We’re finally in March, which means spring is coming! And for families with school-age children, that means Spring Break! Woohoo! With a week or two time off from school, it’s a perfect opportunity to take a family vacation. But going on vacation doesn’t mean you have to put your greenproofing efforts on hold. It can be more challenging to be green and healthy, since vacations often mean more meals are eaten out and we have less control over our living environment, but there are things that you can do to reduce your exposure to toxins during your vacation, as well as minimize your eco-footprint.
Here are my top 5 tips for having a green holiday:
- Bring reusable food and beverage containers and cutlery (ideally stainless steel or other plastic-free options): When our family goes on vacation, no matter where we’re going, we always bring a set of reusable food and beverage containers, including stainless steel food containers, water bottles, and cutlery, as well as some cloth snack bags. These items are useful as takeout boxes and to carry snacks and water around. I find having reusable beverage containers is especially important, as it cuts down our use of plastic water bottles and containers, including on airplanes. Instead of getting a plastic cup for our water and other beverage, we simply ask for our stainless steel water bottles or thermoses to be filled up.
- Pack your own food and own personal care products: When youpack your own food and snacks and your own personal care products, you have a lot more control over what goes into and onto your body. I especially like to bring some of my homemade ultimate cereal mix so that I am guaranteed to have a healthy breakfast at least some of the time.
- Ask about food additives when eating out. Restaurants often use additives such as monosodium glutamate (or MSG), which is an excitotoxin and can overstimulate our nervous system, to make their food taste better. Many people have headaches, nausea, rapid heartbeat and other symptoms when they are exposed to MSG. And unfortunately, MSG is not only found in Chinese food, it’s found in many processed foods such as canned foods, bouillon cubes, prepared gravy, and salad dressings. They’re also often found in fast food restaurants. When ordering food, ask your server if MSG is used in any of their ingredients, including their sauces and seasonings.
- Choose eco-friendly hotels. If you’re staying in a hotel, look for one that is taking steps to be greener and to reduce their eco-footprint. One way to do that is to look for a hotel that is participating in the Green Key Global Eco-Rating Program, a program that measures the property’s impact on the environment, community, cultural-heritage, and the local economy. Depending on how the hotel is doing each of these areas, they are assigned up to five green keys.
- Shop consciously. When you’re making purchases during your trip, whether it’s a gift for someone else or for yourself, try to shop consciously by choosing fair trade products that come from nature and made of sustainable materials, and buying only what you need.
Do you have other tips to share on how to greenproof a vacation? Share them with us in the comments section below!