Travelling sustainably is something I’m becoming more conscious of. Yes, exploring the world is fun and exciting but it’s also important to remember how tourism impacts locals, culture and the environment. If I’m being honest, I don’t think anyone can 100% travel sustainably, considering 80% of a holiday/vacation’s carbon footprint comes from flights (and many of us obviously need to fly to arrive at our destinations). But, there are small yet impactful ways that we can become more sustainable travellers.
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When travelling, it’s easy to buy single-use products for every single trip you take (I’ve been guilty of it too in the past). But we can always be more conscious of what we pack. This could help reduce carbon emissions, avoid contributing to plastic waste and reduce damage to reef life. So here are the 17 best products you can use to help travel sustainably.
Use What You Already Have
The best sustainability practice is to use what you already have. This applies to travelling too! Whether it’s re-wearing the same clothes you own or packing those pair of trainers you’ve been wearing for years, using what you already have will help to reduce the overconsumption of products that can harm the environment.
Microfibre towels will help you travel more sustainably by reducing water. They use 95% less water and chemicals than cotton materials and they also last longer. For a towel that you can always count on when travelling, opt for a microfibre towel!
The common material used for disposable razors is plastic and these are non-biodegradable. When disposed of, they sit in landfill for hundreds of years, contributing to pollution. And when they eventually break down, the pieces of plastic harm wildlife and sea life. So, opting for a reusable razor for your travels will help to travel sustainably by reducing plastic waste going into landfill.
Common reusable razors are made from metal and bamboo. Not only are they eco-friendly and sustainable, but they also reduce irritation, razor burn and ingrown hairs! Once your blade has worn out, you only need to recycle it and replace it with another blade!
Do you ever hate using loofah sponges because of how easily they hold bacteria and how short their lifespan is? Well, let me introduce you to the Sapo sponge (aka, African Bath Sponge). They’re great to use in the shower, they make your skin smooth, they don’t breed bacteria and they can last for almost 2 years when taken good care of!
Although they are disposable like plastic toothbrushes, bamboo toothbrushes are actually biodegradable! They don’t need pesticides or much water to make which means they have a lower carbon footprint than plastic toothbrushes. Best of all, because the bamboo material is biodegradable, you can compost them and they’ll break down within 6 months!
Toothpaste tablets are a great eco-friendly alternative to toothpaste in tubes. They will help you travel sustainably by being plastic free and zero waste! Simply pop one in your mouth, chew and then brush your teeth as normal! Once you’ve finished a pack, you can always order a refill, many of which arrive in recyclable packaging in compostable packets!
Natural deodorants such as Wild and Salt of the Earth help avoid tonnes of disposable deodorants going into landfill. They come in cases that last for years and easily reduce waste by being refilled. Travel sustainably with their all-natural, vegan ingredients while feeling fresh for up to 24 hours.
Beauty and Skincare Products
Reusable Makeup Pads
If you like wearing makeup on holiday but you hate using disposable makeup wipes for removal, then reusable makeup pads are the perfect alternative.
There are tonnes of disposable makeup wipes in landfill and because they contain plastic and chemicals, they’re non-biodegradable and contaminate the environment. But with reusable makeup pads, you won’t be contributing to that waste. You just saturate it with your chosen cleanser and swipe away your makeup. You can put your used cleansing pads in the pouch that they come in then put them in the washing machine. Or you can even hand wash them after every use. Whatever works best for you!
Reef Safe Sunscreen
As someone with darker skin, finding sunscreens that are eco-friendly and don’t leave a ghostly white cast is difficult. Physical sunscreens generally leave a white cast. Meanwhile, chemical sunscreens generally don’t leave a white cast, but the chemicals found inside them are harmful to sea life.
But sunscreens like Supergoop and Black Girl Sunscreen make the search for eco-friendly and non-white cast sunscreen easy. They have a range of sunscreens, all of which are reef safe, which is rare, especially with chemical sunscreens!
For longer stays away at hostels, hotels or even when camping, having sustainable tableware is great to help travel sustainably!
Reusable Travel Cutlery
Reusable cutlery isn’t only for eating meals at home! It’s easy to buy a pack of single-use cutlery when you go for a long stay away or when camping but packing reusable cutlery ensures you’re not contributing to single-use plastic waste. They’re easy to use and clean and won’t take up much space in your luggage!
Reusable Water Bottle
If you don’t already have a reusable water bottle, I promise you, this is one of the easiest products you can get to help travel sustainably. Not only do reusable water bottles help you stay hydrated, but they also reduce single-use plastic waste, so will lower your carbon footprint.
Plus, it’s always handy having a reusable water bottle by your side. Especially when you’re visiting a hot country!
I will forever rave on about menstrual cups until I can’t any more (which will be never). Menstrual cups can be tricky to navigate at first but when you hack it, you will be forever changed! They can last up to 10 years, they can be worn for up to 12 hours, and they are so comfortable to wear! Before I used menstrual cups, I couldn’t enjoy swimming while on holiday as I thought pads were the only option. But now I can swim, sunbathe, and enjoy water sports in peace with a menstrual cup, knowing I won’t leak!
You may like: The Menstrual Cup: My Experience, How to Use and Top Tips
The Lunette Cup is great for beginners and I swear by the Merula Cup if you have a low cervix and/or heavy flow!
If the menstrual cup doesn’t sound like your thing, but you still want to travel sustainably while feeling comfortable when menstruating, then reusable pads are great for you! Unlike disposable pads, they don’t contain harmful chemicals and don’t sit in landfill for hundreds of years.
With reusable pads, you won’t need to spend tons of packs of pads every month as you can wash and reuse them! I’ll be honest, the initial cost may be a bit more than expected but in the long run, they’ll save you a lot of money and will help save the planet!
Eco chargers such as solar power banks are great eco-friendly battery chargers as they use the sun’s energy to power your gadgets. They’re also convenient and compact, making them great products to help travel sustainably!
If you’re a bookworm like me, then you probably love collecting books. But did you know that e-readers have a significantly lower carbon footprint than printed books? Printed books contribute about 26% of waste in landfill and consume 10-25kg of water per paper! But e-readers require few resources to make, can store hundreds of books and can also be recycled!
So if you want to travel sustainably and you love reading, opt for a Kindle or Kobo reader for paperless reading! I know it’s not the same as holding a physical book but I’m confident your reading experience with e-readers won’t be terrible! I personally have a Kobo Clara 2E as it’s made from recycled plastic and is also waterproof! Plus, I love that e-readers allow me to read comfortably before going to bed!
Universal Travel Adapter
Getting a universal travel adapter is a product that will help you to travel sustainably by completely reducing the need to buy a travel adapter every time you go abroad. It’s just one adapter, that can be used in over 180 countries!
Greener Travel Around Europe
One amazing thing about travelling around Europe is that it has a sophisticated rail network. Air travel emits 100 times more CO2 per hour than a shared train ride. So if you want to travel sustainably around Europe, you can interrail! It’s a great way to visit multiple European countries without causing harm to the environment.
You may also like: How to Plan an Interrail Trip: The Ultimate 5 Step Guide
I interrailed across 8 countries in Europe back in 2019 and it was a great way to explore all that Europe had to offer! Buy an interrail ticket and explore Europe without taking a flight to multiple places in a limited amount of time.
So that’s everything!
I hope this blog post has helped you become more conscious about travelling sustainably while also making your travels easier. If there are any other products that have helped you travel sustainably, feel free to mention them in the comments below!
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