Traveling with kids: Earth-friendly travel gear

It's not always easy to be environmentally friendly when traveling, whether you're traveling with kids or without. (Just getting on a plane or in your car means you're using fuel and causing some kind of pollution!) However, it is possible to choose travel-gear that helps you be more "green". Here are some suggestions:

1. Reusable water bottles
I love my reusable water bottles. They come along for hikes in the woods, in the car, and starting this year I am also going to bring it along on flights. Some airports have even installed water-filling stations, specifically for people who bring their own bottles, rather than buy bottles of water that then end up in the garbage. Sometimes I know I'll have to make sure that bottle is empty before we go through security, but that's a minor inconvenience.

2. Litterless juice-boxes
I don't get on a plane with my kids without two of these in my hand-luggage. It's a great way for the kids to drink their juice or water on board, without worrying about spills. They're also handy because they make it possible to save a drink for later in your hand-luggage.

3. Reusable snack containers
These are great for bringing along your kids' favorite snacks from home, rather than buying snacks at the airport (where they will definitely cost more). They also help protect snacks from getting crushed and squashed when you're carrying them. There are lots and lots of brands, and not only in plastic: some snack containers come in stainless steel as well.

4. Travel-sized containers for toiletries
Instead of buying travel sized products, it makes a lot more sense to me to put my favorite products from home into reusable, travel-sized containers. Kids' shampoo, conditioner, my shampoo, hair-care products, body lotion, facial cleanser... once I start packing these items, it seems there's no end to how many of those little bottles I need. Just wash them out when they're empty and use them again and again! There are even travel sized, refillable spray bottles you can use for your favorite perfume.

5. A greener charger for your electronic devices
These days, most of us travel with several electronic devices and charging the batteries in all of them is always an issue when you're on the road. (For example, if you're traveling out of the country, you might need an adapter in order to recharge your phone, or other electronics.) For example, the IDAPT I1eco Universal Charger, does look good:
  • it's made from recyclable materials
  • it automatically shuts off when the devices are charged, so it wastes less power
  • it has interchangeable tips so it's compatible with several devices
  • you can plug it into the car, a usb port, or the wall
  • it charges two devices at the same time 
There are also solar chargers that uses sunlight to power up your devices. One product is the sCharger-5. It can be used to run and charge cell-phones, e-readers, iPods, and several other devices.

    6. Safe & effective sun-protection
    Sunscreen is a must, especially if you're heading anywhere near a beach, or anywhere warm and sunny with your kids where their skin will be more exposed. Most sun-screens do contain very long lists of chemicals, and not everyone is comfortable using them, especially on young children. The Shopping Mama has a list of the safest sun-screens for kids, that looks very useful. And it also helps if your kids are wearing some clothing for sun-protection: rash-guard shirts and outfits, like Sun Smarties, are a great help when you've got little ones spending time in the sun.

    For some more tips and information about "green" travel gear, you can also check out:

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