We just got back from a short visit to Thailand with our 5 year old son and 19 month old daughter and I can tell you traveling with kids is a potential landmine of waste! If you even want to have a chance at preventing a good portion of it, you need to be proactive with your planning and intentional with your packing, as well as staying consistently insistent with the hotel and restaurant staff to follow your requests.
So were we 100% waste-free after four days in Thailand? Absolutely not! But we did make some successful packing choices and hopefully next time we figure out additional ways to make our journey even more sustainable. So here’s what I can recommend:
✨Bring your own reusable cutlery, especially for the airplane. It felt so good to hand the disposable cutlery back to the flight attendant when they gave us our food.
✨ To avoid needing any bottled water on the airplane, bring along a reusable bottle with some Kuro-Bo coins, and after the security check, fill it up with tap water and pop in your coins to clean it. Amazing!
✨Bring along food containers to use at your destination. They work great for takeaway, leftovers or bringing snacks out and about with you. I had some ECOlunchbox Seal Cups and Stasher Bags and we used them every day.
✨Never need to buy chemical-filled sunscreen in a plastic bottle again! Choose from four different sunscreen options from our new product line from Raw Elements, that are all sold in sustainable packaging, made from organic ingredients and 100% reef-safe. I've tested it on my own skin as well as my kids, and I can speak from experience that it works! Hooray! I can't tell you how happy this makes me.
✨We got super ambitious this time and brought along our Berkey water filter to use in our hotel room. And it was so easy! The two chambers pack into each other so it doesn’t take up too much space while enroute and we were able to have clean water whenever we needed it for the entirety of our trip. (You can purchase these locally at Seed in Sai Kung or online with the local Hong Kong distributor, just google!)
✨Reusable water bottles are a must! We filled up with our Berkey filtered water before leaving the hotel room and never needed to buy water while out. Winning!
So what were the biggest challenges???
✨I didn’t have anywhere to wash Ava’s reusable nappies so I had to use disposables for these few days. This pretty much broke my heart, because it's otherwise easily avoidable, but I didn’t really see another way in these circumstances.
✨Those pesky plastic straws were hard to avoid. Even if you tell them no straw it always seems to show up anyways!
✨Package-free kids snack to bring along from home are pretty much non-existent. I live in the real world just like anyone else, and I need to be well armed with spoil-free food to stave off any potential hangry melt-downs from the littles.
All in all, I'd say sustainable traveling has a long way to go, but hopefully people start to care more about this issue and try and make the effort. I can also tell you without hesitation, you’ll feel amazing when you're able to refuse those disposables and save the world from one more piece of plastic waste!