It can be hard to minimise waste while travelling. However, these tips make travelling plastic-free totally possible.
Plastic Free July: 7 tips to reduce plastic when travelling with kids
Travelling can be tricky with tiny tots, and more often than not we end up buying single-use items without thinking of the consequences. However, with practice and planning, travelling plastic-free is totally possible.
As schools start educating our little ones on the importance of looking after the world around them, it’s super important to teach that lesson at home too.
Unfortunately, without all the comforts of home, it can be hard to minimise waste while travelling – holidays often leaving us feeling guilty about the single-use plastics we indulged in while on ‘break’.
Thankfully, there’s a world of products coming out that make it much easier to have a trash-free trip.
Although it may require more thoughtful packing, it’s a price we are willing to pay for plastic-free oceans and conscious kiddies.
Here are our tips to help you reduce plastic when travelling with kids.
1. Bring a bottle
It might seem simple, but bringing a bottle with you on holiday is one of the easiest ways to reduce single-use plastic abroad.
As long as it’s empty, you can bring it on a plane, and if you have a picky drinker in the family, they will be able to pack their long-time favourites.
Pro tip: If you’re headed somewhere with unreliable drinking water, look for a bottle with a built-in filter or water purifying system.
You’ll avoid any potential problems from dirty water and save money, as well as preserve the beauty of your destination.
What’s not to love?
Best to buy: If you don’t want to take any chances, reviews suggest you should go no further than the GRAYL purifiers, which have been used and approved in places like India.
There are a couple of colour options to choose from and as an added bonus, they donate a minimum of 1% from every sale to environmental charities and non-profits.
2. Pack some headphones
Nowadays, it’s pretty much a given that your plane will have an entertainment system loaded with movies and games, and they usually come with complimentary and pre-packaged headphones.
Bundled in plastic, keeping clean and green is child’s play when you bring your own.
Pro tip: For the most part, airplane entertainment systems can’t connect to Bluetooth, so wireless headphones are a no go.
Make sure to bring earphones that you can plug in, or an AUX cord that’s compatible with your chosen pair.
Best to buy: The RockPapa headphones come in tons of colours for kids and are an affordable price.
You can order them on Amazon, who currently has a sustainable shipments policy in place to start reducing its carbon emissions.
3. Select your snacks
Reducing your waste can really come down to simply being more careful with the snacks you pack or purchase.
Try your best to shop locally or visit markets when you’re abroad, as they are far less likely to contribute to plastic production and throwaway packaging (as opposed to a supermarket or convenience store).
Plus, shopping at local businesses is a great way to support the community and experience everyday life in your destination.
Pro tip: Bring your own shopping bags.
Folding down to pocket size, there are plenty of easy-to-pack bags out there, which means you won’t have to resort to a throwaway carrier bag.
Best to buy: Flip and Tumble have a range of cute foldable bags with plenty of prints to choose from.
The foldaway pouch doubles as a compartment for keys, phones and wallets, and the non-slip strap is ideal for a day of browsing market stalls.
4. Coastal cleanups
It’s not a holiday if you don’t head down to the sand and enjoy the sun and surf, so why not leave it better than you found it?
Even if it’s just a case of ‘taking three for the sea’, picking up the plastic you find washed up on the shoreline can make such a difference, not to mention a fun challenge for any bored kiddies along the way.
Pro tip: If you plan to do any kind of beach cleanup on your travels, it’s always worth packing gloves to protect any little hands.
5. Purchase products that care
Instead of stocking up on all the (plastic) minis or using the hotel’s micro amenities, try to pack some greener alternatives that aren’t going to end up as landfill.
Bar soap is a great way to get started, and environmentally conscious items such as bamboo toothbrushes are an awesome idea to keep everything clean and green.
Pro tip: To stop bar soap getting sticky in the toiletries bag, invest in a soap tin or case to keep it dry. Reusable zip lock bags are another great product for this kind of job, keeping everything separate and dry as you go from place to place.
Best to buy: Created by Australia’s sweetheart, Zoe Foster Blake, the Gro-To range for tiny tots is ‘worry-free’ and eliminates all those silicones, parabens and petroleum products that are bad for the world at large.
The company is also carbon neutral, cruelty-free and working towards using completely sustainable-certified palm oil, so you can be sure you’re supporting a company that cares about our planet.
6. Better baby supplies
When you’re travelling with a baby, there is so much to pack and plan that the last thing you’re thinking about is how big your carbon footprint is.
Fortunately, there are lots of brands out there that are doing their best to make biodegradable baby products that are as easy to use and travel with as their plastic alternatives.
Contrary to what you might think, you don’t need to get down and dirty with cloth diapers to reduce the plastic you put out into the world.
Pro tip: Give yourself a good amount of time before a holiday to stock up on green bits and bobs for babies, as lots of products are only sold online or at select stores.
You’ll thank yourself later when you don’t have to pay for express shipping the day before you’re due to leave.
Best to buy: The all-Australian Ecoriginals is based in Byron Bay, producing diapers and wet wipes that are the best of the best when it comes to eco-disposable baby supplies.
Their nappies have been rigorously tested by CSIRO and are made from plant-based materials, with an estimated six-month decomposition as opposed to a normal nappy’s 500 years.
7. Choose conscious companies
While it’s impossible to travel without making any impact on the Earth, by booking with companies that are doing their part you can definitely reduce your family’s footprint.
For example, Qantas encourages customers to carbon offset their flight and they’ve pledged to be plastic-free by the end of this year – those are both amazing initiatives to support and well worth thinking about when it comes to deciding on who you’re going to fly with.
You can also look out for responsible tour operators and hotels with eco-initiatives, so you have peace of mind when you finally head off on your holiday.
Pro tip: Platforms like Tripadvisor have their own environmentally friendly stamps of approval to make it easier for travellers to make greener choices.
Look out for the Tripadvisor GreenLeaders badge on a hotel’s listing page, a scheme that was developed with help from the United Nations Environment Programme.
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