Easy Ways To Be More Eco-Friendly When Travelling

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One of the things that can be the most challenging, especially when you are living out of a backpack, it staying eco-friendly when travelling. It isn’t always easy to pack lunches and fill up your water bottle – especially if the tap water isn’t recommended as safe to drink.

Here are some of the tips and tricks that I have found help me to stay eco-friendly when travelling:

Opt for Buses, Trains or Boats over Planes

If you are on a longer backpacking trip and hopping between cities, countries or even continents, using a bus, train or boat instead of an airplane is a fantastic way to reduce your carbon footprint and help be eco-friendly when travelling.

It isn’t always possible but coaches and buses are often a lot more affordable than planes however they can take a lot longer.

Get A Water Bottle With A Filter

If you don’t want to have to buy a plastic water bottle or two every day then the best option I have encountered is to purchase a reusable bottle with a built in water filter. Whilst the filters do often have to be replaced, they last quite a long time and produce a lot less waste than frequently purchasing plastic bottles.

Brands such as lifestraw, water-to-go and lifesaver, to name but a few, all make and sell filter bottles and it is worth reading reviews to decide which bottle is right for you.

Water to Go Filter Bottle 50cl Fresh filtered water on the GO. Great way to stay eco-friendly when travelling.
Filter water bottles are a great way to stay eco-friendly when travelling

I personally have a water-to-go bottle but am yet to put it properly to the test.

Stop Using Disposable Period Products

Whilst this may seem a bit TMI, I think it is still important to discuss.

As a female traveller one of the worst things is getting your period on the road but carrying around pads and tampons not only takes up a lot of space in your backpack – they are really bad for the environment.

If you are looking to stay eco-friendly when travelling as a female backpacker then looking at more environmentally-conscious, reusable period products may be worth it.

Over lockdown, I started experimenting with the Saalt menstrual cup which I have so far found to be very easy to use and a lot more comfortable than standard pads. I am actually excited about the prospect of taking it travelling with me and not having to worry about my period. It’s also handy as you never need to worry about running out as they have a lifespan of 10 years!

Another option is period underwear which is produced by companies such as Thinx. Whilst this is not something that I have used myself yet, I think that is is a fantastic idea, especially for those worried about having access to toilets with bins. They even come in thongs and high waisted versions for people who aren’t a fan of standard underwear cuts.

I honestly think that pairing the two together is a great bet and will not only help the environment, but also help ease the stress and discomfort that comes along with a period on the road.

Bring a Reusable Coffee Cup

If you aren’t someone who likes to drink hot drinks then this may not be for you but if, like me, you love coffee and the occasional hot chocolate then a reusable coffee cup is a must!

When travelling, I often get cravings for coffee on the go and, being the busy bee that I am, don’t always have the time to sit down and drink from a mug. Thus, throughout the day, I amass a large collection of paper cups which cannot be recycled and cannot be reused.

Buying a reusable coffee cup that you can refill and take with you is a great way to stay eco-friendly when travelling and can even save you a few coins if you make your own coffee in the morning and take it on the go.

I personally use a flask which keeps my drinks hot for 12 hours but any reusable cup will do the job. You can even get collapsable coffee cups if you are worried about space in your bag.

Reusable coffee cups are a great way to stay eco-friendly when travelling

Carry a Tote Bag with You

Something that I never leave home without, whether travelling or not, is a cloth tote bag. They fold up very small and can be used in a myriad of ways to help you stay eco-friendly when travelling and reduce your need for plastic bags.

Whether you are using your tote as a shopping bag, beach bag or laundry bag – having one just means that you won’t need to say yes to a plastic shopping bag when you go to buy groceries to cook meals in your hostel.

I have a pretty wide collection of tote bags at this point which I have spent between £1 and £15 on (granted it was a cute tote bag from the Prague airport). They are a fun way to demonstrate your style whilst still saving the environemnt.

I am a big fan of this tote from amazon!

Use Solid Hair and Shower Products

This is another great trick as, not only does using solid shampoo, conditioner, shaving cream and shower gel (if you can access it) help prevent unnecessary plastic waste, it also reduces the number of liquids you have to carry on a plane with you and may help you avoid the hassle of digging out your toiletries bag from the bottom of your backpack.

They are absolutely not for everyone but I have found that the lush and ethique shower products have been wonderful and regularly use their solid shampoo and conditioners.

File:HK TST 尖沙咀 Tsim Sha Tsui 加連威老道 Granville Road January 2020 SS2 LUSH  shop 02.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

Collapsable Tupperware and The Classic Spork

If you are looking to push staying eco-friendly when travelling the extra mile then taking collapsable Tupperware and a good old-fashioned spork with you is a great way to reduce the need to buy sandwiches or pre-packaged food when on the road. This is especially helpful when going on day trips or planning on spending the day at the beach.

And, as always, making food in your hostel or airbnb will help you save money in the long-run.

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