Traveling as a family of 5 is a huge challenge.
Traveling as a family of 5 while trying to eat organic, avoid gluten and other allergens, and live natural and chemical-free seems almost impossible. But I’m here to tell you that it IS possible with a little planning – AND you’ll save money in the end.
I’m on a month long trip with my family in Hawaii, which has thankfully been relaxing since I planned ahead on some staples that can be hard (or expensive) to find here in Hawaii. If you’re planning a trip and want to stay as natural as possible and need to work around food allergies, check out my tips below.
1. Bring your own baking mixes and/or baking flours. You can find coconut, almond and other grain-free and gluten-free flours here in Hawaii, but if you were traveling to other countries that aren’t required to list ingredients on food labels then you might want to bring your own flours. And depending on the area, it might be difficult or expensive to find coconut flour, almond flour or other grain-free flours.
I pre-made mixes such as my egg-free, gluten-free buttermilk pancake mix and egg-free, gluten-free bread (I even packed a few packets of yeast). All I had to add to these was water and vinegar. I brought enough mixes so we could enjoy a batch of pancakes and a loaf of bread each week on vacation. Buying gluten-free bread in local stores costs nearly $10, while making my own mix cost just about $2.
2. Bring raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar. I use Bragg’s raw apple cider vinegar for everything from a facial toner to a morning detox drink (use 1-2 tbsp in a cup of water to aid in digestion) to sunburn relief. And of course I use the multi-purpose product for cooking, baking and even cleaning (just mix equal parts in a compact, reusable spray bottle like this one). I prefer making my own cleaners on vacation (and at home) to avoid harsh cleaning products around my kids.
I actually found that most grocery stores had Bragg’s raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar in stock so I opted to buy it while on vacation instead of bringing my own to cut down on bulky items in my suitcase. But again, depending on where you’re visiting, you might need to bring vs. buy on site.
3. Don’t forget the coconut oil. Coconut oil is as versatile as apple cider vinegar. Coconut oil that is virgin and unrefined can be used for cooking, digestion (I take a tbsp every day), facial and moisturizer, bug repellant and sunscreen (up to about 7 SPF).
Coconut oil is moderately easy to find, but not necessarily in organic, virgin and unrefined form. So I suggest bringing your own. Plus, I find it cheaper to buy coconut oil online.
4. Sweeten up with raw honey. I brought my own raw, organic honey to sweetened up my tea every morning (and raw can be hard to find in many grocery stores), but I also love honey because it can be used to soothe sore throats as well as used a facial cleanser and blemish spot corrector.
I love Trader Joe’s organic, raw and fair trade honey, but I also like YS Eco Bee Farms raw, organic honey.
Buying local is another option. I found local Big Island Hawaiian honey that tastes delicious! Local honey tends to be more expensive than Trader Joe’s or sometimes even Amazon, but your’e supporting local bee farms.
5. Keep it clean with Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap. I love Dr. Bronner’s. This all-purpose soap can be used for everything from shampoo to body wash (for both adults and kids) to laundry detergent to mouthwash. It’s amazing.
I was able to cut out essentially 5 products (shampoo, body wash, baby wash, laundry detergent and dish wash) for just one 8 oz. bottle of Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap. It’s been a huge space saver. It’s concentrated so it’s lasted us 3 weeks already and we’re about halfway through the bottle. It can be hard to find in conventional grocery stores, so I recommend bringing your own. For me, buying online is much cheaper.
6. Clean up with reusable kitchen cloths. I’ve made a commitment to cut down on my family’s paper waste – and that includes while we’re on vacation. So rather than use paper towels, I brought my own reusable kitchen cloths (buy reusable microfiber cleaning cloths here). It’s so much easier to clean up messes (like my toddler spilling water on the floor) and clean countertops and other surfaces with these cloths. Plus, I find them to be WAY more absorbent than regular paper towels. These can be hard to find while traveling, so I suggest packing a few of your own.
7. Pack food on the go with reusable sandwich bags and napkins. I brought my own LunchSkins reusable sandwich bags to pack snacks for my kids on our flight, and now we’re using it over and over on our trip to pack food on our trip. I packed cloth napkins like these from Kids Konserve to use for meals instead of wasting paper towels.
What’s your natural travel must-have?
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