Wherever we go in the world, we leave our carbon footprint. We also leave behind a lot of waste, if we aren’t mindful. Our environment is seriously hurting, and honestly, some of us humans are to blame. Sometimes, we’re oblivious to the damage that’s already all around us.
You rarely see photos on Instagram of the unglamorous parts of travel – including littered streets and beaches. If we all keep doing what we’re doing (i.e, consuming a lot of plastic and not recycling it properly) there will be more plastic in the ocean than there are fish by 2050.
No matter where you’re traveling to, you can make conscious decisions to be more eco-friendly and sustainable. We wanted to share with you a couple of super easy (and affordable) things you can pack with you to make sure that your travel is sustainable travel.
Reusable water bottle
Packing a reusable water bottle will both save you money and save the environment, and is one of the easiest ways to engage in sustainable travel. 1 million plastic water bottles are purchased every MINUTE, and most of them don’t get recycled. Make a difference by using a reusable water bottle. Not only will you be sustainable, but you’ll also save money refilling a bottle with tap water than buying individual water bottles.
Straws have been up for debate a lot recently, and for good reason. It can take up to a whopping 200 years for a single plastic straw to decompose. Reduce your waste by packing a reusable straw. This is one of the smallest and easiest things to pack, which will barely take up any space in your bag! Some of the most popular reusable straws for sustainable travel – and everyday life – are metal (usually stainless steel), bamboo, and silicone.
Think about how many plastic bags you use when you go grocery shopping, or shopping anywhere, really. Having a canvas tote will allow you to shop plastic bag free. Some stores sell totes at checkout, but you’ll save money if you bring your own ready to use! To be even more sustainable when you grocery shop, pack your own produce bags, too.
Collapsible travel mug
Coffee is fuel for travelers – especially digital nomads! However, takeaway paper coffee cups are not always recyclable, and do not make for sustainable travel. If you’re getting coffee to-go, bring your own reusable coffee mug. Collapsible mugs are amazing for travel since they can be folded down to be small enough to put in a pocket, purse, or backpack when you’re finished with your drink. Stojo is a popular brand that makes this kind of product.
Your own cutlery
Packing your own cutlery can make a big difference when you’re eating out at fast casual restaurants that only use plastic cutlery or for ordering takeout. Disposable cutlery is a big source of waste, and by bringing your own metal or bamboo cutlery while you’re on the go, you can reduce the amount of plastic waste you produce.
Silicone travel bottles
Instead of buying new travel sized toiletries each time you travel, buy a few silicone travel bottles to refill with products you already have. Again, this isn’t something that will just be sustainable, but it will also save you money. Buying new mini single-use products every time you travel really adds up. Be sure that the containers you buy are the right size to comply with airline rules if you’re flying.
A conscious attitude
Having a low-consumption mindset is just as important as packing and using those above items. Always be conscious and aware of the footprint you leave, how much waste you produce, and how much energy you use. For example, be mindful of how much water you’re using when you shower, and of course, remember to shut off the faucet while you brush your teeth. Remember to turn off the lights or AC when you leave a room, always recycle what can be recycled, and treat your surrounding environment with respect. Bonus points if you take some time to volunteer during your travels.