Earlier today I caught sight of an article about recent ocean warming trends and settled down to read it. This lead me to a few more climate change articles where I found myself reading about how our planet might actually hit the 1.5C warming mark very soon – an unsettling milestone. Catching up on the latest climate news always makes me desperate to find ways to reduce my footprint!
I’ve recently been working through my family’s summer travel plans and, with Earth Day and recent climate news fresh in my mind, I was inspired put some thoughts on paper for how we can make our holidays as sustainable as possible. See what I’ve come up with below and please share your ideas with us in comments or on social media!
Travel sustainably: Car
There are a few simple things we will do to reduce the impact of our vehicle travel. These are just great ways to reduce fuel consumption in general, but definitely apply to roadtrips!
- Limit weight in the vehicle to improve mileage – pack as light as possible! I know, I know, easier said than done as my kids want to bring their whole rooms with them…
- A happy car is a fuel efficient car – schedule in a tune up before your trip!
- Check your manual and fill tires to the optimal pressure which improves mileage as well.
Travel sustainably: Hotel
My family generally camped when I was a kid – there were not a lot of hotels on our itinerary back then! But for my family’s adventures this year we are planning a couple of nights in a hotel. One of our stays last year was at an accomodation where the toiletries and dish detergent were refillable and there were other sustainable touches like laundry strips for our use, so good! So for our trip this year we will:
- Bring our own refillable and sustainable toiletries instead of using the small plastic bottles and plastic wrapped items usually provided.
- Opt out of daily cleaning (if we’re staying longer than one day) and towel replacements to reduce water and energy use.
- Bring sustainable laundry detergent options if you’re planning to visit a laundromat.
- Book in hotels that are conscious of limiting their footprint, though that’s not always possible if travelling to a destination with limited choices for accomodation.
Travel sustainably: Camping
There are a couple of simple ways we will bring sustainability to our campsite:
- Where possible, we purchase camping items that are sustainably made and will last a long time – ever stay in one of those old canvas tents? They last forever! In the past we’ve borrowed needed gear from friends and family, but you could purchase secondhand or even rent it!
- Pack out what we pack in.
- Use our favourite biodegradable dish soap for washing dishes.
Travel sustainably: Food
It’s always tempting to purchase special packaged food items for camping or a roadtrip. One the things I used to look forward to the most on our summer trips was the mini cereal boxes with the little doors on the front – best camping treat ever! While it’s part of the tradition to have a few store-bought items we wouldn’t usually buy, there are ways for us to bring sustainability into food choices:
- We use reusable packaging/storage rather than plastic bags and cling wrap where possible.
- We plan to recycle any packaging/cans/bottles used – even if we have to pack it out.
- We have re-usable cutlery and straws for prepared and take out meals.
- Always bring our re-usable water bottles.
- Bring food we’ve grown or eat local!
Travel sustainably: Fun!
- No summer travel is complete without a trip to a lake, pool, or ocean! We are very conscious about our sunscreen choices to limit chemical exposure for the kids, but also to ensure that if sunscreen comes off in the water, the environment won’t be harmed.
- Plan activities to learn more about the environment of places we travel to, such as our trip to the Ucluelet Aquarium last year!
- We will research the places we visit to understand the impact of how the business/attraction operates.
How do you incorporate sustainability into your travel plans?
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