TradeTravelJournal.com | Eco-Friendly Must-Haves For Your Next Travel | There are a lot of good reasons to travel—from broadening the mind to the mental and emotional health benefits of exploring the world. Sadly, traveling doesn’t exactly have a reputation for being environmentally friendly. In fact, according to The New York Times, taking a single roundtrip flight produces about 20 percent of the greenhouse emissions that an average car generates for a whole year. Along with that is another problem—single-use plastics such as plastic bottles, cups, utensils, and sachets.
Thankfully, we’ve seen a steady stream of powerful and accessible documentaries calling the attention of people and urging them to live a more conscious lifestyle. Surely, you’ve seen at least one or two eye-opening environmental documentaries online. If you haven’t any clue about them, it’s time to get out from under that rock you’ve been living under! Some of the must-watch films on Netflix include A Plastic Ocean, Mission Blue, Our Planet, and Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret. While these documentaries highlight how plastic waste is drowning our planet, simply being aware and feeling sick to our stomachs is not a solution in itself.
We need to be better than that—we need to find viable ways to travel without causing more harm to our planet. So, how can you actually make traveling sustainable? Here are a few eco-friendly must-haves to pack for your next vacation to level up your travel essentials:
- Bamboo toothbrush
Ordinarily, most people go through a single toothbrush every 3-4 months. More often than not, these used toothbrushes end up in landfills—a toxic form of waste management—causing even more harm to the environment. To reduce plastic pollution and landfill waste, switching to an eco-friendly bamboo toothbrush is just the perfect solution. The bamboo handle is biodegradable and the bristles are organically grown. Plus, it’s way cheaper than your plastic toothbrush!
- Shampoo bar
Aside from being more compact and lightweight, a solid shampoo bar is also better for the environment compared to its liquid counterpart.
Liquid shampoos are typically packaged in plastic bottles or sachets while shampoo bars usually come without any plastic packaging. Also, this zero-waste option is often made with organic ingredients which means they don’t have toxic chemicals and harmful plastic microbeads in it.
- Eco-friendly deodorant and antiperspirant
Unlike your regular old deodorants and antiperspirants, the eco-friendly alternative eliminates the use of toxic ingredients that could harm your body and the environment. Also, they come in biodegradable packaging and, depending on the brand, can be as effective as drugstore varieties, if not more.
- Sea-safe sunscreen in a tin can
Sunscreen is essential to protect yourself from the dangers of UV rays, especially when you’re planning on burying your toes in the sand, soaking up the warmth of the sun, and cooling off in the blue waters. Although, watch out for toxic ingredients that cause harm to coral reefs such as oxybenzone and octinoxate. Apart from inspecting the labels, make sure to choose reef-friendly sunblock packaged in tin cans to help reduce plastic waste as only 9% of them are recycled around the globe.
- Collapsible cup
Who doesn’t love a strong cup of coffee—or maybe a soothing cup of tea latte in the morning? As traveling mostly means being constantly on the move, you’ll most likely be having your coffee in to-go cups. While to-go cups are mostly made out of paper, the inner lining and the lid are both made from plastic material. As an alternative, always bring your handy and environmentally friendly collapsible silicone cup with you during your travels. Some coffee shops even give discounts when you bring your own cup.
- Reusable straws and utensils
Ditch the plastic straws and utensils. It’s time to shift to zero-waste and make the switch to reusable alternatives.
While there are occasions when it’s easy to say no to straws entirely, there are times when you absolutely need one—so make sure you have a reusable straw (be it glass, bamboo, or metal) in your travel bag. Also, because Filipinos love rice, don’t forget to pack with you a set of reusable utensils to save you from getting your fingers greasy while also doing the planet a huge favor!
- Eco bag
It’s definitely fun to shop for unique souvenirs from quaint local shops every time you visit new places. However, shopping often means having to deal with a ton of waste from unnecessary plastic bags. Avoid the excess plastic waste by simply bringing an eco-bag—you’ll never know when you’ll be needing them.
- Refillable water bottle
When on vacation, you’ll spend most of your time out and about. You’ll surely need to quench your thirst after all the strenuous activities you’ve planned throughout your trip. Having a refillable water bottle with you is absolutely necessary as not to be backed into a corner and forced to buy bottled drinks. If you’re left with no choice, turn your purchased plastic bottle into an ecobrick rather than simply throwing it into the bin.
So for your next travel, keep in mind these eco-friendly must-haves to reduce waste even while traveling. Besides, to travel green not only means helping the planet, but it can also help you save money as well!