7 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Family Holiday

July 29, 2022 in Tips for Travellers and Sustainable Travel

Holidays have the potential to be damaging to the environment, but they also have the potential to be waste-free and eco-friendly; it’s just a matter of making small adjustments. You don’t have to choose between fun and sustainability, as there is plenty of joy to be found in these tips for an eco-friendly holiday with kids.

Have you considered hiring a campervan for your trip? It's the perfect way to camp in comfort, especially when travelling with the whole family. You can hire directly from a private owner for the most sustainable choice. A campervan will provide you with plenty of features and freedom to enable the ultimate eco-friendly trip. 

Goboony travel kids sustainable h2 motorhome eco friendly children campervan

1. Educate them

It’s always best to start young! We recommend teaching your kids about sustainability and the importance of it from a young age, as this normalises it for them. This encourages the right behaviours to the extent that they don’t even have to think about it. 

Explain every sustainable decision you make so your child can understand. Tell them why you chose a campervan over a flight and why you’re choosing slow travel over multiple destinations. Children are always curious, so appeal to that curiosity by making them a part of sustainable decision-making. 

You can even make it a game, and have them point out things that are ‘good’ or ‘bad’, like litter versus a recycling bin. You could have them count how many cars they see on the highway and then explain how bad that is. Have them tally up how much plastic they used in a day to show just how big the issue is.

2. Make nature fun

Ideally, we’d love our kids to play outside all the time! And sometimes, this comes easily, and we can barely drag them out of the pool or playground. But other times, the temptation of technology is strong, and it becomes a real chore. 

The key is to take it a step further than simply playing outside. Don’t just send them out of the campervan and expect them to have fun, but introduce them to nature-friendly activities.

One of my favourite ways to do this is to create a nature scavenger hunt for kids. I create a list of things for them to find. For example, here’s an excerpt from my last scavenger hunt:

  • 1 blue flower
  • 3 different leaves
  • 2 insects
  • Something orange
  • 1 feather

The key is to have them running around and looking at nature, properly engaging in it. You can also make it a competition between your kids or others on the campsite - a great way to help them to make friends!

For kids that are still a bit young for that, bring a watering can and a spade and let them play in the sand or dirt for a bit. Clean-up is a nuisance, but it’s so worth it to see them getting their hands dirty and having a blast. This also connects them to nature.

By having them engage in nature and enjoy it, you can then easily explain why it’s so important that we take care of it. You can connect litter to the squirrel they saw, and explain how it would hurt them. You can show the leaves that are in danger if we light fires. Children learn best through visualising and linking the thought to something tangible. 

Goboony travel kids sustainable h2 motorhome eco friendly children campervan

3. Experiences over souvenirs

Sometimes, it’s so tempting just to give in and buy your kids the tacky souvenir they want. But it’s important to resist this as much as possible as it just encourages them to want more things. It’s also not the best way to spend your holiday budget.

Really try to focus on experiences over souvenirs. Focus on doing things with your kids and making memories, rather than cementing those memories in items they’ll soon forget about. 

One way I try to create a souvenir for the holiday is by getting a large scrapbook and having them collect some items from their scavenger hunt (e.g. leaves or a feather). Once we get home, we sit down and create a page for that trip, and I’ll help with writing notes or the names of places we went. This allows you to create a keepsake for the trip, encourages them to explore nature more and is a great way to avoid buying souvenirs.

4. Prioritise reusable items

I’ve noticed that most often, the single-use items we buy are for our kids. We’ll be great about not buying fast fashion items or using reusable water bottles, and yet with our young ones, we buy wet wipes and plastic-wrapped snacks. 

I get it, as being a parent is hard enough without complicating all the items you need for your kids. But this doesn’t give children the chance to learn about sustainability and will encourage them to treat items in the same way.

There are great reusable alternatives for most items you need for kids nowadays, so it’s worth seeing if these can fit into your budget. This will also make your family holiday far more eco-friendly and waste-free.

5. Switch it off

As I previously mentioned, it can often feel like a losing battle against screens. It’s important to remember that you’re not a bad parent for sometimes relying on screen time to get a moment of peace. Particularly during road trips, phones or tablets can be a lifesaver. 

But a camping trip is a great way to help the whole family switch off for a bit. This is a great way to make your family holiday more eco-friendly, as you’ll use less electricity for charging all these appliances and get some wonderful fresh air! It’s also a chance to spend quality time together.

With this, I do mean the whole family. Your kids will struggle to understand that screen time is bad if they keep watching you on your phone. Children strive to be like their parents, so aim to lead by example, and when it’s a no-screen hour, join in!

One of the perks of travelling in a campervan is the amount of space you have. While you don’t want to go overboard with packing, it’s worth taking a few board games and a pack of cards. You’ll be shocked to discover just how many games you can play with a pack of cards, many of which aren’t too difficult for kids. 

I also love ending each day by discussing what everyone’s favourite thing of the day was. It’s amazing to hear how your kids' minds work and what sticks out for them. It’s a great conversation starter and a chance to simply spend time together.

6. Use local produce

So much of our waste comes from preparing meals! It’s terrifying when you gather all your plastic and waste from cooking in one place before throwing it in the bin. At home, we’re often more conscious of this than on holiday, which doesn’t have to be the case.

Use your holidays as a chance to mix things up! A great feature of campervans is being able to cook your own meals, which not only helps your trip to be budget-friendly, but allows you to take advantage of local produce. Instead of buying everything at the supermarket, head to farmer's markets or local fruit and veg shops. Aim to try local delicacies if there are any. 

Another great holiday activity with kids is to go fruit picking! You can often find orchards or farms that will let you get your hands dirty for a fee, and you can take home what you find. 

Goboony travel kids sustainable h2 motorhome eco friendly children campervan

7. Get active

Bring your bikes on holiday, so you can park your campervan and then explore the local area. Rather than driving to the store or various places, make the journey there an activity in itself. There are plenty of zero footprint activities you can do for an afternoon, like walking, biking or kayaking. 

You can also make a game out of picking up litter. Buy a pair of trash grabbers for you and your kids and spend an afternoon cleaning up an area. You could do this on a beach or a National Park, allowing you to explore somewhere beautiful as well. It can even be a competition of who fills up their bag first.

Not only is it easier than ever to have an eco-friendly holiday with your family, but it’s more important than ever. Make a difference by ensuring your next trip is eco-friendly. Check out more tips for reducing waste on your trip, and don’t forget to hire a motorhome from a private owner to support the sharing economy.