Using green, reusable products when your family travels will reduce your environmental footprint and keep your destination beautiful. The idea of “leave no trace” is well known with camping and other outdoor activities, so why not apply that to travel as well? Many of the products and ideas described below are practical for family travel, and they can be just as useful at home. From recyclable baby food pouches to reef-safe sunscreens, check out our eco-friendly travel products and see what works for you!
Water Bottles, Utensils, and More
- Bringing reusable water bottles is a great starting point. It’s even better if they’re made from metal, bamboo, or another material besides plastic.
- Go to the next level and bring a set of reusable utensils and straws for your trip. They’re lightweight and compact, making them perfect for travel.
- Transport your reusable utensils in something as simple as a pencil pouch or in a fabric utensil carrying case such as this one from Hovden Formal Farm Wear. Small metal food storage containers like Bento boxes are also lightweight and great for leftovers, carry-out, or street food meals.
- Speaking of food, we all know how amazing those kids’ food pouches are for travel. Be sure to buy from companies like Serenity Kids who have partnered with TerraCycle to help you recycle the pouches for free! Sign up through their website and get the postage-paid return envelope to send back when it’s full.
- Extend the life of your clothes and gear. We all want to look as stylish as possible and have the latest and greatest gear. Is it worth the environmental cost to constantly buy new? Try repairing and repurposing items, and if that’s just not working, consign your items or donate to thrift shops for someone else to love. Better yet, research brands that have their own recycling program. Patagonia’s Worn Wear program helps you learn how to repair one of their Patagonia products, or accepts trade-ins of old items for repurposing. You then receive credit towards a new item, all in an effort to keep textiles out of landfills.
- If you’ll be doing dishes on your travels, bring along these compact, lightweight sheets of biodegradable dish soap found on the Sustainable Travel Store website that can also double as laundry detergent for hand washing small loads!
Bath and Body
- Consider switching to biodegradable, plastic-free bath products like shampoo and conditioner bars. Lush and Unwrapped Life both offer these products. I even tracked down this blog post with a great bar soap storage hack for travel using a couple of cork coasters and a rubber band to ensure maximum life span. Genius!
- Reuse travel-sized containers of face wash, lotions, and other bath products. There’s a saying among avid recyclers that “single-use is abuse.” If possible, refill those little plastic travel containers from your larger sized containers at home before chucking them in the trash or recycling bin.
- Toothpaste tabs or powders that come in eco-friendly packaging, bamboo toothbrushes with plastic-free carriers, and biodegradable dental floss are all great eco-friendly dental hygiene options for travel and daily life.
- If you plan on swimming, especially in natural bodies of water and especially in areas with reefs, be sure your sunscreen is marked as “reef safe.” Some sunscreens contain chemicals that can be harmful to reefs and other aquatic life. Raw Elements is one company offering natural, reef-safe sunscreens for the whole family.
- Toys and entertainment for the kids are a must for those long trips. Try to be conscientious about the toys you buy and avoid copious amounts of packaging. A quick web search will lead you to loads of manufacturers who make great toys. Some use organic materials and dyes with fair trade production methods. Green Toys, for example, makes durable and safe plastic toys from recycled milk jugs. I fell in love with this cute airplane toy!
We at Bébé Voyage love great products and ideas that make traveling as a family a little bit easier and a little more eco-friendly. We hope you give some of these suggestions a try. Let’s show our little ones this amazing planet and teach them how to keep it amazing along the way! Bon voyage!
Feature photo: Associate Editor Liz McEachern Hall