The Future of Traveling – Sustainable Travel
Travel is essential, and most people see the need to gain organic experiences from foreign places; According to the World Tourism Organization, tourism is one of the largest and fastest-growing sectors globally.
As per Our World in Data, from 1950 to 2019, the world population increased from 2.5 billion to 7.7 billion, or by 208%. On the other hand, annual tourists rose from 25 million in 1950 to 1.4 billion in 2018, which is 5500% of the astounding growth rate in the tourism industry.
My multicultural family has always been a frequent flyer on both business and personal reasons. My daughters and I had our first trip when she was six months old. However, engaging much research in environmental studies after moving to Spain. Being a meaningful traveler is not just about speaking the local language, trying the local food, and being polite to people.
Meaningful travel is also about protecting the local community and nature, lessening your impact on the environment, and promoting sustainable tourism and responsible travel.
What is sustainable travel?
Sustainable travel means finding a balance and positive relationships among tourism, nature, local community, and economy without harming the cultural environment.
Travelers should be aware of pollution levels caused by travel and how that impacts the environment and wildlife. Understand how tourism may affect the local people, businesses, and native cultures.
Where it is not suitable for the local people is most likely not good enough for tourism. Therefore sustainable travel can create a healthy ecosystem and economic advantage for the environment and the local community, such as building the infrastructure to support tourism.
As of 2020, several locations worldwide are beginning to experience overconsumption of natural resources, waste pollution caused by over-tourism. The local community faces the challenge of managing plastic pollution, food waste, water pollution, and carbon emission. In some cases, tourism creates harmful-wildlife interactions or even tourism phobia that forces local residents to relocate.
Most climate experts would repeat protecting nature and the environment is the key to all our future actions. Tourism alone is responsible for 8% of the World’s carbon emissions. Statistics continued to predict a growing number in tourism. If the industry doesn’t take action to reduce carbon footprint and shifts to sustainable behavior. The consequences to the environment and human life could be devastating.
An Essentials Guide for Little Sustainable Travelers
Travel with little explorers offers educational opportunities that no one can take away from them. Each unique experience brings your kids pieces of knowledge that they may not learn in school, and every knowledge is an element of becoming an individual with a global mindset. However, packing for a family can cause anxiety and stress. Most parents know that traveling with young children demands more packing than any other age group.
Learning how to downsize the pieces of luggage isn’t always easy. There is no one-size-fits-all packing method for families since most people demand a different level of needs. However, regardless of where you are traveling, there are always some tips to make your travel experience more sustainable.
Follow these three simple rules and slowly adapt yourself to a new packing technique:
Avoid single-use product
Small isn’t always better in some situations. For example, travel-size toiletry is lightweight but often results in a large amount of waste. Alternatively, you can bring toiletries from home filled with reusable containers.
Less is more
Quick-dry and light material clothes. Schedule a laundry visit during the trip if necessary. Instead of bringing a few pairs of shoes, get one multi-purpose shoe. Differentiate “nice to have” and “must-have”, keep your belonging under the “must-have” category. Remember to leave a reusable bag with you for a sustainable shopping experience.
Reduce chemical used
Reduce chemicals used in consumable products such as non-environmental friendly sunscreen. Some of the chemical substances can enter the environment through air, soil, and water.
In conclusions, these are the questions to ask ourselves:
- Distinguish between” nice to have” and” must-have!”
- Can any item be replaced with a lighter material?
- Can any single-used product be replaced with reusable ones?
- Finally, what are the special travel items that are better to have during the journey to keep children safe? Such as general medicine, foldable travel chair, or car seat.
Top 10 Essential Travel Items for The Little Sustainable Traveler
Traveling is fun, but when it comes to packing for a little sustainable traveler is different. Small children require more gear than most adults, and parents cannot always count on a hotel or local destinations.
Before starting packing, take your time to think through the daily essentials and try to take notes. Take a visually clear, and organized note can help you to have an effective and efficient packing process.
There are four categories of essentials to organize:
- Parent’s carry on bag
- Children’s carry on bag
- Family’s check-in luggage
- Larger equipment (if needed)
1. Adult Backpack
Whether you are going on a road trip, travel on air, or a camping weekend, water-resistant backpacks are essentials. If you wish to avoid bringing a large stroller, a child carrier backpack is strongly recommended.
2. Children’s backpack
Based on our traveling experiences, a light backpack for children is more accessible than a bag with wheels. I have always ended up lifting the roller bags myself. Also, it is quite inconvenient to carry through cobblestone streets and escalators for little children.
Another benefit of giving your children a backpack is that it gives them a sense of traveling and a responsibility to take care of their own belongings, such as comfy toy, pillow, and blankie.
3. Waterproof Storage Bag
children are extremely easy to get messy, wet, and dirty. Instead of storing your essentials in a single-used plastic zip log bag, we can always replace it with a reusable waterproof bag.
Other than children’s essential, reusable waterproof storage bags are also useful to store dirty clothes, extra clothes, and critical documents such as passports.
Handkerchiefs certainly play a more environmental-friendly role coming from a production perspective. It takes three times the amount of energy to produce pulp for tissue, compared to a cotton handkerchief.
Replace single-use tissues and wet wipes with a handkerchief or waterproof bibs; All parents know that traveling with young children is extremely difficult to rely on a handkerchief, especially for the unhygienic concern.
You will encounter several opportunities simply just to clean the toys, table, or dry hands after washing. A handkerchief will come in handy at the moment. Of course, if you are blowing your children’s nose, the best option is still using the tissue paper, putting it away and wash hands immediately.
5. Reusable Water Bottles
Children will be drinking plenty of water during the trip. Therefore, bringing a travel size reusable water bottle instead of buying new plastic water bottles along the way is definitely more eco-friendly. It helps the environment to use fewer resources, and emit less harmful gas.
6. Reusable Cutlery & Straw
According to the New York Times, 3.8 million trees enter the manufacture to create approximately 57 billion disposable pairs of chopsticks in China; Forbes says, “The World throws away around 40 billion plastic utensils per year.
A cutlery set is often considered too contaminated and lightweight to recycle again. Most of them end up becoming a single-use waste that is damaging the environment.
In the early years, plastic cutlery was considered reusable until the post-war economy boomed. Therefore, regardless of which materials of reusable cutlery you have chosen for your little sustainable traveler, the main goal is to use as many times as possible to reduce waste utensils’ consumption.
7. Reusable Changing Pad/Mat
Having toddlers can also mean changing diapers around the clock. Choosing a reusable travel changing mat can make your travel experience more sustainable.
When you are traveling and need a sudden change of your little kids’ diaper, Skip Hop lightweight, and stylish portable changing mat can be a game-changer. It becomes a clutch when folded up. When it’s unzipped, the storage pocket allows storing essentials like cream, wipes, or clean diapers.
8. Reusable Formula Dispenser
With a baby formula dispenser, you don’t need to spend as much time preparing meals for your little one. Choose a reusable milk powder dispenser rather than the single-use plastic storage bags. It is convenient and environmentally friendly. Some of these plastic containers can also be used as a container for snacks.
9. Travel Toys and Games
Bringing a few entertaining travel toys for kids can make the difference for parents during the commute time. Keep your little traveler fingers busy by offering a puzzle book, mess-free coloring games by Crayola.
Our favorite coloring game is the water-doodle book. Remember being a responsible traveler, we have to respect foreign destinations. Try to bring mess-free materials to avoid leaving your little one’s creativity or small parts behind.
Replace digital tablets with children’s books or board games to reduce individual energy consumption.
10. Portable Travel Bed
Traveling with a young child doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Jetkids by Stokke ride-on-carry-on bed box is a popular item to keep your children entertained and to put your children to travel more comfortably.