Travel Muse

Sustainable Travel: Carry-On Essentials

Lily Abel gives some simple tips on how you can make your travel zero waste and environmentally friendly


Travelling sustainably can be hard, especially when you’re faced with airports full of packaged foods, disposable coffee cups and water bottles. However, it is easy to be mindful over what you pack so you can do your bit to help the environment as you travel.

Bamboo toothbrushes are something you can easily use in your day to day life as plastic toothbrushes are one of the worst contributors towards plastic consumption. Plastic, foldaway tooth brushes realistically do not save a great deal of room when packing for travels, therefore using a bamboo one which will biodegrade will be far more sustainable. Plastic toothbrushes will never disappear once you have thrown them away.

Rather than using single use knives and forks which are often readily available in airports, bring your own bamboo or metal ones. You can get packs of forks, knives, spoons and even packs with a bamboo straw. If you search on the internet or check out a local zero waste store you will find a variety, I carry mine everywhere!

Plastic water bottles are one of the worst polluters of the ocean and it is so easy to carry around a re-usable one that will also carry more liquid. This is perfect for any type of travel as access to water is a necessity and most airports have water refills; alternatively, you can ask a bar to fill it up after you have gone through security.

If you are someone who can’t go anywhere or get through the day without a coffee, packing a re-usable coffee cup is a must. Bringing one of these on your travels means that if you are time restricted and need to collect your coffee/tea/hot chocolate and get going, you don’t have to damage the environment by using a disposable cup. There are various brands of these and, once again, you can check online or in a variety of shops, even Paperchase has them!

A simple way of both avoiding the stress of checking how much liquid you are carrying and contributing to plastic waste is to use solid toiletries. You can get most things from Lush such as bars of soap, conditioner, shampoo, deodorant, moisturiser and even toothpaste. It cuts back on waste and stress!

To cut down on waste it’s best to bring your own snacks and food in reusable containers which you can use later on in your travels. Making sandwiches, overnight oats, biscuits etc for the journey not only cuts back on waste, but will save you money too! If you’re having a meal on the plane due to it being a long haul flight it is always better to be organised and bring your own, airplane food isn’t great anyway.

Finally, it is always handy to bring a reusable bag, just in case, whether it’s for arrival at your location and the trip to get supplies, or to put excess things in that might not pack away in your main bag. You never know when you might need it!

These are just some simple things you can do to help the environment and cut down on single use plastic. Implementing these things into your everyday routine will also make a difference. Of course a key way to really make a difference is to try and cut back on the amount of flights you go on per year, as flying is one of the worst things you can do for the planet. That said, every little bit helps and the big changes can only come from the top (looking towards the government) so do your part to encourage them to take action!

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