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Archive for Eco Friendly Travel
May 2nd, 2016
There’s nothing like traveling and exploring new places with my family. My boys have been traveling since they were infants since we needed to travel by plane to visit my family. We’ve made time over the years to take them to other places, both close and far away. Whether it’s by planes, trains or automobiles, I can’t get enough of seeing that spark in their eyes when they discover a new culture. I can finally say that my boys are at the perfect age to travel ( 12, 14 and 15) and actually remember some of what they see. Thankfully we have photos from earlier trips because they claim to remember very little.
Over the years I’ve learned a few tricks to help make traveling a little less painful and stressful with small (or large) children.
If you want to get through those security lines quickly TSA Pre✓® is the way to go. This is the first year that I’ve had TSA Pre✓® and it was well worth the $85 application fee which is valid for 5 years. How did I not have this before?!
TSA Pre✓® is an expedited security screening program for travel within the United States.
Passengers considered low-risk who qualify for the program can receive expedited screening. Have you noticed the TSA Pre✓® lines at the airport security stations? With TSA Pre✓® you can skip the regular lines and hit the much shorter TSA Pre✓® line without having to remove shoes, belts, laptops, liquids, and jackets. If you’re a frequent traveler and interested in applying head HERE. The application process was quick and painless. We filled out the application online and set up a short appointment. A few weeks later our approval letters arrived in the mail. Only my husband and I have TSA Pre✓® and our kids reap the benefit by tagging along without having to pay a fee.
If you’re traveling overseas a few times a year you might want to consider applying for Global Entry. Global Entry is a program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. All applicants undergo a rigorous background check and in-person interview before enrollment. Although I considered applying for this, it didn’t make sense for our family. The cost is $100 per applicant (children must also apply) and the interview process only takes place at qualifying airports.
Everyone Gets Their Own Suitcase
On a recent trip overseas we decided that everyone was old enough to wheel their own suitcase. We purchased 5 different color carry-on bags, one for each of us. It was somewhat challenging to pack for a week in a smaller suitcase, but we all did it. We didn’t check any luggage so there was no risk of lost suitcases and once we landed everyone was in charge of their own bag.
Keep Your Passport Safe
Once our destination is reached we always lock the passports in a safe. On this last trip we scanned our passports and had a copy accessible by email and in our Dropbox. If your passport is stolen report it immediately. Find the nearest US Embassy or Consulate and explain what happened. They will advise you on next steps.
Bring an Empty Reusable Water Bottle
Avoid buying plastic water bottles at the airport by bringing an empty reusable water bottle through security. My favorite is this Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Water Bottle with a Bamboo Cap. If you want something easy to roll up and store check out this Vapur Water Bottle. Once through the security lines refill your water bottle at the closest water fountain.
Do you have any travel hacks to share?
P.S. If you liked this post you might enjoy our Groovy Green Livin Newsletter. Receive new posts and special opportunities delivered right to your inbox! Sign up HERE.
October 16th, 2014
Composting hasn’t come easily for me. I’ve been trying on and off for the past few years to compost our kitchen scraps and encourage my family to do the same. Seems like a pretty simple task, yet I’m struggling.
I have all the right equipment- an outdoor compost bin and an indoor compost pail, which is always under the sink.
My composting system is in place, however I can’t get into a groove.
Here’s why composting isn’t working for me:
- The smell
- The fruit flies
The fruit fly problem was so awful last year that I ended up leaving the composting pail on our back deck for most of the winter. I needed a composting vacation.
Now I’m back from my composting vacation and I’ve decided to take the NBC Green is Universal Eco Eats Challenge to compost kitchen food waste.
Here’s the challenge:
Give Compost A Chance: Food scraps make up 7 percent of household waste, on average. Try composting your food scraps instead of sending them to a landfill and and watch your garbage bag deflate.
Did you know that a typical household throws away an estimated 474 pounds of food waste each year. That means about 1.5 lbs per person a day in the U.S. Food scraps generated by all households in the United States could be piled on a football field more than five miles (26,400 feet) high. That’s a lot of waste.
The solution to my composting issues was simple: dump the compost pail outside in the compost bin daily so there’s no opportunity for fruit flies or that horrible smell to surface.
Here are a few tips to make kitchen scrap composting work for you.
- Invest in a quality compost pail for your kitchen.
- Do not compost meats, dairy and fish. Stick with other food scraps.
- Keep all pesticide and/or herbicide treated food scraps out of your compost bin and pail.
- Empty your containers daily to insure that no smell spreads throughout your kitchen or home. This will also keep the fruit flies away.
It’s amazing how I’ve reduced the amount of garbage we throw away by composting our kitchen food waste.
What’s your trick to composting? I’d love to hear.
P.S. If you liked this post you might enjoy our Groovy Green Livin Newsletter. Receive new posts and special opportunities delivered right to your inbox! Sign up HERE.
Disclaimer: Please know that if you make a purchase using a link on this page, I may earn a commission (at no extra cost to you), which in turn helps support this site. None of the companies I promote on this page have paid me, I just really like their products. Thank you in advance.
Are you interested in ‘eco-eating’? NBC’s Green is Universal is hosting an “Eco Eats” sweepstakes from September 29 – October 17. To join, visit their free green-living tool, One Small Act, and join the “Eco Eats” challenge. Everyone who signs-up and tackles at least one action by October 17th will be entered to win one of five 6-month subscriptions to NatureBox. No Purchase Necessary. Must be US resident and 18+. Read official rules here.
Note: In exchange for participating in the challenge and writing this post, I was given a gift package from Green is Universal. All opinions here are still my own.”
photo credit: London Permaculture via photopin cc
July 3rd, 2014
Kale is on my mind. Keep reading and you’ll see why.
I hope everyone’s having a wonderful summer. Unfortunately I didn’t have a chance to write much this week so I thought I’d share with you a few of my latest photos from my summer adventures. If you’d like to check out more photos please come and find me on Instagram. I’d love to see what you’re sharing too.
This photo was one of my favorites from this week: Kale is the new carrot. It was hidden under a pile of art work by artist Dug Nap. Voted Vermont’s best cartoonist in 2012, best poet in 2011, and best visual artist for 2008 & 2009 by the readers of Seven Days, Vermont’s alternative newspaper, Dug Nap is a self-taught artist who was born and raised in Vermont. His work is fabulous.
Cycling along the roads of Vermont I came across this.
Yet another reason to love Vermont!
I mailed many letters to my three boys who are away at summer camp from this adorable post office.
One of my favorite breakfasts of the summer to date was this plate of fruit. So simple and easy to prepare. My second favorite breakfast was a smoothie made with many of these fruits and a little kale.
Have a wonderful and safe 4th of July. If you’re firing up those grills here are a few tips to help keep your grilling safe. And don’t forget to use green accessories for the barbecue!
Let me know if you have any incredible summer adventures planned. I would love to hear!
January 21st, 2014
Traveling abroad with a teen is a whole different ball game.
The good news it that traveling abroad with a teen is actually much simpler then traveling with toddlers. There are a few tricks that help keep everyone on the right track (and those teenage hormones in check).
As I write this I’m sitting on an airplane next to my sister. I feel very privileged to be returning from a week long adventure in Israel with my oldest son, my father, my sister and her oldest son. The return flight from Tel Aviv, Israel to Boston is unbearably long. I’m trying very hard not to calculate the number of hours I’ve been sitting.
The week was spectacular. We jumped head first into a culture that is overflowing with history. This week wasn’t the height of the travel season in Israel, yet the sheer number of visitors was mind boggling. People from every culture and religion had traveled from all over the world to get a glimpse of some of the most significant religious and historic sights.
This was my second trip to Israel. My father and sister have each been a few times and this was the first time for both boys. If you want to see a few photos of our journey make sure you’re following me on Instagram, where I tried to document some of our trip.
The sheer number of facts and stories I have packed into my brain right now is overwhelming. The true test will be revealing how much I’ve retained.
Western influence has really moved in since the last time I visited Israel in 1989. Even the golden arches of McDonald’s have made their way onto the landscape of one of Israel’s top tourist attractions-Masada. But rich history and culture still prevail.
Traveling abroad with two teen aged boys added a new spin onto our trip. Viewing a country and culture through their eyes was sensational. I giggled, jumped, ran, hiked and climbed.
In hindsight there were a few things that made traveling abroad this trip seamless and perfect for our two teens.
1. Spend time talking about the trip before you leave. As a family we spent a lot of time discussing where we were going. I pulled out a globe and had my son find Israel just to provide a little perspective on the distance we were travelling. We also spent time talking about the length of the flights (the first leg was 7 hours and the second leg was about 4 hours). My intention was to cut down the number of times I was asked “how much longer?”
2. Prepare for jet lag. Israel is 7 hours ahead of Boston. Once we boarded the plane we changed our watches to the destination time zone. It was tempting to continually count backwards to figure out what time it was at home, but we tried not to do this. The only time it was necessary was when we were calling home (Viber was fantastic for free calling and texting).
3. Have a hands on experience each day. This was key. Each day our guide scheduled an activity completely geared towards the teens. We rode on camels, we hiked the most challenging (and vertical) hike I’ve ever been on, we floated in the Dead Sea. On our way home I asked both boys what they remembered most about the trip and these adventures were at the top of their list (and my list too).
4. Make time for meals and snacks. This was one of our biggest challenges. With so much to see lunch didn’t always fit into the picture. This was a mistake. Two hungry, cranky teens is not ideal when traveling. Try to schedule time for lunch and snacks and if that doesn’t fit into the schedule make sure to pack a few snacks to bring along.
5. Get enough sleep and drink enough water. Sleeping through the night for the first two nights was difficult. We chugged water before bed and tried to go to sleep at a reasonable hour. We were picked up early each morning so a good nights sleep was important.
HERE are a few ways to keep your travel green.
Would love to hear your tips for traveling abroad with a teen.
April 24th, 2012
In my everyday life I work hard to care for my little corner of the earth. I’m not perfect, but I try to make a difference. Whether it’s recycling, eating organic foods or supporting companies that share my views, I continue to plug along-taking baby steps towards making the world a better place.
Being green on vacation takes effort
I just landed from an incredible family vacation. Incredible in the sense that we just spent 10 days hanging out, eating well, watching the sun set and doing a whole lotta nothing-together. What I noticed on this vacation is how easy it was to place most of my efforts to make the world a better place on hold.
Being green on vacation seems to be counter-intuitive. Vacation is for relaxing and letting go of all effort. So why does it take so much more of an effort to be green and make eco-friendly choices?
I think it comes down to being outside of our normal routine. Also, I’m relaxed and just plain lazy on vacation. Isn’t that a sign that the vacation is doing its job?
Now that I’m home I thought I would take a moment to reflect on my eco-errors and make a list of all the things I could have done to make this vacation, and all vacations, greener. I’m bringing this list with me next vacation!
How to have a green vacation
Bring reusable bags
There’s always enough room in the suitcase for a few reusable bags. We did a lot of grocery shopping this trip and it would have been nice to have my arsenal of reusable bags on hand.
Pack reusable water bottles
We all know that you can’t bring liquids through security. The solution is to pack a few empty reusable water bottles for the family. When you arrive at your destination fill them up and use them for the duration of the trip. Say goodbye to those plastic water bottles that are calling your name in every airport.
Conserve those towels and sheets
Many hotels have sheet and towel cards asking guests to consider not having sheets and towels changed every day. I don’t change my towels and sheets every day at home so why would I need that service on vacation? What a simple way to conserve water and energy.
Our room didn’t have any recycling options. It would have been simple to designate one of the garbage cans as a recycling bin to use throughout our stay. There were recycling bins on the grounds which could have been used to dump the recyclables from our room.
Bottom line: Vacation is a lot of fun, but we all have to work a little harder to keep it green.
Are you as green on vacation?
Photo courtesy of my groovy husband, Joel.
September 5th, 2011
I’m at the tail end of my wonderful staycation and already looking forward to the next. Maybe next time I’ll take a vacation to a far off exotic (or maybe not so exotic) place. As a self-proclaimed “greenie” it has been at times challenging to find ways to make my travel eco friendly. Over the years I have gathered travel tips that have helped reduce my carbon footprint while on the road.
Here are my 10 Green Family Travel Tips which I shared with my friends over at Practically Green.
When you’re finished reading the post be sure to take a look around Practically Green’s site. Take the Practically Green quiz to see how green you really are and discover what your next green steps could be. Let me know what you find.
What are your tips for greener travel?
[Photo used under Creative Commons from Abdallah/Flickr]
August 30th, 2011
As of today I will be taking a short staycation: a vacation where I won’t be blogging and I’ll be sticking pretty close to home (low carbon emissions during this vacation!) for a few days. During my staycation I’ll be spending time with my three lovely boys before the back-to-school frenzy hits hard next week. We have a few things to accomplish while we’re staycationing:
We will be getting much needed haircuts.
We will be trading in our highwaters (they came in handy this week during flooding from Hurricane Irene) for pants that actually fit.
We will be brushing our hair for possibly the first time all summer. I’m anticipating this task will take a minimum of one to two days to complete. Our hair looks something like the one on the right (our lips look nothing like either pair of lips).
Before signing off I wanted to share two interesting and important articles that were recently published. Take a look when you have a chance.
- Mail Online reported : Scented laundry products (dryer sheets etc…) could be releasing cancer-causing chemicals when clothes are tumble-dried.
- The New York Times reported: The anti-bacterial chemical, triclosan, raises safety issues. Triclosan is commonly found in anti-bacterial soaps, kitchen cutting boards and even a best-selling toothpaste, Colgate Total.
Although I won’t be posting much for a few days, there will still be a few not-to-be- missed things happening at Groovy Green Livin :
We will return to our regular scheduled programming after Labor Day. Have a wonderful few days!
[Photos used under Creative Commons from Jeff Turner, D.Sharon Pruitt and Saffy/Flickr]