiday, is to use soap and shampoo bars. They last longer and take up less space.

There is also the solid deodorant. Here how can create one DIY.

TIP: Carry on your personal care products and say no to the hotel freebies that come with little plastic containers.

 

Get ready to start to pack zero waste for your next holiday!

Grab your complimentary Travel Zero Waste checklist that is going to help you to not to forget anything! Click on the following image and start downloading!

card to susbribe

 

 

HOT TO TRAVEL MORE SUSTAINABLE – THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE

hand with some green leaves

  1. Try to book non-stop flights whenever you can because it’s the takeoffs and landings that most carbon emission. And if you take a flight, please fly with one of the 30+ IATA members that have introduced an offset program to be more eco-friendly.
  2. Consider to share a car trip if you are alone or chose the public transportation. Check also the website Rome2Rio which lists all possible routes and transport methods when traveling. When it’s possible and convenient, consider renting a hybrid vehicle.
  3. When choosing an accommodation, support local businesses instead of big foreign corporations. You can also consider house swapping or camping for a less impact and eat like a local. If you choose an hotel, you can check what is their commitment to the environment and if they are certified by a third party, such as Rainforest Alliance or the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.
  4. We live to high speed everyday. When on holiday, embrace a slower pace and enjoy stay in one place instead of covering huge distances within limited time.
  5. Shop as a local. I find this app very useful: Bulk App and find stores in the area you’re visiting that have bulk sections where you can snag food package-less.
  6. Use your own headphones on a plane instead of using the complimentary ones.
  7. Reuse the plastic liquid pouch from the airport for next travels.
  8. Prefer to use a Kindle when traveling instead of books.
  9. Use bio and organic sunscreen without chemicals that might damage reef and their inhabitants

 

As you can see, I am not here to teach anything to anybody. I don’t claim to be perfect. I am on this journey as well, with you, and I just want to share that we can have a more sustainable lifestyle with zero efforts.

The truth is that sustainable travel is all about planning and making simple choices. It will happen from time to time to use some paper or plastic wastes, however making an effort is always better than nothing and we can lessen our negative impact on a given destination.

 

 

With love,

Francesca

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16 Comments

  1. March 14, 2019 / 14:52

    Love this post! I’m already checking out lots of the products on Amazon.

    • mumwhatelse
      Author
      March 14, 2019 / 14:56

      Thank you!! It’s so important for all of us !!

  2. March 14, 2019 / 16:49

    Thanks for the amazing post! I’ve been taking notes and plan on putting all of this in to practice!

    • mumwhatelse
      Author
      March 14, 2019 / 17:10

      Thank you Hannah!

  3. March 15, 2019 / 07:47

    Some great ideas on here. We find plastic toys such a problem and alternatives are hard to find. We always use our own water bottles and try and persuade the kids not to get souvenirs

    • mumwhatelse
      Author
      March 15, 2019 / 08:54

      We can’t eliminate everything, I think that the point here are not toys… but the amount of plastic we produce every day

  4. March 15, 2019 / 17:25

    I think you have some great ideas here. It is so easy to make simple changes once you stary thinking about the problem.

    • mumwhatelse
      Author
      March 15, 2019 / 18:57

      Thanks so much! Starting from plastic water bottles is already a big step!

    • mumwhatelse
      Author
      March 15, 2019 / 21:27

      Thanks!!

  5. March 16, 2019 / 10:40

    We try and re-use as much as possible and always take refillable bottles with us, it saves money too

  6. Melanie williams
    March 18, 2019 / 14:03

    This is great!! Any article that supports a zero waste approach works for me xx

    • mumwhatelse
      Author
      March 19, 2019 / 12:03

      Thanks so much lovely!

  7. March 19, 2019 / 10:26

    some great ideas, we always take reusable bottles with us when we travel anywhere with the kids

  8. April 3, 2019 / 19:41

    Simple things can make big changes! I love your tips and I’ll try to follow them more. I live in a small town in south of Italy and we are very good in recycling bottles or boxes or containers. Also we do use a lot of glass bottles and no plastic. I strated my personal zero waste with those few things but with your suggestions I am sure I can do a lot more!

    • mumwhatelse
      Author
      April 3, 2019 / 21:21

      Thanks Simona, anyone can do his part

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