By going Zero Waste and low impact for your travel, you can reduce your impact on the problems in our oceans. Packing for Zero Waste travel can seem intimidating but by following these tips you can make your next trip a more sustainable one.
1. Getting Around: The best way to explore a new place is to get lost! Put on your comfortable walking shoes, hire a bicycle or jump on some public transport.
2. DIY Laundry: Packing light means you may have to do some laundry while you are away. To save on laundry fees and water, do your own in the hotel sink with a little bar of soap then hang dry to save on electricity too.
3. Drinking Water: Bring a reusable water bottle with you when you travel. If the country you’re visiting doesn’t have portable water ask around at restaurants or your hotel to see if they will refill your water bottle.
4. Hotel Services: Hotels will normally offer a daily cleaning service of your room, including changing the sheets and towels. Hang the ‘do not disturb’ sign on you door to avoid the unnecessary laundry.
5. BYO: Bring your own toiletries with you to avoid the individually wrapped mini soaps and If you’re worried about liquids leaking in your check-in bags, have a look at buying some shampoo and conditioner bars.
6. Entertainment: Download movies, books and podcasts straight to your phone! This means you can forgo the extra weight in your backpack and tossing that magazine once you’re done with it. Cafes and backpacker hostels will commonly have lending libraries if you’re an avid book lover, where you can exchange a book once completed.
7. Snacks: Head to the local markets to pick up some fresh fruit for your day trip snacks without the added plastic of course. Not only will you avoid packaged foods but stay healthier on your trip too.
8. Zero Waste Kit: Packing some reusable items such as a carry bag, container, straw and cutlery allows you to evade trash ‘on the go’ and pick up any snacks along the way plastic free. Check out my Zero Waste Kit for some more ideas.
9. Travel Gear: Everyone wants to have the latest travel gear for their next big trip but sustainable travel is about using what you have or finding it second hand to ease the strain on the environment. Wonder through your local second hand store or ask a friend to borrow what you need.
10. Community Involvement: If you want to get involved in the community during your trip do some research on any sustainable or volunteer projects in the area. Trash Hero conducts beach clean-ups all over the world each week, check out Koh Samui Beach Clean Up for details on my personal experience.
Photo Credit: Trash Hero
11. Animal Tourism: We all love animals and having our photos taken with them however these elephants, monkeys and tigers are enslaved for our entertainment. During your trip avoid any activities involving animals unless at a qualified animal sanctuary.
12. Sunscreen: Remember to pack some reef friendly for your trip. Many places like Hawaii and Costa Rica have banned the sale of sunscreens that harm marine life with harsh chemical run-off from tourists (P.S. If it harms the marine life, it’s not so healthy for you either). Find some natural and plastic free sunscreen here.
13. Insect repellent: Insect repellent can also contain nasty chemicals in them too. Check out some natural alternatives at Biome.
14. Souvenirs: Send a postcard! No one needs another plastic tacky souvenir. A postcard is cheap, doesn’t weight your bag down and shows your friends and family that you’re thinking of them.
15. Animal Souvenirs: Another note on saving the animals is not to buy animal products as souvenirs. You don’t know if they have been ethically sourced or killed for the tourism industry.
16. Enjoy Your Meal: Eat in at restaurants to avoid single use plastics, use the time to plan your next day trip or just enjoy people watching.
17. Ladies: Travelling on your period is worry enough besides having to find disposable products in a foreign country. Look into getting a menstrual cup/reusable pads to escape the unnecessary hassle.
18. Go paperless: Booking online is the way of the future and it can help save the environment too. Download tickets to your phone instead of printing to book activities, check in to hotels and for flights.
19. Experiences not things: Will you really treasure that tacky souvenir forever? Spend your well earned money on experiences that you’ll remember instead of things which will eventually end up in the donation pile.
20. Efficient Packing: When travelling you don’t want to be lugging around a heavy bag from place to place. Instead of packing an outfit for every occasion bring clothes which you can easily layer to suit every climate. If you do find that you forgot something you can always buy it locally.
21. Always Have a Sarong at Hand: Whether you bring one with you or buy one as a souvenir, a sarong is the best travel companion. You can use it as a towel, dress, cover up, blanket or make sift carry bag. A perfect multi-use item.
22. Preserve the Wildlife: Whether you’re jumping in the water to swim, snorkel or scuba dive, keep in mind to watch where you are going to protect yourself and your surroundings. Remember not to touch any coral or wildlife and most importantly have fun!
23. Eco-Friendly Tourism: Do your research and only book with eco-friendly providers to protect the environment you are there to see. Check on the company’s website or contact them directly.
Want to learn more about Zero Waste?
I’m happy to lend a helping hand and chat about any other questions you may have. Send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or follow my Zero Waste journey at www.litterlessliving.com for more tips on how to reduce your waste.
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