Being eco-friendly is one of the latest hype, however, it isn’t just a trend, a temporal hashtag on your social media; it is a way of life. It requires a shift in mentality and actions. We can play our part for the environment by changing some of our habits while travelling, and that entails, you might have to pack slightly differently.
From reducing the use of plastic to protecting flora and fauna and respecting local culture, we brought together 10 must bring items when travelling. Pen these down and travel in a responsible way!
(1) Bring your own bottle
Image source: Aliexpress
How it helps - saves money and plastic!
Being abroad and not used to drinking tap water? Bottled water is the most convenient option for many of us. However, that generates a lot of waste because they are hard to recycle. Also, we spent a notable amount of money on bottled water too. Some countries have good recycling systems in place but the majority don’t. We end up being the contributors of the floating plastic in the oceans. Choose a lightweight bottle or a foldable one to save space. I’ve chanced upon good ones online and they work perfectly. Some even have a hook so you can hook them on your bags. Get one and save yourself some money and plastic!
(2) Biodegradable oral care
Image source: Inhabitat.com
How it helps - saves plastic!
Heard of bamboo toothbrushes and charcoal toothpaste? These biodegradable ones will greatly reduce our plastic waste. We can then avoid throwing away plastic items. One innovative toothpaste I’ve found was the toothpaste tablets! No more unnecessary plastic tubes and wastage. They come in all scents and flavours, choose the one you prefer for your minty smile! It saves you space and weight too, reducing your carbon footprint.
(3) Microfibre travel towel
Image source: Amazon.com
How it helps - saves water!
Not used to using towels from your accommodations and finding normal towels too cumbersome? Here’s the right option for you, opt for a microfibre travel towel. They are very light, compact and quick drying. Easy to wash, your woes of dirty towels are gone. Choose those with anti-bacterial properties to prevent odours. Go online and you won’t be short of them, various choices to choose from!
(4) Eco-friendly toiletries
Image source: Communikait.com
How it helps - conserving wildlife!
Eco-friendly toiletries make sure that we won’t introduce harmful substances into the environment after use. The ecosystem is very fragile, when you swim with sunscreen on your skin, chemicals like oxybenzone can seep into the water and corals absorb them. These substances will disrupt the coral’s reproduction and growth cycles, ultimately leading to bleaching. Use eco-friendly sunscreens, shampoos, conditioners, soaps, and lotions to stop harmful chemicals being released into the environment!
(5) Eco-friendly shopping bag
Image source: Green Diary
How it helps - saves paper and plastic!
We’ve gotten used to the supermarkets not supplying bags on certain days, so bring a reusable bag along. There are many bags that fold into a compact square and are lightweight. These bags can be handy when you go groceries shopping or to carry laundry. There’s no need to look for plastic bags and fret over how to recycle them.
(6) Reusable bamboo cutleries
Image source: Shop4sg.com
How it helps - eliminates plastic!
Breakfast, lunch and dinner, we need our forks and spoons! Get an eco-friendly reusable set to go with your travel and a reusable straw would be good too. The number of disposable cutleries and plastic straws thrown daily really contributes to the waste at landfills. 6 million tonnes of plastic cutlery gets thrown out into the sea every year! Let’s reduce the number to provide our marine counterparts with a liveable ocean!
(7) The life-saving checklist
Image source: Somewhat Simple
How it helps - saves money, reduces footprint!
For the neat freak in many including myself, a list is imperative. Write down a list of items you need for travelling and change it when necessary. This is the best way to not forget anything and having to waste money buying them overseas! Review if you can remove anything. If your accommodation provides toiletries, you can remove it from your list. Packing more adds on to the fuel consumption on the modes of transport you take, increasing carbon footprint.
(8) The One In One Out rule
Image source: The Honest Company
How it helps - weight efficient, saves money!
Well well, we are not going for a fashion show are we, there’s no need to pack in so many clothes! A week’s worth of clothing is enough for a long trip. A right mix and match of the clothes you have will give you the perfect ootd to post online. I strictly follow the one in one out rule, I buy clothing when I’m travelling only to replace a worn out item. Avoid buying new clothes and this rule will definitely help you stick to the minimalist packing. No worries on bursting luggage and unnecessary items when you go home! Most importantly, no hefty bills on credit cards!
(9) Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Image source: Wayaj.com
How it helps - eliminates plastic, saving money!
Instead of fussing over how much to bring for toiletries, search for eco-friendly bottles for your toiletries. Decanting your toiletries in these bottles means you can reuse them on trips in the future. You bring just the right amount in smaller bottles, reducing the need to buy when travelling, saving you money, space, and weight!
(10) A large shawl
Image source: Target.com
How it helps - travelling respectfully!
Though the shawl isn't necessarily an eco-friendly item, it is good to have! The travel items mentioned prevent waste and that is just one aspect of responsible travel. One other aspect of an ethical traveller is to be respectful of local traditions and customs. It is common to visit temples or mosques during our travel and it is disrespectful to reveal your shoulders or knees. Use a shawl to cover up. We can admire these culturally significant places without offending the locals. The shawl is lightweight and has many uses from beachwear to keeping warm! It’s a multi-use item good to have!
Inevitably, our lives revolve around plastic and most of the items we have today consist of plastic! 400 million tonnes of plastic is produced a year, by reducing our reliance, production reduces! Being eco-friendly starts from you and me. Every small step we take brings immense results in conserving our environment. A small effort from you to include these hacks goes a long way! Start by changing the way we think and pack. Be a responsible traveller, you and me alike.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.
An avid globetrotter, exploring and learning continuously about the world. Every part of earth tells a unique tale, fueling the love for travelling and stories to be told.