Now that the weather is cooling down, many of us might start feeling eager to escape the cold (and stresses of everyday life). While it might be a few months yet before the schedules of every family member will line up, the fact remains that 69% of millennials consider themselves to be adventurous. In other words, you might be itching to do a bit of traveling — or, at the very least, take a break on a relaxing getaway.
But if you’re trying to prioritize cost-efficiency or sustainability, it might seem like a vacation is out of reach. Not so. While you might have to take different considerations into account, you can absolutely enjoy a trip with your loved ones without spending an arm and a leg or doing undue harm to the earth. Here are just a few tips to keep in mind if you want to save green while being green on your next family vacation.
Travel the Smart Way
The way in which you travel can have a big impact on your carbon footprint and on your spending. For instance, traveling through a green airport and booking direct flights can help you to reduce emissions — though it may not always help you keep costs low. You might have to weigh the pros and cons of booking a budget airline; while these aircraft tend to provide transportation for a larger number of passengers, they may also be older models that aren’t as eco-friendly. If you’re able to travel by land instead, that’s going to be more sustainable (and possibly cheaper). Use as much public transit as possible and try to bike or walk once you reach your destination. Don’t forget to pack light! Not only will you save on baggage charges, but you’ll also refrain from weighing down the plane.
Pick the Right Destination
Since 15% of adults and 36% of kids go swimming around six times a year, it’s natural that many families want to ensure that their destination would have plenty of aquatic activities. But when you’re more concerned about costs and green initiatives, you might need to consider other locales. Iceland, for example, is known for its eco-tourism and is surprisingly affordable. The same can be said for Costa Rica and Alaska, while many of our national parks provide eco- and budget-friendly amenities. Of course, you’ll want to research your lodgings in detail to ensure the place you’re staying is as environmentally responsible as possible. Hotels in California, for instance, have been banned from offering plastic mini-toiletries. While some might still have decor made of plastic (like the ones made through reaction injection molding), at least this practice will cut down on some waste. But other options may try to benefit from green marketing without having anything to back it up. Don’t be afraid to take your time (and to set a price alert!) to find a hotel that meets both of these priorities.
Adjust Your Vacation Habits
It’s not only about how you travel or where you stay; it’s also about what you do when you get there. Bringing refillable water bottles with filtering systems will allow you to save money on beverages while staying hydrated and safe, while choosing local eateries over chains will allow you to reduce environmental impact and likely save money. Using slower methods of travel will usually let you do the same. And skipping out on unethical animal interactions can also help you stay on budget and not support organizations that may do harm to the planet and local wildlife. Many free events tend to have less environmental impact, as well.
On top of these, you might consider buying less when you’re at your destination. It can be easy to fall into impulse buys for cute little trinkets to remember your time there. Anywhere from 6 to 10 purchases in a store can be considered an impulse buy. If you refrain from these impulse buys, you can help lower the amount of materials that end up in landfills when you decide to get rid of it. Instead, consider taking more pictures or slimming down your purchases to only one piece of memorabilia per trip.
Traveling as a family isn’t easy — especially when you have budgetary or environmental concerns to think about. But with these tips in mind, you can make sound decisions that will reduce your ecological impact and help you stay on-budget.