Hello my eco-conscious parents!
As school holidays are upon us again, what better time to go on a sustainable family adventure that is unforgettable, eco-tastic and utterly Instagram-worthy?!
As a seasoned parent of three and a sustainable travel enthusiast, I have a few tips up my sleeve to share with you. Here are my top tips on planning a family trip that’s not just a hoot for the whole crew but also a high-five for the environment:
Go local or go home
When picking your family vacay spot, think local! Choosing a destination closer to home means less travel time, less fuel consumption, and more chances for impromptu family sing-alongs. Plus, taking the time to explore your own local spot can lead to some surprising hidden gems that your kids will adore (and can easily be revisited again).
All aboard the eco-train
If you are feeling a bit more adventurous like me, and want to choose a vacation spot that is a bit further away, consider taking the train or bus. They’re more environmentally friendly than flying or driving, and the journey can be a great bonding experience for the family. Just imagine the stories your kids will have about their epic bus adventure (plus the “Wheels on the bus” sing-alongs)!
Rest your heads on eco-friendly beds
Peter Chapman, General Manager of Marketing and Sales at Reflections Holiday Parks, suggests looking for eco-friendly accommodations when booking your stay.
These accommodations often have features such as energy-efficient lighting, low-flow showerheads, and recycling programs. Peter says, “Many of our cabins and tiny homes at Reflections parks are eco-friendly; this is something we are incorporating into our newer accommodation builds for future projects.”
On our recent family trip, we also stayed at a hotel that is ‘Green-Focused’, not only did my kids love staying in a place that feels like an extension of their earth-loving home, but I also felt great about making a conscious choice.
Pack like an eco-ninja (Pack light!)
Challenge your family to pack light and pack green – because every ounce counts, both for your luggage and the planet! You might be surprised to learn that your packing choices can actually impact your carbon footprint. So, before you toss in that extra pair of hiking boots, remember that the heavier the plane, the more fuel it needs to burn, as GreenGuides.net points out in their sustainable travel tips.
Encourage your clan to bring reusable items like water bottles, cloth napkins, and travel-friendly food containers. Choose eco-friendly toiletries and opt for multi-purpose items to minimise waste. Try your best to keep it light, and make those packing choices count for a greener, more sustainable adventure!
Reusable items for the eco-win
As I just mentioned, not only can bringing reusable items make an impact on your travel footprint, but bringing items like water bottles and coffee cups to avoid using disposable items is also the way to go towards sustainability.
This is something that Reflections Holiday Parks always reiterate to their campers on site – because who doesn’t love the three R’s: reduce, reuse, and recycle? By embracing reusable items, you’re teaching your kids to be eco-champions, and you’ll be giving a high-five to our planet with each sip and slurp!
Live like a local
When you arrive at your destination, support the local economy by eating at family-owned restaurants and buying local products. This not only helps the community but also reduces your environmental footprint.
Walk, bike, or bust
Opt for walking, biking, or public transportation while exploring your destination. Not only is this more sustainable, but it’s also a fantastic way to experience the local atmosphere and create unique memories with your kids. I am sure they’ll never forget the bonding experience of a bike ride with you through the countryside.
Pick eco-tastic activities
Choose activities that teach your kids about the importance of protecting the environment. Visit national parks, wildlife reserves, or local conservation projects. Opt for low-impact activities like hiking, bird-watching, or snorkeling, and avoid those that harm animals or the environment. Educate your kids and teach them to love being eco-heroes!
Leave only footprints (and maybe some laughter)
Teaching your kids to respect the environment by following Leave No Trace principles is an essential part of sustainable travel.
Dispose of waste properly – as Peter from Reflections Holiday Parks says, they encourage their guests to “leave no trace” by providing adequate bins and recycling outlets. In addition, avoid feeding wildlife and stay on designated trails.
Encourage your kids to be mindful of their surroundings and to leave nature as fabulous as they found it.
Use your sustainable family trip as an opportunity to educate your kids about the importance of eco-friendly living. Discuss the environmental impacts of your travel choices, share stories about the local ecosystems, and inspire them to make a difference in their daily lives back home, all while having a blast.
Share and inspire
Encourage your kids to share their sustainable travel experiences with friends, classmates, and teachers. This can help to spread awareness about the importance of environmentally friendly travel and inspire others to follow in their eco-conscious footsteps.
Not planning to go away during the holidays but still keen to get your kids excited about sustainability? Here are some great ideas:
Go on a nature walk
Get those little legs moving and take a stroll through your local park or nature reserve. Turn it into a scavenger hunt for eco-friendly items like leaves, twigs, and even litter. This is a great opportunity to educate your kids about the importance of preserving nature and keeping our planet clean.
Plant a tree or a garden
Planting trees and gardens helps combat climate change, provides habitats for wildlife, and can even be a fun activity to do as a family.
Plus, you’ll have an ongoing, living reminder of your eco-friendly efforts (Yay!).
Make arts and crafts from recycled materials
Collect some of those pesky empty toilet paper rolls, egg cartons, and plastic bottles, and let your kids’ creativity soar.
You can make bird feeders, pencil holders, or even fashionable, upcycled jewelry. Who knew being sustainable could be so chic?
Don’t stress if you really aren’t the artsy type, there are a lot of ideas on Pinterest that can ignite some imagination!
When we teach our kids to love and protect this beautiful planet we call home, let’s also remind ourselves of the magic that lies in every eco-friendly choice we make. And remember, together we are planting the seeds of change, one reusable water bottle and one unforgettable family adventure at a time.