I love travel, but I am very aware, as someone who tries to be eco-friendly in as many facets of my life as possible, of how much travelling increases your carbon footprint.
This is slightly unavoidable if you want to travel the world. Stepping on the plane is essential for getting to a lot of wonderful places. HOWEVER, there are other things you can do to be more sustainable in the way you travel.
It can be pretty tough deciding what you want to pack, especially if you’re an over-packer like I am! Taking a few sustainable items, however, or swapping out some of your normal go-to-buys for something slightly different, can make all the difference and reduce your personal impact on the planet.
On the journey to being more eco-friendly it is always trial and error; you don’t have to do everything all at once when it comes to being greener. A little change here and there, especially when it comes to travel, can be a great start.
Here are 9 nifty ideas of some eco-friendly swaps to start off with when packing for your next jaunt abroad. I’ve suggested some brands I’ve tried and love, so feel free to check them out at the links included.
1. Shampoo/Conditioner Bars
There are a huge range of shampoo and conditioners bars which have come onto the market in recent years. It’s very easy to defend your choice of shampoo/conditioner by saying the effects won’t be the same on your hair, or your hair is difficult to look after, however the huge plethora of different types of bars out there now should provide plenty of opportunity to find the one that’s right for you!
These bars usually come plastic-free, with biodegradable or recyclable packaging, which is always a massive plus in my eyes. A lot of places now sell wonderful metal tins for travel transportation, and although some products do stick to these (which can mean you end up losing product) if you look after the product correctly and try and keep it dry between uses you can avoid this!
Alternatively, if you are super attached to your plastic bottles, a lot of eco-friendly shops now stock refillable shampoo and conditioner from Faith In Nature. Just take in your own plastic bottle and refill it from a pump and you will only be charged for the product inside. This is a great way of reusing plastic and stopping your packaging being thrown into a landfill!
Faith in Nature are also completely vegan, natural, cruelty free and ethical, so a really good company to buy from, and all their products are made in the UK.
But getting back to shampoo and conditioner bars. I started using these late last year and I’ve worked my way through a few different types now, but I’m so excited to try ones I have sitting in my basket too.
I initially started off with the Lush shampoo bar in Seanik and the conditioner bar in American Cream. I also got the Lush travel tins, in order to transport them around with me, and they are pretty good, and the perfect size for Lush products. Both of these products smell amazing, as you’d expect of Lush, but the shampoo really reminded me of the ocean and the smell really lingered. The conditioner was also super sweet smelling and actually made my hair so soft (which a lot of people don’t expect from bars).
Some other companies I highly recommend are:
Nut and Noggin – they only currently have a shampoo bar out, but again they are vegan, cruelty free, sulphate free and have recyclable packaging. The unique shape to the bar also means you have less product wastage, as it only has a small base to stick to the container. They are currently working on a conditioner bar too!
Primal Suds – I have yet to try out their products but I have heard such good things. They also do great soap bars and dry shampoo. Their homepage explains all the good things they DO put in their soaps, rather than the ones they don’t.
Zero Waste Path – these guys have just brought out 2in1 shampoo and conditioner bars, which is great for travellers as you want to carry as little as possible ideally! I’ve just ordered mine and I can’t wait to try it out.
2. Reusable Water Bottles
We’ve all heard it over and over; not buying plastic bottles does a world of good and a reusable water bottle is such an each switch. Especially if you’re going on an active holiday, having two of these stashed in your back pack is not only essential for your well being, but to stop your use of single use plastic. I’m a sucker for a Chilly’s bottle, as they really do keep things cold and are very sleek and stylish. However, there are plenty of more affordable alternatives out there. Companies like FOSH do great triple insulated, none-toxic, BPA free, stainless steel bottles, which are great for both hot and cold drinks.
3. Reef Safe Sun Cream
Given this blog is called ‘thisgingertravels’, I’m sure you’ve all guessed that I’m the sort of person who is in dire need of sun cream. I burn incredibly easily, and the only way around this is to lather myself in suncream, head to toe, every hour and a half.
As someone who also love scuba diving and snorkelling, this could obviously be a huge issue. Most suncreams contain oxybenzone, which causes coral to break down, lose its nutrients, bleach and often die. Obviously, we all want to keep enjoying these beautiful corals and not damage the fragile ocean eco-systems, so there’s an easy switch!
Opting for sun creams such as Amazinc, which only uses natural ingredients that specifically don’t damage reefs. Their packaging is also completely recyclable or reusable and they strive towards not only making their products good for the oceans, but also good for you and your skin! I’ve just ordered the Amazinc Sun Cream Stick in SPF50 and the Amazinc Sunscreen Lotion in SPF50 for my upcoming trip to Malta and I can’t wait to use them.
4. Eco-friendly Deodorant
This comes with full disclosure: there is an adjustment period to natural deodorants. Some people feel they smell MORE when they switch to eco-deodorants, but I promise you after a couple of weeks it’s back to fresh as a daisy. Natural deodorants actually prevent the yellow stains you can often encounter on light clothing, and stop some of the uncomfortable symptoms of razor rash. Not only are they good for the planet, they’re good for your skin too!
I’m currently using Wild Natural Deodorant. When you first buy, you buy a pretty metal tube (which comes in a variety of fun colours) and then you just replace the compostable, aluminum free, plastic free refills. There’s even five different scents to choose from. I am super impressed with it and would recommend it to anyone, and it’s so compact so perfect for travelling, even taking the refills!
5. Bamboo Toothbrush
I know a lot of people are attached to their electric toothbrush. Trust me I was as well. However, carrying about a bamboo toothbrush is SO much easier and works just as well as long as you take the time to invest in brushing your teeth thoroughly.
There are so many different brands out there – I usually opt for Bambaw as I buy a lot of products from them, but there are so many out there just do some Googling. Most of them now do options on strength of bristles and there are even some really cool travel cases out there now as well, which are also made from bamboo.
6. Make Up Removal Towel
Make up removers are an essential on holiday, especially if you’ve had a long sweaty day with sun cream and mascara running down your face. However, disposable make up wipes are not.
For Christmas about 3 years ago my Gran bought me a ‘make up remover towel’. No idea where she got it from. But I was really sceptical to begin with. The ‘just add water’ tagline made me thing there was no way it was going to remove my waterproof mascara everyday, but lo and behold, I’m a changed woman.
They are so handy, as you just have to pop one in your bag and off you go! Anytime, anywhere, just add water and your make up comes of perfectly. You wash it normally just in with your clothes, and you can do that as regularly as you need. I wear very little make up so it doesn’t have to be that often.
I have no idea what brand mine is, but there are plenty out there. The one I’ve recommended below is an Amazon buy (I try not to use Amazon due to not agreeing with many of their practices), but it is the most similar one I can find to mine!
Alternatively, there are also a wide range of make up removed reusable pads, which I also use for things like cleanser and toner, and you can use with a wide range of products. Mine are from Peace With The Wild and come in an adorable lemon print. This stops the constant use of cotton pads and all the wastage! Again, they can be washed in with your clothes. Easy right?
7. A Tote/Shopping Bag
It may seem obvious, it may seem silly, but we should all be using reusable shopping bags by now. I favour a little canvas tote that I always keep at the bottom of my main bag or rucksack, incase I end up impromptu shopping or forget a bag at home. Super easy, takes up no space at all, and really makes a difference so you don’t keep using those pesky plastic bags that end up absolutely everywhere. No link for this one: find a local small business, or an eco-friendly online shop and pick a pattern that suits you!
8. Notepad and Pen
I’m the sort of person who can’t go anywhere without a notepad and pen. Whether it’s for studying, for writing down ideas that come to me in the moment, or for tracking what I’m meant to be doing that day. Especially when travelling, it’s an essential that is so often overlooked.
I recently started to invest in more eco-friendly stationary and became a brand ambassador for A Good Company, a Scandanavian eco-responsible brand who make everything from notepads and pens to phone cases. Their products are all recycled or recyclable, carbon off-set in their shipping and resourced from suppliers who have the same values as their company!
I have a beautiful Stone Paper Notepad in dusty pink (but they come in a huge range of colours) and a Natural Grass Pen. You buy refills for this pen, meaning you never have to throw away a pen again. They’re both really beautiful products and you can read so much about how and why they are environmentally friendly on the website and even IN the actual product with the notebook. Being A5, the notebook is the perfect size for taking away with you and means you can write down all your favourite travel spots somewhere safe and memorable. It’s also waterproof, so no fear of losing your content (especially with how much I love being in the water).
If you’re looking for new stationary, this is the environmentally friendly place to go, you can even get 10% off by using the code: thisgingertravels!
This seems to have become a contentious matter for readers around the world, but I won’t go anywhere without my kindle. As someone who travels so much, it would make no sense to be lugging books everywhere I go with me, especially as I manage to get through so many on flights/trains/busses/beaches. It also saves on wasted paper, and the chance that the book will only get read once and then thrown away (although I like to think everyone donates their read books to charity shops/friends).
My kindle is virtually paper thin, waterproof and has great light settings, meaning I can read anywhere, anytime, without fear of disturbing other people (especially in hostels by turning the light on), or fear of dropping it in the pool.
I also love hard copy books, there’s something lovely about opening the pages, folding the spine, and smelling that new book smell, but honestly, the kindle is the way forward. Hundreds of books in one compact transporter: what traveller wouldn’t want that?
There are millions of ways you can make slight changes to your lifestyle in order to become more eco-friendly, these are just 9 suggestions as someone who travels a lot of things that have really affected my packing! I have more space, less weight to carry, and less liquids which is always a plus when travelling by air.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post and that some of the recommendations come in useful. If you have any questions or things you want to tell me about that YOU have done to pack in a more eco-friendly way, follow the Contact Me page and get in touch by email or on Instagram.
Amy @thisgingertravels x