Traveling Green with Kids

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Traveling green with children, it takes effort. I won’t lie to you and say that it isn’t easier to just run through the fast food and splurge but it is wasteful. I know because I’m writing this as my husband navigates the snowy roads and I feel sick from the waste I just threw out from the fast food restaurant (and the chemical processed greasy food). We ordinarily do not get fast food but my green travel planning was lacking for my travel homeward bound.

When we travel there are many tactics I use to employ a green and healthier trip but I have to be forward thinking. Anytime you want to reduce your carbon footprint it helps to think ahead.

1.  Timing is everything! Time the trip to not involve a meal time but rather snacks. The children eat healthy snacks that use little or no packaging while traveling to our destination. Bananas, apples and oranges are great alternatives and healthy. If there’s the urge for something salty choosing to bring a large reusable container for the family to share, cuts down on the packaging waste and it can be used to refill throughout our trip. This helps to green our travel and reduce our carbon footprint. It’s also thrifty.

2. Reusable Water Bottles equal green travel! I can use the stainless steel water bottles for water or organic juice and then wash and continue to use the bottles throughout the trip.  This helps to reduce waste of juice boxes or water bottles while on our trip. This is a very big money saver and it feels good to not add to the plastic bottles in the landfill.

3.  Reusable bags for on the go. I pack my reusable Chico bags and when we make a purchase while traveling I don’t need to use the plastic bag. Simple and small but it makes an impact.

4.  No Hand Sanitizer. Anything toxic is not “green” or safe for my kids. It’s easy to want to squirt their hands and have them rub the germs away but there are safer alternatives. I previously wrote about some safe alternatives and the dangers of triclosan in soap. My preference is For My Kids because my hands feel very clean after using the product.

5.  Reusable Cloth Napkins and Silverware. Yes, pack your own! I know it sounds silly and like a lot of work but really, it’s simple. It means less waste. If you’re final destination has a dishwasher and washer and dryer (like mine recently did) this tip is very achievable. Even opting out of bringing cloth napkins and using the traditional napkins at a restaurant but using as few as possible, makes a difference. It’s about being conscious.

When I plan accordingly to green my travel,  I run into very few problems. On my way home from our recent New Years trip, I did not plan for the trip home. We left at meal time, we we’re in a hurry to get home and not very equipped to deal with the hunger or time. A parent can’t be perfect and do everything right and for the children my lack of planning was gave them a real treat! After seeing the paper, plastic and waste that is thrown into the garbage and the children eat the chemical induced food, my stomach flipped. After reading Best of Mother Earth and seeing her 1996 Hamburger, I know why people should not eat that type of food! After my lack of green travel plans for the trip home, I vowed to write this post and plan more appropriately for the next trip.

Other great sites for green travel tips to help reduce your carbon footprint:

Green Living Ideas

Tree Hugger

Go Green Travel

Real Simple

Geek About.Com

Ideal Bite

8 thoughts on “Traveling Green with Kids”

  1. Cathy Herard

    Love all the ideas for green traveling with kids. If we think ahead it really is easy!

  2. Thanks for this super helpful list! We recently did a major overhaul in our house and have cut down on all of the trash! It’s made a huge difference!!! One of my fave new products we recently found are FABKINS — super cute, embroidered cloth napkins, perfect for on-the-go travel! My kids love ’em since the surfboard, princess, soccer ball designs make them fun, and I love them since they’re reusable and affordable! Plus, they’re great gifts — we shared them this holiday season with friends and family.

    Check them out at

  3. I know what you mean about feeling sick about it when resorting to fast foods. I always feel major guilt after letting my daughter eat fast foods – not just because of the chemicals but the hydrogenated fats etc.


  4. I know what it is like as we have quite a few kids in the family. I love your ideas and will take them t heart.

    yanjiarens last blog post..U.S States using cap and trade system to reduce Co2 emissions

  5. we travel with silverwear and napkins because we often make our own meals, but i confess i hadn’t thought of using them in fast-food restaurants!

    Loris last blog post..What’s in your field bag?

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