5 Ways to Reduce Your Eco-Footprint and Travel Sustainably With Your Family
Updated: Feb 18
There are around 2.25 billion families in the world, and every single one deserves to be able to travel sustainably!
Sustainable travel means being mindful of your impact on the community, environment, and wildlife. Reducing your eco-footprint and traveling sustainably is still possible with kids! In fact, it’s a great opportunity to teach them about their eco-footprint and how to be respectful when traveling around the world. Let’s look at some tips and tricks for sustainable travel with a family in tow.
1. Only Fly When Necessary
To start, you can reduce your eco-footprint by reducing air travel. We understand flying is necessary for long trips, especially across the ocean. How else are you going to get there? If you’re flying, be mindful of booking non-stop flights.
The majority of emissions from an airplane are from taking off and landing. So, when you have a connecting flight, you are increasing your carbon footprint, unfortunately. You can also check the CO2 levels of flights on Google before you book to find the most sustainable option.
When flying, pack as light as you can. This can be hard with little ones, but try to pack only the essentials to lighten your load on an aircraft for optimum sustainability. Also, if you’re traveling 3 hours or less and can’t find a direct flight, try choosing another form of travel such as driving/ a boat/ or a train.
2. Use Reusable Travel Items When You Can
Getting ready for a trip with kids can be, well, difficult. You’ve got lots to do and not a lot of time. To maintain sustainability, make sure you are packing reusable travel items and containers. For example, instead of grabbing the ready-to-go shampoo and conditioner, purchase reusable bottles that you can fill at home. You’ll also save a buck and extra time on the next trip since you already have them!
3. Buy Practical Souvenirs From Local Artisans
Think of all the times you’ve come home from a trip and ended up with a bunch of stuff you never touched again. This happens A LOT when traveling with kids. So before you end up bringing home stuffed animals or other tourist trap items, try to make sure you’re buying souvenirs that you’ll actually use when you get home. If you do buy souvenirs, buy from local artisans to boost the local economy.
4. Support Local Businesses
Before searching for the nearest Starbucks, remind yourself that you’re practicing sustainable travel. Find a local coffee shop, and support businesses in the area when visiting. This is a great way to increase sustainability when traveling with your family. And most of the time, it’s going to be better than what you’d get at a chain anyway!
One of our core values at IT’S July is supporting local businesses while traveling. Buying local is another great way to educate your kids on different cultures. For example, taking them out to eat at a local restaurant will give them the opportunity to try something new and gain an appreciation for it. When you spend time in local establishments, ask questions! The people running these businesses will know the best places to recommend.
5. Slow Down
When we travel, especially with a family, it’s easy to want to cram a day full of activities. A new trend in travel is slow travel. With remote jobs and schooling becoming more popular, you no longer have to fit an entire vacation into PTO days.
Slow travel is not only good for sustainability, but you will have a better experience. You’ll be less stressed, and you and the kids can actually relax. Trying to jam as much as possible into a trip means using fast transportation and creating more emissions. You will also be likely to forget something and have to buy it, creating more waste. Slow down, stay a while and work on your eco-footprint!
You and your family can travel sustainably if you wish, it is not too complicated. Pack light, shop at local businesses, and take the time to slow down. Travel is an incredible opportunity to educate your kids about sustainability while gifting them a new life experience. When you travel with your kids, you’re making core memories and connections that will shape the rest of their lives, and that they’ll never forget.