With spring and summer break just around the corner, there's no doubt that you and your family are dreaming of a vacation. Whether it's a camping trip, a tropical beach getaway, or an adventurous European tour, carving out quality time to get away is one of the best ways to create unforgettable memories with your kids.
As you start brainstorming destinations, itineraries, and packing lists, it can be easy to get caught up in all the details. One of our favorite ways to combat planning overload is to weave one lesson, or theme, through all of the different aspects of your trip. That way, you can narrow your focus, and you can ensure that your kids will learn something valuable in the midst of all the family fun.
This year, we decided that our theme is the environment. What better way to teach kids about taking care of Mother Earth than by incorporating eco-consciousness into a fun-filled vacation?
Here's the good news: We did the work for you — we teamed up with Athleta Girl to bring you a roundup of easy ways to be more environmentally aware on your next vacation.
Here are 6 ways to make your next trip more eco-conscious.
1. Pack smarter, not more
Juggling heavy bags is more than just an inconvenience for your family — every pound counts when it comes to air travel. The more your plane weighs, the more carbon emissions it produces.
Streamline your packing process by focusing on essentials: Think clothing that offers multiple wears, one pair of shoes per family member, and nixing toiletries that can easily be purchased once you land.
When you get to your destination, buying local is a great way to explore the culture. Think of it as an adventure!
2. Bring Your Own Reusable Gear
Even while traveling around the world, there are loads of ways your family can minimize its impact. Bringing your own reusable water bottle instead of buying plastic bottles at the airport and stashing snacks in reusable silicone bags instead of disposable plastic ones are just a few simple ways to respect the environment and keep waste to a minimum.
3. Choose sustainable style options
When it comes to shopping for vacation wear for your family, go for clothing made with recycled, regenerated, and/or organic materials for the perfect blend of style and eco-friendly function.
Sixty percent of Athleta Girl's styles are now sustainable, which means whether you're packing a fun colorblock one piece or a cozy beachy sweatshirt for your daughter, you'll have plenty of options for eco-friendly fashion.
4. Partake in some beach beautification
If your vacation includes a trip to the beach, add a family beach cleanup to your plans for a dose of sun and sand that'll actually help make the world a better place. Make a game out of it by seeing who can collect the most trash, or join up with a group that organizes beach cleaning efforts.
And during your other beach days, be sure to bring a reusable bag to collect any waste your family might create during your visit. Every little bit helps!
If you don't have a lot of spare time in your itinerary, check out #5minutebeachcleanup, an effort started by Carolina Sevilla, and supported by Athleta. Its mission is to encourage people to spend 5 minutes or (hopefully!) more picking up trash, and to spread the word about what a huge impact such a short activity can have. To top it off, Athleta is amplifying this effort by hosting their own beach and local waterway cleanups this Earth Day, so wherever you end up vacationing, check and see if the local store is participating!
5. Treat your hotel like your home
You don’t wash your towels and sheets every day at home, so no need to do so on vacation! That means skipping daily linen changes and hanging up your towels after each use, which lets cleaning staff know that you’d like to use them again.
Limit air conditioning use when possible, and open the doors and windows to let fresh air in instead. Remember to turn off the TV and lights when leaving the room, and pack up leftover soap and shampoo so you can reuse the plastic bottles in the future.
6. Lay off the layovers
Direct flights don’t just minimize headaches for your family, they're also way better for the environment. Takeoffs and landings create most of an airplane’s carbon emissions, so flying nonstop is the best way to go when it comes to the environment AND your sanity.
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This post is sponsored by Athleta Girl.