How to Stay Eco-Friendly While Travelling

How to Stay Eco-Friendly While Travelling

Eco Friendly Travelling

Okay, I know it’s a little early to be posting about travelling (I mean, it’s only February) but I just can’t help myself! As soon as it starts to get a little lighter in the mornings I start thinking: “Well, it’s high time we all hiked off on our holidays really, isn’t it?!” (We’re not off on holiday until May, but I am already VERY excited).

We were lucky enough to go away quite a few times last year, and when it came to packing my bag I came across a whole host of last-minute dilemmas. I’ve put together a list of things I want to consider this year when I go away:

  • Making our luggage as light as possible to save on fuel
  • Keeping our waste to a minimum, both on the journey and while we we’re on holiday
  • Making sure new things we’re using (like sunscreen) are vegan & cruelty-free
  • Staying organised (and therefore calm) to avoid the ‘oh, fuck it’ mentality

(The ‘oh, fuck it’ mentality: Travelling with anxiety can be pretty stressful. If we (okay, me) are getting stressed out, it’s a lot easier to say ‘oh, fuck it’ and buy a disposable bottled drink rather than rifle through five bags to find our reusable one.)

Packing Light for Travelling

Keeping your bag weight to a minimum is pretty self explanatory. To be completely honest, I could probably write a whole post on this but it would be outstandingly boring. I mean, not for me. I’d love it. For now, I’ll leave you with a quick list:

  • Do you really need it?
  • Could you take a smaller version?
  • Can you re-use one, instead of taking three?

Another great tip is to colour co-ordinate your whole holiday wardrobe, or even plan outfits in advance, so that you know it’ll all get worn.

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Reducing Waste While You’re Away

I covered a lot of tips for ethical travelling when I did a post on eco-friendly flying, but reducing waste isn’t all about avoiding plastic in the airport or station. One of the hardest parts can be avoiding waste while you’re away.

When Joe and I were in Italy, we went to the supermarket to pick up some food. In our trolley we had a couple of loose vegetables, and when we got to the checkout the lady serving us huffed, got up, put them in a plastic bag and carried on! I was frustrated, to say the least. I also felt like a complete idiot…

My sister explained that it was because you’re supposed to weigh and label your own veg (both confusing and weirdly trusting of them), but we could have done that in re-usable vegetable sacks rather than plastic if we’d known.

I guess the moral of the story is to do your research and figure out what you’ll need ahead of time. Read up about the culture you’re entering into, and how you can satisfy your own morals without disrupting their norms.

If you plan on eating out a lot, you might want to research which restaurants serve local produce, or vendors that don’t serve in wad-loads of plastic.

Making Sure You’re Cruelty-Free

Cruelty-free is widely interpreted as not-tested-on-animals, but there are loads of other not-cruel things that your new products can be. Not contain animal products (leather), not be dangerous to aquatic life (straws/chemicals) and the list goes on… as more research is done, more ‘rules’ are made about what is and isn’t good for the planet, animals and ourselves.

I still learn new things all the time, and I run a blog about it! My advice? Choose the things that are most important to you and stick to them.

Last year, my priority was no animal testing and vegan ingredients, whereas Joe was super into reducing waste. Therefore, these were the things I focussed on most when I was shopping.

The more people become conscious of what they consume, the more companies will be aware of it, too. Going eco might seem daunting now, but it won’t be long before it’s second nature.

I noticed when I was shopping for sunscreen that Sainsbury’s own brand is certified by Cruelty Free International. It was the first sunscreen I’d found that was Leaping Bunny certified, so I scooped it up (other than that, we were still using up non-cruelty-free sunscreens from years gone by).

In terms of makeup and beauty, read here what I took with me to Italy in my cruelty-free and vegan makeup bag.

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Staying Organised While Travelling

Escaping the ‘oh, fuck it’ mindset can be quite a challenge for me in particular. I was quite impressed with myself when we went to Italy – I was organised to a Monica Geller kind of level, and it made everything so much easier. 

We didn’t have any checked luggage, so we put everything we wouldn’t need until we got there in Joe’s bag, and everything we would in mine. That way, we only had one bag to rifle through when we needed something. I used reusable clear bags to separate everything, which made finding things much easier.

I used these clear bags from M&S – I’ve had them for years, and they come in handy all the time. There are three clear pouches of different sizes. I used the smallest one for all of our liquids (which saved us from using the disposable baggies at the airport). The medium-sized one was for miscellaneous items (books, snacks, etc.), and the largest was for electrical items. This made going through security SO EASY.

I also had a reusable water bottle, a makeup bag filled with non-liquid toiletries and a thin folder with all of our travel documents. There was nothing loose in the bag, which meant nothing got lost.

Joe’s bag stayed shut the whole time we were travelling, which meant no unnecessary rifling. It worked really well; the only down-side was that my bag ended up being much heavier than Joe’s, which meant he was carrying it a lot of the time (the strong, independent woman inside me was not happy about that, but my arms definitely were). 

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