Tips for Low Impact Travel
Traveling and living a low impact lifestyle can seem like two very opposing things. Of course it's true that traveling can be extremely polluting and wasteful. However, there are many reasons why people can't avoid going to a foreign country, and so I wish to share with you the many ways to reduce your impact while enjoying your trip.
1. TAKE A REUSABLE BOTTLE WITH YOU
A water bottle is my #1 staple. I drink a lot (and so should you because it’s so important to stay hydrated, especially if you’re traveling to a hot country) and have always carried one with me. A while ago, I decided to make the switch to a reusable one so I wouldn’t need to buy plastic bottles again! However, if you’re going somewhere where the tap water isn’t drinkable, think about taking a water filter or steriliser with you.
2. HAVE YOUR ESSENTIALS WITH YOU
In my bag, I alway carry an additional fabric one in case I need to buy something. Inside of it I have my bamboo cutlery (you can definitely use the metal ones you have at home, but bamboo is lighter), a reusable straw and an old tank top that I can use as a napkin or whatever I would need it for.
3. TRY TO REFUSE DISPOSABLE ITEMS ON THE PLANE
If you’re taking a long haul flight, they might give you a pouch with a low quality eye mask, ear plugs and other such things. The items they will offer you are most likely things you already own but in a better quality version, so opt for saying no to them! Most items even come individually wrapped in plastic inside the pouch, so by refusing them you are taking a small stand against single use items.
This also goes for food and drinks! All of the food and drinks containers on the plane are disposable, either made of plastic or aluminium. Instead, refill your water bottle after security, either at a cafe or refill station (if they have one), and remember to pack some of your own snacks with you. Not only will you be contributing less waste to the planet, but you’ll also be less tempted to opt for less healthy drinks! And drink-wise aboard the aircraft, if you finish your bottle halfway through the flight, ask if an attendant can refill it instead of serving you water in a plastic cup.
4. ASK FOR NO STRAW
This is one of the easiest things to do, if you are able bodied, (and to forget). But if you do not depend on straws and can remember to ask for none, please do! You can either use a reusable straw made of stainless steel, bamboo, silicone, pasta, glass, or just completely ditch the straw!
5. PICK UP TRASH WHENEVER YOU CAN
Whether you’re chilling on the beach, hiking in the mountains or walking down the street, it would be great if you’re able pick up some trash along the way. You don’t have to be constantly bending over to pick up everything you see, but a little bit is always better than nothing!
6. MENSTRUAL CUP
If you happen to get your period whilst travelling, chances are you’ll want to take something with you to deal with that joyful occurrence. However, not only are tampons/disposable pads very wasteful, but they’re also harmful to our bodies due to the amount of chemicals used to create them. Plus they take a huge amount of space! Instead, try using a menstrual cup and/or reusable pads that you can wash over and over again. Personally, I’ve never used pads so I only use my menstrual cup that I’ve had for over 2 years now and couldn’t be happier about it! And it saved me so much money! I know there are also some special period underwear but I’ve never tried them.
7. BAMBOO TOOTHBRUSH
That’s pretty self explanatory. We go through so many toothbrushes in our life and they all and up in landfill. Getting a compostable bamboo toothbrush is a more eco-friendly solution, if you dispose of it properly.
8. SEWING KIT
Clothes tend to rip when you travel, mostly if you’re backpacking and going on adventures. A good way to reduce your waste is to reduce the amount of clothes you buy. And in order to do this, you can just create a small sewing kit yourself with some thread and needles, so you can try and fix your clothes instead of replacing them!
9. SOAP BAR
Having a soap bar isn’t just better for the environment because you can buy natural ones unpackaged, but because they also take up much less space and save you money as they last longer. A soap bar can be used for your whole body so you don’t have to bring with you a bunch of different bottles! Just make sure you carry it in a metal box so it doesn’t stick to everything when you have to pack right after a shower!
10. PLANT BASED EATING
Opt to eat plant based or at least reduce your meat consumption. Animal agriculture is a nightmare for the environment, so cutting back on the amount of animal products you consume is a great step forward. Plus meat is usually more expensive, and you’re more at risk of getting ill from eating animal products than plants, from my experience, in hot countries.
I hope these few tips were helpful to you, and if you have more, do not hesitate to share them with us, we can all learn from each other!
Nour runs a YouTube channel which covers a diverse range of topics from travelling, to low impact living to minimalist apartment tours. Nour is also on Instagram where she displays her beautiful photography in a way that inspires people to make small changes in their every day life.
YouTube: Nour Livia