Get set for sustainable travelling with these handy tips
Written by Linda Allardyce
The past year has shown us just how important Mother Nature is, so we need to continue and incorporate our newfound gratitude for the Earth into our daily routine when life returns to normal.
I’m sure many of us are itching to explore new cultures again, I know I am! I’ve always dreamt of travelling around Asia, and in the next few years I hope it becomes a reality, but it’s essential to me that I travel responsibly.
We all know that tourism isn’t very sustainable: it accounts for nearly one tenth of all the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. When travelling responsibly, this means that I’ll practice a conscious awareness about how my travel will impact a destination, and make an eﬀort to lessen that impact.
Check out my top tips for sustainable travelling this Summer, and forever.
Eco-friendly travel toiletries
I used to get so excited to see what little bottles of shower gel and shampoo were left for me in my hotel bathroom. It’s only now I realise how unnecessary and wasteful they really are. Not only are they incredibly wasteful because they’re made from single-use plastic, even if you don’t use all the product, they’re likely to be thrown out altogether anyway, so it’s a lose-lose situation.
Instead, I’ll opt for solid toiletries. They’ll take up less space, they’re plastic-free and I won’t have to worry about them leaking everywhere on the plane.
Similarly, I’ll opt for bamboo products rather than plastic products. Our Non Plastic Beach Biodegradable Bamboo Toothbrush can be recycled, reused and composted, so rest assured it’s a planet-friendly choice.
I’m a religious flosser too! Non Plastic Beach also make biodegradable dental floss made from silk. The durable thread naturally breaks down so it’s compostable. Just be careful that it doesn’t accidentally find its way into the ocean if you’re travelling near water as it can get tangled up in all sorts of marine life. If you’re going travelling for a long period of time, the glass container can simply be refilled with the silk floss.
Although disposable makeup wipes are convenient, they’re responsible for 90% of blockages in our water systems and their plastic pollution causes devastating issues for marine life. Instead, I switched to our Bambaw Reusable Bamboo Makeup Remover Pads because they’re the perfect eco-friendly alternative. They’re made from durable bamboo and cotton which can be used to scrub away the day’s makeup and then be washed and reused again and again. They come with a cotton washing bag so you’ll never lose any on your adventures.
If you’re likely to be on your period at some point on your travels, consider a menstrual cup. Tampons and sanitary towels are incredibly unsustainable. The very first sanitary towel or tampon you used is probably still sitting in landfill right now. Menstrual cups are a safe and easy alternative that you can use all the time, at home or on-the-go.
On-the-go travel essentials
Depending on where you’re travelling to, you’re likely to experience lots of street food and markets, which is the best part of travelling, right? However, the downside of this is that the food is often served in single-use containers. Luckily, there’s an easy solution, cue Stasher Bags, the endlessly reusable self-sealing silicone storage bags. Stasher Bags come in a range of sizes: Pocket Bag, Snack Bag, Sandwich Bag, Half Gallon Bag and Stand Up Bag, perfect for anything and everything.
Keep your Stasher Bag in your handbag so that you can simply ask for your meal to be placed in it, rather than using single-use plastic containers every time. All you need to do is give it a wash in between uses.
Don’t forget about the utensils either! According to The Ocean Conservancy, single-use plastic cutlery is the second most dangerous plastic, so it’s safest to eliminate plastic altogether and stick with bamboo. Our lightweight and compact Bambaw Bamboo Cutlery Set comes with a cotton pouch, ideal for travelling.
I carry a reusable water bottle with me everywhere I go. It’s so important to stay hydrated and nowadays there are always places to fill up your bottle on your travels. However, if you’re venturing to a country where water cannot be drunk from the tap, it may be beneficial to buy a water filtration bottle.
I also keep a cotton tote bag or even a plastic bag with me too. They can be used for an array of things such as keeping your electronics safe, carrying lunch and essentials or separating washing. Plus, they neatly fold up in your bag or suitcase.
Travel sustainably in style
I have to admit, I love splashing out on a new holiday wardrobe. It adds a bit of excitement and makes me feel more confident. But, I only wear it once or twice and replace it the following year, which obviously isn’t very planet-friendly. So, this year I’m adamant that I don’t need a new holiday wardrobe. It’s time to prioritise comfort and necessity, rather than dozens of dresses I’ll never actually get around to wearing.
Don’t worry about re-wearing outfits either! Remember, no one else knows you so you can completely reinvent yourself, if you want. Plus, you’ll be having so much fun you won’t even be thinking about your outfit.
If you’re after something specific, try thrifting or borrowing from a friend. Perhaps you’re planning to go hiking but don’t own a pair of hiking boots – why not borrow a pair from a friend before you decide on buying a pair for yourself?
Use Stasher for your travel essentials
Stasher Bags have endless uses, so they’re totally ideal for travelling. Here are just a few ways I’ve discovered that they come in handy for travelling:
- First aid kit – keep plasters, bandages and painkillers inside your Stasher Bag for an on-the-go first aid kit. Our PATCH Biodegradable Plasters are hypoallergenic bamboo plasters that fully compost in a matter of weeks.
- Zero-waste kit – keep your cutlery and bathroom essentials all in one place. Having all your liquids safe in one bag is especially useful when you’re going through the airport.
- Hand luggage – keep your headphones, phone and passport neatly together.
- Makeup bag – I always keep my essential makeup products in a Stasher Bag on-the-go so I don’t have to empty my whole bag looking for something in particular.
- Ditch your wet bikini and trunks – don’t worry about dragging wet clothes around with you.
- Pack snacks – don’t forget to keep your energy levels up.
- Store your litter in a Stasher Bag
Travel light with an ecoegg
If you’re planning to travel for a longer period of time, bringing an ecoegg Laundry egg will come in useful. It’s small and light and it contains no liquid so it won’t take up much space in your luggage. Even if you don’t have access to a washing machine, it can be used for hand washing. It’s a lifesaver for when you inevitably spill your dinner on your favourite top that you wear everyday.
More sustainable travel tips
It’s not just about the products you use, it’s how you travel too.
- Take public transport – when you choose pre-existing transport like trains and buses, it means you’re cutting unnecessary emissions. Public transport carries multiple passengers on a single vehicle, rather than multiple people taking singular vehicles, thus reducing emissions. I much prefer to take public transport as you get to see more of the country and interact with the locals. Especially in a city, I always walk or cycle instead to explore all the hidden streets.
- Prioritise local – I’d always choose a locally owned hostel, guesthouse or Airbnb rather than a chain hotel as I find them more intimate and authentic. Plus, it’s easy to ask how sustainable they are before you choose it. Growing up, we always chose self-catered holidays, favouring the local markets and restaurants, which supports the local community and gives you a chance to truly experience the destination and their culture.
- Be responsible with animal tourism – elephants are my favourite animal and when I was younger, I always dreamt of riding one, until I did my research and found out how unethical it was. Make sure you undertake thorough research before partaking in something like this.
- Pick up your litter – no explanation needed.
- Conserve water – although water may seem like a finite resource in your country (it’s not!) for some countries, time is running out quicker. Conserve water by showering quicker and turning oﬀ taps when you’re not using them.
- “Take nothing, leave nothing”, is a mantra I intend to stick to on my travels. Travelling to diﬀerent countries, celebrating their culture and exploring their environment is a magical gift. It’s only fair that we leave everything as we found it. Refrain from taking souvenirs home that may impact nature, like shells you find on the beach. Instead, take a photo, write down the memory in a journal or simply enjoy the moment. This takes me onto my final point…
- Be present! We tend to try and cram everything under the sun in, and forget to actually enjoy the experience. Instead, aim to do less, but better.