As we learn more about the effects of climate change and our impact on the environment, it’s important that we take little steps in our travels to reduce our waste and walk a little lighter on this earth.
With non-degradable and single-use plastics being one of the biggest sources of waste while travelling (things like plastic water bottles and wasteful one-trick-travel-wonders being the culprit), it’s important that we pack smart, and with careful thought and intention.
Use this reusable items packing list to minimise your travel footprint.
Reusable Water Bottle or Cup
Staying hydrated on any trip is always a good idea, and instead of having to succumb to single-use plastic bottles of water from the gas station or airport newsstand, be prepared with a stainless steel tumbler. They’re made to keep ice and water cold for hours on end and are great to take along your hikes and long days out sightseeing, and will keep your coffee piping hot when you’re rushing to catch an early train or bus.
Stainless steel tumblers are also great for air travel, and most airports have water stations or fountains available for you to fill it up after you go through the security checkpoint. They’re the easiest way to stay hydrated even on long flights!
Plastic straws were a big topic of discussion in 2018. Starbucks announced the phasing out of straws in its stores and the European Union leaders signed an agreement to ban single-use plastics (including straws) by 2021.
On a personal level, you can start right now by saying “no” to straws, and carrying your own reusable straw set instead. Reusable straws are easy to clean and can be easily stored in your travelling bag, your rental car, or anywhere else you might need a straw. They are better for the environment than disposable straws and also a convenient option for people who have mobility issues, and might rely heavily on straws and need to make sure they always have one available.
Food Storage Containers
Buying food while you’re travelling can be wasteful. This is especially true if you’re prone to purchasing single-serve food items like the ones you might find at a gas station or airport shop. Instead of eating unhealthy food and generating waste, why not pack your own food next time or choose unpackaged products?
All you need is a little pre-planning and some reusable containers. While plastic containers may come off as convenient, cheap and lightweight, they do not last as long as their more sustainable counterparts. They may also create fumes that are harmful to your body and are bad for the environment. Instead, pack your travel snacks in collapsible silicone containers and consider replacing your plastic sandwich bags with beeswax wrap. If your travel destination is famous for its street food, think about bringing a set of cutlery from home or picking up a reusable bamboo travel set – this simple action can substantially reduce your plastic cutlery wastage.
Reusable Travel Comfort Items
There are many advantages to travelling light. Not only is it more convenient for you to move around, but the lighter you pack, the lighter the weight carried on planes, thus leading to less fuel usage and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
So pack thoughtfully, and bring multi-use items with you. For example, travel comfort is especially important when on long-haul flights, but it can be a little cumbersome trying to juggle a neck pillow, blanket and other accessories onboard. In this case, try this foldable microfiber blanket instead. This functions as a pillow, seat cushion and lumbar support, and is great for later use when travelling in cars, buses or trains.
Reusable grocery bags are the ultimate eco-friendly accessory. Not only can you use them in place of traditional grocery bags, but they are also handy when shopping elsewhere. Look out for foldable options that you can carry around with ease while on the road. Sturdy reusable bags will last much longer than plastic bags and can be used for so many things – including fun, location-centric souvenirs.
It’s also always great to be prepared beforehand as more and more cities have begun banning the use of plastic bags or are now charging for them. Not only are reusable bags kinder to the environment they’ll also save you money in the long run.
Solar Powered Chargers
A road trip is a perfect opportunity to take advantage of solar charging. Slap the solar charger on an area of your car that’s getting a lot of sunlight, attach your device, and let it do its thing! With this solar charger, you’ll be able to charge your devices while on-the-go without having to worry about running out of power or wasting energy. It’s also great to use when camping or just when you’re out exploring.
Sustainable Personal Items
These days, you can easily find beauty brands with eco-friendly packaging, and items like floss and cotton swabs that are biodegradable. Also, more and more hotel chains are now making the effort to reduce the plastic waste from the miniature toiletries they usually offer and are starting to switch over to bulk dispensers instead. However, it’s always a great idea to be prepared by having your own refillable travel set to fill with your favourite toiletries from home, instead of purchasing travel-sized products that have more plastic than product.
Going on a trip doesn’t have to mean having to sacrifice your green mindset. Continue reducing your waste and shrinking your carbon footprint by investing in reusable travel products.
What are some reusable items you like to take with you when travelling? Let us know in the comments below!
Download this checklist to shop reusable items for your next adventure.