7 Tips for Making Travel with Kids More Eco-Friendly

8 Tips For Eco-Friendly Travel With Kids

This post is in partnership with Samsonsite but all opinions are my own.

I’m starting this off with two disclaimers. 1. The travel-themed photos in this post are a couple of years old, but they fit so well with what I’m sharing today that I had to use them. 2. I’ve shared some of these tips before, but it seemed like the perfect time to revisit, because as you’re reading this, I will be on my first real trip (by plane) since January 2020! It is also the first time my kids, who are normally frequently travelers themselves, will have traveled by plane in over two years.

Traveling itself can be incredibly wasteful and harmless for the environment, but when you add kids to it, making eco-conscious choices is even more challenging. There are more messes, more requests for quick food, more stops, more garbage, and just general excess that ultimately isn’t very good for the earth. But I’ve found that a few simple things can make the difference and create a trip with the earth in mind.
8 Tips For Eco-Friendly Travel With Kids

1. Take reusable water bottles. 

Disposable water bottles are terrible for the environment, and they’re everywhere. We always bring one of our own reusable bottles for each of us, whether we’re driving or flying. We fill them up in the drinking fountains at the airport, and if we’re traveling by car, we either fill them at stops along the way or bring a big water jug along with us. It’s a great lesson for the kids too, who often reach for the disposable bottles when they see them.

2. Pack snacks from home. We fill reusable containers with snacks for both air and land travel, and for road trips we also bring fruit and sandwiches we make at home. The packaging alone from airport snack shops and/or fast food restaurants is incredible wasteful, and you’ll say some money too.

3. Bring a stroller. Obviously this will only work with little ones, but the great thing about strollers is that you can walk farther and longer than if you’re trying to go on foot with toddlers or preschoolers. And walking is always the best mode of transportation to explore your destination when you’re trying to be eco-conscious. If you have a baby or toddler, a carrier or sling works too.  

8 Tips For Eco-Friendly Travel With Kids

4. Choose eco-friendly luggage. 

My advice is to either invest in really great quality luggage that you’ll have for years and years, and/or to get luggage made with eco-friendly materials. I love my Samonsite ECO-Nu suitcases. Their fabric, including the lining, is made completely from post-consumer recycled plastic bottles. Choosing eco-conscious luggage has been a great way to teach our kids the importance of making green choices when purchases travel supplies. 
5. Turn off the lights and down the thermostat. We are so good about this at home, but I’ve noticed that when we stay at hotels, we are more forgetful about doing these things when we get out. Now we have our lights set on a timers, and we got a Nest thermostat, which allows us to control it from an app remotely.

6. Visit natural places. Sure, my kids love loud, fancy mega kiddie/family fun center type places (I mean, we were just at Disney), but they honestly love forest preserves and state/national parks (which are infinitely less wasteful) and just as much (if not more). We took my daughter to the Grand Canyon when she was 16 months old and she still regularly asks to see pictures from it! Even if we’re just taking a day trip to another town, we get outside and explore nature and other unique characteristics of where we are. It’s amazing what you can find and all of the ways you can teach your kids about the environment that way. I read that people tend to care more about issues if they have personal connection to them, so this is an ideal way to encourage your little ones to care about the earth from an early age.

8 Tips For Eco-Friendly Travel With Kids

7. Choose local. Shop locally. Eat locally (especially at places like farmer’s market and food trucks, or farm-to-table and/or organic restaurants). On top of the fact that choosing local is almost always better for the environment because the carbon emissions are much less than products that have to travel far to reach you, your kids will be excited to visit places that are different than familiar chains or that they’re used to frequenting at home.

For those of you back traveling again who want to make sustainable choices on your trips, I hope these tips help. Happy (and safe!) travels!

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