Green Travel Family Vacations
The main goal of green family travel is to reduce your negative impact on the environment. In order for hotels and resorts to be considered “green”, they must recycle and reduce waste production, practice efficiency when it comes to energy, appropriately manage and maintain waste and usable water in their facility, and use and purchase green products.
When researching lodging to take your family on a green travel family vacation, it is important to know how long the establishment has been “green”, and what pro-environmental standards they actively have in place.
Staying Green Outside Your Home
A fool-proof method of doing your part to maintain your green lifestyle while on vacation is to continue to do as you would at home. Green family travel starts before you step out of the house. For example, no matter which green method of travel you choose, always pack lighter.
Pack and organize everything you would like to carry with you on the trip, and then cut the load in half. It may seem like a sacrifice or burden, but the less weight you contribute on the trip, the less fuel will be utilized, and the less carbon emissions will be released into the atmosphere. Leave assorted equipment at home; you can always rent camping or skiing equipment at the resort.
When journeying to your green travel family vacation destination, utilize a carbon calculator to reduce carbon emissions if traveling by car. You can rent an eco-friendly automobile from a vehicle rental company. Whether traveling by car or airplane, keep the kids entertained with “green” books or games. Compared to an airplane, traveling by train uses half the energy per mile, per passenger, and you can take advantage of the scenic route that train travel can provide.
Assuming most hotels and resorts provide fresh linen and daily laundry services, your sheets and towels will be clean upon your arrival. Since you don’t launder your towels and bed linens every single day at home, why would you do it away from home? If your hotel does not offer the option of reusing your towels during your stay, notify housekeeping that you are electing to reuse your towels. Doing this will save water and energy on your part during your green travel family vacation.
Another way to save water in a more direct manner is to turn off the water faucet while brushing your teeth or shaving, and reduce the time you spend in the shower. You can bring your own personal hygiene products like shampoo, conditioner, and soap to conserve the resort’s resources. Even if you decide to utilize the amenities that the hotel provides, ask housekeeping to restock these products only if you have run out, rather than daily.
Other ways to lighten your eco-footprint during green travel family vacations:
- Remember to turn off all lights, unplug personal electronics, and turn off appliances that you are not using while in the room, and especially when you leave the room
- Close the curtains when you are not in the room to keep a comfortable temperature despite the air condition being turned off
- Reuse cups and water bottles throughout the trip to lessen waste, and have plastic and paper articles recycled when you are done with them
- Walk or use public transportation or carpool during your trip
Acknowledge and explain your green family travel habits to your children as you are practicing them. You can make a game out of making a checklist of green things to do before leaving the hotel room, and have your child read them aloud as you perform the tasks, or vice-versa, considering safety and at your discretion.
While it may not seem that such minor habits can possibly have a great impact on a macro-environmental level, keep in mind that every little green thing you do will add up over time. You are inevitably making eco-deposits into your green bank each time your conserve and recycle.