So you want to explore the great outdoors and teach your children to appreciate natural resources on your summer vacation? Want to visit a themepark destination without being environmentally careless? All of us can find ways to turn this summertime ritual into an even greener experience with less environmental impact. Here are a few suggestions:
Green Your RV
Yes, most of them guzzle gas (and only get around 10 miles per gallon). But there's a movement of greener RV owners who are increasing fuel efficiency, adding solar panels and doing other innovative things to green the traditional RV experience.
Find Ways to Recycle
Planning ahead with an appropriate container to take along in the car is essential if you want to recycle just like you would with household trash. Unfortunately, many gas stations and restaurants still don't provide recycling bins, which makes it tempting to toss recyclable items into the trash if you don't have a bin in your vehicle. Luckily, more hotels are getting on board with recycling. If the hotel or campground you're using doesn't recycle, let them know why that is important to you as a customer and politely encourage them to start.
Refill Reusable Water Bottles
This is one of those green investments that pays for itself very quickly. Find a BPA-free version of a water bottle that works for each member of your family (ideally two per person) and tote it along everywhere. Support the use of water bottle refill stations in public places.
Pick Food from Local Farmers' Markets or Farms
Seek out a farmers' market in the area where you're vacationing and plan at least some of your meals and snacks around what you find there. Or pick berries, in season, from a you-pick farm. Make your visit a fun part of the vacation experience.
Bring Along Your Entertainment, Maybe Even Souvenirs
If you can reasonably anticipate kids will get bored during travel, bring along the books and games they have instead of buying more on the road. You might even want to consider buying gently used "souvenirs" ahead of time at consignment shops. For instance, when our little princesses visited the themepark where all princesses want to gather, I brought along thrift-store, popular-brand, "princess" pajamas and swimsuits that added to the themed experience
without the themepark price tag. When you do buy new souvenirs, seek out items that fit the same standards you have at home for kid friendly, non-toxic, green items. I realize we all make exceptions, but it's a good goal.