Be Eco-Responsible This Summer With Family-Friendly Hacks
Photo by Aline Bloch
I am a globe-trotter, a travel lover, and an exploration addict. Since childhood, I have always traveled. My parents took me to a lot of places and countries, including Morocco, Tunisia, Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey, South Africa, and more. My husband, too, is a nomad; he traveled and lived in South America, Indonesia, and Europe. So, when he asked me to move out of the country 12 years ago, I was thrilled.
I love discovering new cultures and new people, and I love exploring new cities and tasting new foods. Traveling is a top priority, and it’s even more important that we do it with our kids. But living green and traveling can be tricky.
Traveling “green” is absolutely possible; it demands a bit of consideration and organization. Let me help you with this. This summer, I have some tips to help you stay eco-responsible while having fun and enjoying your time off.
Living Green Rule: Ditch the plastic at the picnic
• Keep it simple and homemade
• Buy fresh and local foods
• Wrap tarts and quiches in a towel using the furoshiki wrapping technique with square cloth
• Prepare your salads in individual jars – each person has one and you do not need extra plate!
Living Green Rule: Leave no trace.
• Mosquitoes and bugs love camping, too. Did you know that sage smoke, cedar, and citronella leaves are great natural repellents? If it’s too late: apply honey or banana peel to stop the itch.
• Do you want spiders and ants in your sleeping bag? Peppermint oil is a great repellent for spiders and ants. Drop some around the tent.
• Who likes pancakes for breakfast? You can reuse a ketchup bottle or water bottle to mix your ingredients and shake it!
• The best part of a camp out is scary stories. Add some spooky ambiance with a lantern. Create a nice, bright lantern by reusing a gallon milk jug with a headlamp attached, facing into the jug.
• Pack a bar of castile soap. It washes your dishes, your hands, your body, and your hair. • Bring your travel kit (see above).
• Respect the environment and be sure to recycle properly.
Living Green Rule: Schedule three off-site activities per week.
• Control your energy consumption. Save water as much as possible, open your windows and drapes for natural light, and air-dry your laundry when possible.
• Grill up food – BBQ is the best!
• Hit the road for a day. Find a corner of the state you have not visited yet. Take on a challenge to visit the most places in a month, let the kids color a map, and bring back a meaningful souvenir from all the places you explored.
• Unplug for a day…or two!
• Read “green” books. Borrow or exchange them with your neighbors or at the little free libraries available around the community.
• Plan “green” summer activities for kids. Some ideas are plant a flower, build an ant farm, build a bird feeder using recycled materials, bike or walk while geocaching, try papermaking, have a backyard campout.
Living Green Rule: Keep up your “at home” green habits.
• Bring reusable bags for potential grocery store trips.
• Reuse towels at the hotel – like at home, right?
• Bring your own toiletries. Do not use the mini bottles, the containers end up in a landfill.
• Did you know we each use an average of four plastic cups per flight? Bring your own reusable cup.
• Pack a snack – it’s easier, healthier, cheaper, and greener.
• No straw, no straw, no straw!
My ultimate tip is be conscious that your small actions during your vacation can make a big difference!
Create a green travel kit
Put everything in a cooler and you’re ready to go! You can use this kit for road trips, camping, or picnics.
Reusable water bottle
Reusable cups and plates
Paper bags for trash
Sharp knife Beeswax food wraps Homemade sanitizer
Cutlery set (metal or bamboo, no plastic)
Ball (for play)
“This story was first published in Issaquah Highlands’ Connections news, July 2020”
Take your life to the next level. Adopt little "green habits"