“Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink the wild air” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Summer is almost here! I’m a teacher so I travel the most during the summer and so do a lot of folks. Now is the time to make your summer travel plans and that should include coming up with a sustainable travel strategy, that way you can travel pure and enjoy your vacation even more!
I’ll be spending a lot of time at the beach, in fact my big summer trip is to the west coast of Florida. Last summer we took a week long trip to the same area of Florida. I was pretty overwhelmed by the amount of trash (most of it plastic) littering the beach. I’m a Florida native and I can’t ever remember seeing so much trash. According to one study I read 8 million pieces of plastic find their way into the ocean every single day. That trash kills sea life and washes up on our beaches. I’m not OK with that and you shouldn’t be either.
Traveling is an activity that presents a sustainability challenge. We’ve been conditioned to go for the convenience items when we’re traveling. Plastic wrappers, plastic cutlery, plastic water bottles, and plastic bags contribute to the ease of traveling with their “use it and toss it” message. On a trip we often eat at fast food restaurants and throw away all the packaging.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Becoming a sustainable traveler is possible, it just requires a little bit of pre-planning. But, I’m making it easy for you! I’ve researched, brain stormed, and read other bloggers tips. I’ve compiled an easy list of things you can do before you travel to make your next trip the greenest yet!
Tip #1: Think Ahead!
Think about where you are going and what you will be doing, anticipate when and where you might use single use plastic.
Tip #2: Reuse what you already have
Look around your house and find things that you can substitute for single use plastic items. You probably have a reusable water bottle, so pack it. You probably have some bath hotel samples, clean them out and refill with your stuff or just use up what's in them.
Tip #3: Bring your own bamboo utensils
Bring a set for you and your family. Bamboo is lightweight and easy to clean, so it makes a great travel accessory. You can find bamboo utensil set online. Many of the sets even come with their own cloth travel bags. I found this one, which offers a fork, spoon, knife, travel bag, metal straws, and even a straw cleaner (includes set of 2)!
Tip #4: Reusable water bottle
Pack a reusable water bottle for you and every member of your family. If you are flying bring the bottles in your carry on bags.
Tip #5: Coffee anyone?
Are you a coffee drinker? Bring you own travel coffee mug. Use your mug to fill up on hotel coffee when you’re on the go. My favorite coffee cup is my Yeti cup. It literally keeps my coffee hot for hours.
Tip #6: Reusable grocery bags
Pack a reusable grocery or a light weight tote bag. You’ll must likely be doing some type of shopping on your trip, so you’ll need a bag. Planning ahead will eliminate your need for a dreaded plastic bag!
Tip #7: Metal straws
Pack a metal straw for you and everyone in your family. My family loves metal straws! We even have some that have colored silicone tip for sipping. My kids like those the best because they know who’s is who’s by the color. The set below is great because it has a cleaner and carrying bag.
Tip #8 Reusable produce bags
Pack lightweight mesh bags to carry snacks and produce on the go. They can also double as holders for socks and underwear or dirty clothes on the way home. I have the set below. It has three different size choices. The bags are great for produce and really storing anything. I also use the small ones to wash dedicates in the washing machine.
Tip #9 Bring your own snacks
Bring your own healthy snacks with you, packed in reusable containers. On your way back stop at a local store and stock up on snacks. My husband and I have gotten into this habit when we travel. It takes a lot of stress away for me. I know I have food I can eat (I don’t eat wheat or soy) and I know I have snacks for my kids if they get grouchy or bored.
Further reading for plastic facts: