From the word go, try to think about what you really need and don’t pack things you might not end up using. The lighter you pack, the less fuel you’ll be using when you travel. And, don’t forget to throw in some reusable bags in case you go shopping while you’re away.
One of the most important items to pack is a reusable drinks bottle. You may still need to buy bottled water in some countries but buying it in a large container will limit the amount of plastic used, then you can decant it into your bottle as and when needed. You might also want to bring a travel mug for tea or coffee on the go, as many cafes still use takeaway cups which cannot be recycled. Plus, it’s a good idea to take some reusable cutlery for street food dining.
For your toiletries, instead of buying travel miniatures which are not only expensive but have a high plastic to volume ratio, purchase some refillable bottles that you can pour your usual shampoo and conditioner into. You’ll then be able to reuse them several times. If you want to go one step further, consider using bars of soap and shampoo rather than liquid. And, when it comes to brushing your teeth, why not take a bamboo toothbrush with you? Bamboo is a sustainable material as it grows very quickly and is entirely biodegradable too.
Wherever possible, use public transport instead of private, as it saves fuel. Travelling by land rather than air is generally better for the environment too. If you can cycle to your next destination, that’s even better, but it may not be the most sensible mode of transport depending on the amount of luggage you have!
Eating & Drinking
Stick with local food and drink when possible, as less fuel is used during shipping, and remember to bring your reusable bottle and cutlery if you’re getting a takeaway or street food.
From hostels to luxury hotels, there are a few eco-friendly rules you can apply wherever you stay. If there are notices about changing towels and bedsheets, let your housekeepers know not to change them every day, and try to avoid having your room cleaned daily by displaying the ‘do not disturb’ sign on your door. This will save energy and water, plus reduce the amount of toxic chemicals released.
Another way to save water is by having a shower instead of a bath, and don’t leave the tap running while you brush your teeth! Finally, cut down on energy usage by turning off the air conditioning, lights and TV when you’re not using them.
Don’t forget, many of these tips can be used in every day life and not just whilst travelling…let’s do our best to look after our beautiful planet!