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Zero-Waste Traveling

By Fredrica Syren:

It’s no secret that my family and I enjoy traveling, and I have had people question how green I am if my family travels. We’re a family from two different countries: I am from Sweden and my husband, from the U.S.; so traveling between these two countries always has been part of our lives and always will be. We don’t see an option. Do I wish our families lived closer, somewhere we at least could travel by train? Of course! But, until we’re blessed with a greener traveling option, there are a few tricks for traveling as zero waste as possible:

  • Use electronic tickets for flight, transportation, events, etc.
  • Take public transportation — a bus or train — whenever possible.
  • Bring your own headphones for inflight entertainment.
  • Rent a bike to get around, or walk whenever possible. There is no more fun way to see a city than walking or biking through it, in my opinion. These days, most cities have easy access bikes for rent.
  • Rent an apartment or house instead of a hotel room — Or try HomeExchange.com to exchange homes with another family. This is how we like to travel because we can cook our own food and prepare snacks to take with us when we’re out. This saves money and lots of waste from eating in restaurants. Usually, these homes come with a washing machine, so you stay cleanJ Our kids generally feel a bit more relaxed in a home rather than in a hotel, and they have more space to move around and play.
  • Travel with minimal wardrobe — It’s a fact that most people pack too much, and there is nothing more annoying than lugging around too many big, heavy suitcases when traveling, especially for a family of five. We usually pack clothes for one week and try to pack clothes that can be mixed, so there are more possibilities for changes and matches. Also, think layers for cooler days and nights. Of course, for longer trips I do bring laundry soap so I can wash clothes.
  • If staying in a hotel, decline fresh towels and new sheets.
  • Return plastic key to hotels.
  • Bring your own shampoo, conditioner, soap and lotion.
  • Say no to disposable items — Usually on flights and in hotels, you tend to receive a lot of small, individually packaged items like warm towels, snacks, toothbrushes and shampoos. Most of them are either made of or packed in plastic, so I have a habit of saying no to disposable things.
  • Don’t buy new magazines, books and newspapers for travel — Instead, borrow books from the library, buy used magazines, or download books onto your phone or IPad.
  • Decline newspapers offered on flights.
  • Decline plastic wrapped blankets.
  • For reusable water bottles — Most airports have water filling stations, so it’s easy to say “no thank you” to plastic cups and water bottles. I was not too surprised to learned from Zerowastehome.com that US Airways throws away 1 million plastic cups every 6 hours. And that’s just one single airline!!!
  • Bring snacks in reusable cloth snack bags — Airplane snacks usually are not that great or healthy, so I like to bring lots of snacks in cloth bags to have throughout the travel.
  • Bring lunch when out and about sightseeing and traveling — Eating out can get very expensive and it creates waste, so bringing lunches to be enjoyed when out is a much better idea.
  • Find a local farmers’ market or organic grocery store at your location — I just absolutely love visiting farmers’ markets in different cities and countries, and eating local foods is a fun experience.
  • For grocery shopping, bring reusable shopping bags plus a couple of draw string cloth produce bags — Reusable shopping bags do not take a whole lot of room to pack but are so usable for grocery shopping when traveling. And they eliminate wasteful paper and plastic disposable bags.
  • Bring a zero-waste kit — My kit includes reusable bamboo cutlery, a water bottle, beeswax wrap, a cloth snack bag, a metal straw, cloth napkin and a mason jar with lid.
  • Most important, don’t let you zero waste lifestyle take away from enjoying your trip. Bon Voyage!





About Green Mom

Fredrica Syren, the author and founder of Green-Mom.com, was born in Sweden. Her mother was a classically trained chef who introduced her to many eclectic flavors and skills at a young age. Her mom’s passion for the outdoors and gardening planted the seed for her own love of nature and healthy eating. She received a degree in journalism and has worked as a print, Internet and broadcasting journalist for many years with big businesses within Europe and the United States. After her mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer and she with pre-cancer, Fredrica changed her career to become a full time yoga teacher and activist. A longtime world traveler, foodie and career woman, she was exposed to many facets of life, but nothing inspired her more than becoming a mom. After her first-born, Fredrica began a food blog focusing on local, seasonal, organic & vegetarian dishes. Years of food blogging developed into the cookbook Yummy in My Tummy, Healthy Cooking for the Whole Family. Upon the arrival of her second child, Fredrica founded Green-Mom.com. Her vision was to establish a site providing insight about gardening, home and personal care, baby & child, and of course food & nutrition. Green-Mom.com hosts many talented writers shedding light on ways to incorporate eco-friendly and nutritious practices for busy families. She is an advocate for organic, local and sustainable businesses. Fredrica hopes to inspire social change through her lifestyle, passion and business. Fredrica lives with her husband James Harker-Syren and their three children in San Diego, CA.

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