Sustainable Travel Essentials for You and Your Family
Sustainable Travel Essentials for You and Your Family
When travelling, it’s always important to be respectful of the places you’re visiting — whether that means following local customs or helping preserve historic sites. Additionally, it’s important to travel sustainably to help protect the environment. Even though vacations don’t last forever, the impact we leave behind does. Conscious travelling goes beyond the things you pack, but it’s certainly a great place to start! Here are a few essentials to bring with you and your family to ensure that you consider the surrounding environment when you travel.
There are a lot of reusable bottles on the market, but not all of them are made equal. Vapur Inc.’s Anti-Bottle is one of the best I've seen, as it has a collapsible feature, as well as the brand’s dedication to ethical manufacturing. Because it’s easy to flatten and roll when not in use, it makes staying hydrated easy and hassle-free.
Save a little water by washing your hair less often! Not only is it helpful to the earth, but it’s actually healthier for your scalp, too. Give your locks some love with dry shampoo instead, like this all-natural blend from Lulu Organics. It’s got hints of lavender and clary sage to keep you refreshed wherever you go. If you're up for DIYing it, you can also use plain arrowroot powder in a shaker bottle, and/or add cocoa powder if you have darker hair.
Every traveller knows that there’s no better way to get to know a new place than by foot. Veja is popular for its sporty, ‘90s inspired trainers made out of recycled fabrics, and they have sustainably-produced vegan options that are a great alternative while keeping a mainstream aesthetic in mind. Plus, the wild rubber soles ensure that you can stay on your feet for hours!
Of course, you'll want your little ones to keep up with all the walking. While it's good to keep them physically active, be prepared for them to get tired more easily. To keep this from cutting your trip short, a pram can be very useful, as it serves as a convenient place for tired children, a makeshift bed for naps in cafés, or even as a pushcart for your bags. For places that have uneven ground, some of the pushchairs listed on iCandy are perfect, as they are able to withstand all sorts of terrains - from the cobblestones of Europe to the grassy areas of Central Park in New York. Lots of contemporary pushchairs are also compact enough to fit on public buses and trains, so you save on private transport and lessen your carbon footprint. I recently took our pram to Amsterdam on the Eurostar, and I'm so glad I took it instead of trying to carry our heavy baby everywhere!
You’re bound to do a little shopping on your travels. It's important to say no to plastic bags by bringing your own tote bags, whether you’re shopping at the local markets or buying souvenirs in town (mine usually come in the form of food!). As for baby, I personally pack everything into my own backpack, but if we're heading to a place where I'm not sure if there'll be a changing station, I take this Skip Hop changing mat, as everything fits into it. I've not seen any on the market made with a sustainable focus unfortunately, but thought I'd add this in as it's very reliable and can fit a cloth nappy in its pouch and still clip together!
While we might think we’re protecting ourselves by slathering sunscreen on the entire family, an article on Afar warns that many types of sunscreen are extremely damaging to coral reefs. Be sure to check your bottles for safe ingredients like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, and avoid chemicals like oxybenzone and homosalate.
Ditch the hotel’s plastic toothbrushes and bring your own bamboo toothbrush instead. Brush With Bamboo’s toothbrush comes in a handy travel case, both made out of organic bamboo and biodegradable materials. What's more, it’s smooth and gentle enough for your baby’s sensitive gums.
Of course, the last thing you want to worry about is feeling uncomfortable in your clothes. For those busy days, the leggings from Teekigram are a sustainable favourite. Made out of recycled plastic bottles, their clothes are both stylish and super soft - I have a fair few pairs as I'm a yoga teacher, and got my first pair in early 2015. They're still going strong despite frequent wear!
For your baby, The Independent lists some ethical brands for everyday wear, like Frugi and Piupia. These boutique stores only use organic cotton - a material that is super soft and will keep your child comfortable as they move about. They come in lots of colours and designs too, that little people will love!
Reusable Cloth Wipes
Disposable wipes are thought of as an essential when travelling with children, but zero-waste travellers know that reusable towels are the way to go. Soak it Up Cloths are made from 100% reusable and biodegradable sponge cloth, with each piece the equivalent of around 15 paper towels. Just pop them in the microwave or boiling water to disinfect - they're also free from synthetic chemicals. P.S. We do carry WaterWipes out & about sometimes, especially if expecting a poop - I don't want to claim that we're perfect at the whole zero-waste baby thing! Although I have found that washing WaterWipes with cloth nappies allows us to use them 5-6 times before disposing of them.
Have you tried any of these products or implemented any of these tips & tricks? Let me know your thoughts, and thanks for reading!
This article is a guest post written by Frances M. Cash