They say that home is where the heart is. But what if your whole heart isn’t in one place?
My family moved to sunny Florida just over two years ago. Though it was definitely an adjustment for me, I figured I’d be able to say that Florida was my one and only home by now. But after a recent four-day visit to my hometown, I’ve come to realize that my heart is sprinkled all over the DC Metro area and California along with Florida. I have left pieces of it with the people I love most. And I’m okay with that.
Sharing my past and creating our own family memories together in a place I’ll always cherish was absolutely amazing. I loved showing my children around the city I grew up in, taking them to places I visited when I was their age.
But even though our main focuses of this trip were enjoying time together and reminiscing on old times, I always do my best to keep sustainability a priority no matter what. While traveling, it can be all too tempting to ditch your usual eco-friendly routines — but with some careful planning, you can still be kind to Mother Earth while still having a relaxing vacation.
Here are my Top 5 Tips for Making Traveling with Your Kids More Sustainable.
Pack healthy snacks!
Be sure to pack some healthy snacks for the plane and on the road. Since reusable containers can be heavy and bulky, I usually opt for sustainable baggies whenever I fly with my kids. I love these resealable sandwich bags from Grove Collaborative. They’re made from starches of GMO-free renewable crops, so they’re 100% compostable and biodegradable!
I put several baggies in each kid’s backpack, filled with different fruits and veggies so they can pick and choose what to snack on. Before heading back home, we restocked our baggies with local produce from a grocery store and left the excess at a family member’s house for them to enjoy.
Pack reusable water bottles.
Staying hydrated is always a must — especially when you’re traveling with kids. Bring along reusable water bottles so you’re never trapped having to buy bottled water.
Vapur water bottles are my favorites, especially when traveling light. Their bottles lay completely flat when empty, making them really easy to pack and then fill up in the airport right before your flight takes off.
Pack reusable straws.
Travel usually calls for eating out a little more than usual. I always make sure I pack plenty of reusable straws for all of us. That way, I can feel guilt-free when I treat the kids to drinks on the go. These straws from Greens Steel are our favorite.
Avoid buying new.
Moms, I know... this one is super hard! Whenever it’s time for me to start packing for a long trip and I go through my kids’ closets, it always feels like they don’t have any clothes all of a sudden! Resist the urge to buy them all new things for a trip. Use items you have and consider pieces your kids never wear. If you’re traveling where the weather is completely different from where you’re from and you’re planning on visiting friends with kids, ask if you could borrow some pieces that you don’t currently have. And if you do have to buy, consider shopping secondhand.
Support local businesses.
As you’re sorting out your itinerary, do some research to see if there are any local events going on in the area. Ask locals for restaurant recommendations. We were lucky enough to be in town for Poolesville day. We spent one of our days enjoying a parade, rides, and delicious local food!
During our recent vacation, I was so inspired by how resilient my children are. They handled long travel days, adapted quickly to totally unfamiliar locations, and ate on the go without a fuss. They also were totally understanding of my efforts to make our travel more sustainable, just like we do when we’re at home. I felt as though I was watching my children grow up before my eyes.
What are some things you do to reduce your waste when you travel? Let me know in the comments!