Surprise: It’s November! Do you have your holiday travel plans together yet (spoiler alert: I don’t either). As you figure those out, here are a few quick and easy tips to make your travel experiences a little greener this holiday season.
Pack lightly: Packing less is easy when you plan ahead, and it's more fuel efficient: The less you pack, the less weight you put on your vehicle, and the less fuel you have to use. Check with your hosts or with the hotel to see what they have: Do they have a hair dryer? Tooth paste? Shampoo? Find out what products and cosmetics will be available to you, and pack accordingly. Brainstorm with your travel companions: If you work together, you can share travel items instead of all packing your own. The Go Green Blog recommends paying attention to what shoes you pack; shoes and boots add a lot of weight to bags, so pack sparingly and if possible, try to pack lightweight shoes.
Road responsibility: Traveling by car? Greener Penny advises that you keep your car in tune, tires correctly inflated, and change the oil regularly in the interest of increased fuel efficiency. For the most fuel efficiency, make sure your oxygen sensor is working and keep your air filter clean.
Skip Travel Sized Versions: Reduce waste buy ditching your travel sized cosmetics in favor of full size versions. As with packing light, you can share cosmetics with your travel companions and check in with your hosts to see what cosmetics will be available at your destination. You can also purchase stainless steel travel sized containers to create your own travel cosmetics, or purchase travel sized goods from Healthy Child, Healthy World's list of organic and natural travel sized toiletries.
Clean Hands: Antibacterial hand gel can have a place, and that place is for emergency situations, not everyday use. That said, holiday travel might create some of those emergency situations. A sick seatmate on a plane, a baby who needs to be changed at a rest stop, a rushed schedule that doesn’t allow for a handwashing detour: these are all times when antibacterial hand gel can be helpful, just be smart about which gel you use. This guide from Healthy Child, Healthy World will help you read labels, buy non-toxic alternatives, and even make your own hand gel. Look up hand sanitizers on the Skin Deep Database to find the healthiest, least toxic option for you. If you want to skip the gel, stick to the rules of handwashing: To wash your hands for the correct length of time, sing Happy Birthday twice. Use hot water, properly dry your hands (rubbing them on your pants or shirt doesn’t count), and avoid pesky winter illnesses by washing your hands frequently.
Be Smart About Convenience Foods: Say no to bottled water! It adds up financially, and it adds up in our landfills: Those convenient plastic bottles create 1.5 million tons of plastic every year. Also, the plastic may leech endocrine disruptors, which are linked to early puberty, infertility, and obesity. Filter your tap water and replace plastic water bottles with a stainless steel bottle.
Protect yourself from toxic chemicals, and save money, by investing in a stainless steel water bottle instead. Airports and rest-stops are not legendary for their healthy food, so be prepared and create your own healthy snack sized treats by buying snacks in bulk and packaging them in reusable containers.