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5 Simple Ways To Travel Responsibly With Kids

As we learn more about the impact travel has on the world and its cultures, many people are looking for experiences that will leave less of a footprint while also providing a more authentic and enriching experience.

The latest buzz phrases “sustainable travel” and “responsible travel” and all that attaches to them can make traveling as such a daunting endeavor, especially with kids. But, there are a few simple ways you can make your trips more responsible and more fulfilling. 

Buy Local

One of the easiest ways to travel responsibly is to give back to the local economy. We’re not talking hand-outs here. Rather, when shopping, dining and touring, use local purveyors. Not only are you helping to support local industry, you are also getting a more authentic experience.

Buy local

Follow Local Customs

Do a little research before you go so you know what the customs and traditions are. Sometimes, participating in these are the most memorable experiences.

Immersing yourself in local culture offers a great education and, often, a lot of fun. Kids will likely get a kick out of having to take off their shoes before entering a restaurant in Japan. Who wouldn’t want to try their hand at feeding the cows when staying in a local village?

Embracing (and adhering to) local culture and tradition in Morocco by covering our arms and legs.
Embracing (and adhering to) local culture and tradition in Morocco by covering our arms and legs (and my pregnant belly).

Take Re-fillable Water Bottles

If the place you are traveling to has tap water that is safe for drinking, bring along your own water bottles and fill them from the tap. If you can’t use tap water, you can still bring your own bottles.

Buy a big 5 liter jug at the grocery store and then refill from that. At a minimum, you’ll cut down on the amount of plastic being used and you’ll save money while you’re at it. Save the world, save your wallet!

Bus, Bike, Boat, Metro!

Take the bus or metro, rent a bike, hop on a ferry, flag down a rickshaw. Depending on where you are, there may be other ways of getting around that will leave less of a carbon footprint. Often times, they’re also a lot more fun than piling into a car or taxi.

Rental Bikes In SF

Help Preserve the World’s Natural Beauty

An easy way to help preserve our planet is to pick up trash, and not just your own. Some friends of ours take a small plastic bag with them whenever they go on a hike or head to the beach so that they can collect any trash they come across. They’ll later dispose of it in a bin or recycling container. Kids learn about conservation, preservation, recycling, and that small acts can make positive contributions to improving our world.

Help preserve our natural heritage. Pick up and dispose of any trash you come across while hiking, strolling on the beach or playing at a local park.
Help preserve our natural heritage. Pick up and dispose of any trash you come across while hiking, strolling on the beach or playing at a local park.

Simple Ways to 5 Simple Ways to Travel Responsibly With Kids** This post was also shared over on Walking on Travels and Suitcases & Sippy Cups, where you can find more great travel tips.

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(7) Comments

  1. Katie

    I think these tips could apply with or without kids – all great tips! I especially like to shop local when I travel (and at home). I find I get better quality items and a better experience dealing directly with locals! We always travel with a refillable bottle as well!

    1. Kara Suro

      Nice work traveling with refillable bottles! And, I totally agree that shopping locally means better quality products and a better experience. Plus, you can usually find things that are much more unique than in the big box or tourist stores.

  2. Mary {The World Is A Book}

    Great ideas and post, Kara! It takes a bit of effort to travel responsibly but makes quite a lasting impact on our kids. I’m glad schools these days started promoting the concepts of reduce, reuse, recycle which my kids have applied when traveling. Love that picture of you gals in Morocco!

    1. Kara Suro

      Thanks, Mary. It does take some effort, but it’s so minimal in comparison to the payoffs!

  3. Michele {Malaysian Meanders}

    What a great set of tips. When we were in Cambodia, I explained to my own children that we wouldn’t be giving money to the beggars, especially the ones who should be in school, and instead be contributing to the local economy by buying locally and giving nice tips to people who were working. When we were in Tibet, my teen found the local custom of not stepping on doorway thresholds quite interesting as the thresholds at temples were rather high and wide, making stepping over them a bit of a challenge.

    1. Kara Suro

      Good for you. We follow the buy local, tip for work philosophy as well. Interesting custom in Tibet. I can imagine how challenging that would be with little legs!

  4. Our Family Travel Essentials – Our Whole Village

    […] where it is not advisable to drink tap water, carrying a re-usable water bottle is simple way to travel more responsibly. We got a couple of these Vapur bottles at the Family Travel Association summit. My daughters loved […]

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