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The tidepools at cabrillo National Monument

Green Travel Tips

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“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.      It’s not.” -The Lorax

The underlying lesson in Dr. Seuss’ book, The Lorax, is a message I hope to instill in my children regarding the environment. I admit I wasn’t as eco-friendly until I had kids. So I’m glad they are much more environmentally aware at an early age.

We try to lead by example so the kids will learn these conservation values that will hopefully stay with them into adulthood. Travel is fun and educational but it should also be responsible.  Here are a few green travel tips to show the kids that small efforts can make a difference to reduce our impact on the environment when traveling and be responsible global citizens.

Become Junior Rangers

One of the things we love about the National Park Service’s Junior Ranger program is its emphasis on protecting and preserving our natural and cultural resources. My kids love participating in this program and enjoy earning the badges through activities like picking up trash and recycling. The program does a wonderful job of reminding kids to “Explore, Learn, Protect.

>>Learn more about vacations to National and State Parks.

Bad Water Basin in Death Valley National Park

Our nation’s lowest elevation at the Bad Water Basin in Death Valley National Park.

Be A Responsible Tourist

We have participated in beach clean-ups at home so my kids have seen what litter does to beaches and creeks. When traveling, make sure your trash is put in the right place and recycle whenever possible. Leave things the way you left them when hiking or exploring tide pools and beaches and stay on designated trails.

Reusing is in

Many hotels we’ve stayed at highly encourage guests to reuse their towels and sheets. Use up all the hotel toiletries provided or bring them home and reuse. Buy gallon-sized water containers and refill your reusable water bottles. Bring your reusable bags from home. They’re easy to pack. Most grocery stores, especially in Europe, charge for plastic bags now. So, reusing also saves you money.

>>Read about Hilton Worldwide’s Sustainability Policies.

Hilton amenities

You can reuse your towels and robes by placing them on the hooks in the bathroom and your sheets by not opting for changes every day.

Reduce your Carbon Footprint

Walk or use as much public transportation as possible when sightseeing. Wandering through the city or doing walking tours is a great way to explore any place. Public transportation is a wonderful way to experience how the locals live. Check on kid-friendly bike tours.

Read With Kids About How to Help

Read books before the trip or bring them on the plane or road trip. Books are great reminders and motivators. In addition to The Lorax, this is a great list of earth-friendly books.

Go Digital

Check-in with paperless plane tickets. If possible, download your boarding passes to your smartphones. Use digital maps and guides, which are typically more up-to-date. My kids have learned to share maps and brochures taking only the ones we can’t get online. Recycle your paper afterwards.

Go digital with one of the various mapping apps on your smartphone.

Go digital with one of the various mapping apps on your smartphone.

Conserve Like Home

Save energy by turning off the lights, TV, air conditioning or heater when stepping out of your room like you would at home. Keep showers short and turn off the water/faucet when not in use.

It’s never too early to teach kids that their green actions matter and are valuable life lessons. Our kids are taught to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle in schools and homes but these are also important reminders when traveling. We’d all like to think we’re going to leave the world in a much better place.

What are some of your green travel tips? Please share with us in the comments.

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Mary lives in San Diego, California with her husband, 13 year-old daughter and 10 year-old son. She was born in the Philippines, grew up in the U.S. territory…

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