Environmentally Friendly Travel: Tips For Those On The Move
We know we have to get better at living sustainably. It is hard when major corporations are not leading the charge and changing their practices to make sustainable choices easier and more accessible. Living eco-friendly still takes work for the individual and that is the direct fault of big business and governments not acting fast enough in the face of climate change.
One of the hardest places to maintain a green lifestyle is when you are on tour or regularly on the move with contract jobs. Over the past year, I have had to travel a lot and at the same time, I have made a concerted effort to make adjustments in my lifestyle to reduce my own impact on the environment. So, if you are looking to make changes on an individual level, here are some tips for those on the move!
Shampoo and conditioner bars
Shampoo Bars are great for travelling as you can get through airport security without breaching the liquid quota in a shampoo bottle. Zero plastic. Bang for your buck in the fact that one bar can equal around 3 shampoo bottles’ worth of washing. Conditioner bars are also a thing too if you want to go there. I have not yet crossed the line and used a conditioner bar but LUSH house all their products in recycled plastic and you can bring back the bottles to their store for further up-cyling. Amazon also supply similar products if you don’t have access to a LUSH store.
A travel cutlery set
My favourite purchase in the past year was a travel cutlery set. I bought mine from Plastic Free Hong Kong and I carry them everywhere I go. It has a bamboo knife, fork and spoon, a stainless steel straw and a set of stainless steel chopsticks. Plus a brush to clean the straw with. Whenever you order takeaway, you can refuse plastic cutlery and straws as you have your own. Again Amazon have various versions of bamboo cutlery sets for online ordering.
Earth-friendly and ethical clothing
Moving to companies with ethical practices and sustainable operations is the best way to let big earth sucking corporate giants know that what they do is not OK. But where do you start? Start by downloading the Good On You App. Good On You rate global brands on their Labour, Environmental and Animal practices and give you their 5 star recommendations on brands that win on all 3 of these factors. Links will take you to the websites so you can purchase directly.
Have a re-usable bag or two in your pack
Re-usable shopping bags that are housed in a small pack are easy to keep on you as you travel as they are so small. If you have a spontaneous street purchase or you are grabbing groceries/take-away on the go, having these in your pack allows you to avoid plastic bags.
Take a water bottle with you for air travel
Don’t fill the bottle up before you get through security as it will be confiscated. But many airports have drink stations on the inside for you to fill up your bottle. Why is this important? Because you need to stay hydrated on long flights (or short for that matter). Plus you get to refuse those plastic cups given to you by the airplane drink trolley or the plastic water bottles that are often handed out.
Headphones with adapters
I know that wireless headphones are most people’s choice these days, but airplanes don’t have bluetooth audio for their entertainment system yet. Nor are they likely to go this way given that some new airplanes are moving their onboard content towards being available through your smartphone and tablet devices. But we are not quite there yet. In the meantime, grab some cabled headphones, buy yourself some mini jack adapters (2 or 3 prong plugs you find on the armrests of planes) and you never need to rip open the plastic bag that holds the dodgy airline headphones. Saving plastic consumption. Yay! And let’s be real, you are going to get a better audio experience anyway.
Buy some Toms to travel in
I have already mentioned sustainable clothing but Toms is a trailblazing company for ethical and sustainable practices and if you don’t know about them, you should. Their shoes are great travel shoes and Toms have a one for one policy. This means for every pair you buy, you also provide a pair to a child without shoes. This is only one of their incredible business practices. Take a look at their website for a full list of their game changing work.
Women: Diva Cups and Thinx underwear
Diva Cups or Moon Cups combined with Thinx Underwear are the ultimate eco-friendly way to manage your menstrual cycles. The benefits? By not having to buy tampons or pads, you save a butt load of cash in the long term and you are drastically reducing the amount of waste by not burning through pads and tampons (and associated plastic packaging) on a monthly basis. Not to mention the fact that a menstrual cup can be left in for up to 12 hours without needing to be emptied which is the ultimate freedom for a woman on the move.
One last and very important thing you can do as you gain greater awareness and change your daily practices towards more ethically sound and environmentally friendly ways is this; share what you know and what you do with the people around you. As you travel, have those conversations in airports and in supermarkets and takeaway joints. Constantly seek to avoid plastic and other non-biodegradable products in your life and encourage others to do so as well. Together, through our mindfulness and daily choices, we can drive the changes we need to save our precious planet.
If anyone else has discovered some other environmentally friendly travel hacks, we would love to hear from you. Send your ideas to [email protected]
Also by Anna Robb: