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Thursday, July 4, 2013

Waste-Free Vacation Tips

Seems like everyone I know is heading out on vacation soon, so it made me think of the ways we try to tread a little lighter on Mother Nature, when we are traveling. 

First, before you leave home, be sure to adjust your A/C accordingly.  Your wallet will thank you when you return. 

Instead of buying travel-sized shampoos, lotions, etc., just refill the ones you probably have from your last vacation.  There is really no need to go buy "reusable containers".  Just reuse some you have around from your last trip.  I know when we went to Disneyland a few years back my kids loved the "mouse eared" lids on the shampoo at the hotel, so they brought home the empty container, instead of tossing it.  We've been using  that bottle for a few years now, and it works just fine. 

Speaking of packing,  remember that plastic shopping bag you got, when you forgot to take your own reusable bag to the store?  Use it to wrap your shoes.  Once you are on vacation, it can double as a dirty clothes bag.  Finally when you get home, you can take it and recycle it.  

If you are flying, consider the e-ticket option.  That will save you paper (and ink) because you can show your boarding pass on your phone. 

Pack a reusable container with your own snack for the plane, and avoid the little plastic bag of nuts.   While you are dining out, avoid straws and lids on your drinks. 

Bring your own water bottle.  Some people may think it is "too bulky" to pack a water bottle, but we just fill our water bottle with our tooth brush, tooth paste for the plane ride, and unpack it on the other end.  No buying wasteful "disposable" water bottle at our destination.  Yes, plastic water bottles are recyclable, but even recycling takes energy and resources.  Reducing is better!

If you are going somewhere with a pool, make sure to visit the pool a few times before heading out to buy pool toys.  Inevitably, there is a family at the end of their vacation, looking to gift their pool toys to a newly arriving family.  Thank them for their kindness, and at the end of your stay, be sure to pay it forward.  Gift the toys to another family.  We go to the islands every couple of years, and we have been offered toys on every visit.  

Get a deposit in the "good karma" bank.   Every time I go to the beach, I pick up trash.  I do it because I want my kids to understand how important it is to keep nature, well, natural.  One recent trip, the amount of garbage on the beach was disturbing.  I found a plastic bag that someone left, filled it and was heading up to the garbage can.  The beach patrol saw me cleaning up, and thanked me.  He also said, "You're getting good karma!"   I liked that.  Now anytime we are anywhere in nature, my entire family picks up garbage.  We have made it a family goal to leave a place cleaner than we found it.  Hey, we can all use good karma, right?!

Have a safe and waste-free vacation this summer.  We look forward to our turn to explore a new destination!