After two years of lock-downs and travel restrictions, many of us are itching to pack our suitcase and plan a trip (or a few!) in 2022. But with all the excitement, it's important we remember to travel responsibly and reduce plastic pollution.
Leave nothing but footprints. Take nothing but pictures. Kill nothing but time.
Here are our top tips on how to travel plastic-free.
#1: Bring a plastic-free travel kit
The best way to reduce plastic waste is to bring some reusable travel essentials. A little advance preparation is worth the clear conscience of travelling plastic-free. Let’s keep those beautiful beaches as they are, and protect the ocean’s wildlife while we’re at it.
Reusable water bottle: Keeping hydrated is even more important when you’re wandering around a new city or enjoying the sunshine at the beach. Instead of buying bottled water every day, bring your reusable stainless steel bottle. Easy to carry around, plus the water will stay cold all day. Airports now have drinking water refill stations after security checks, so you can fill up, stay hydrated on your flight and feel fresh when you arrive.
Reusable coffee cup: Your reusable coffee cup isn’t just for the daily commute. You can use it on trains and planes as well – some airlines even offer a discount! Remember, this cup isn't just for coffee or tea- you can also keep it handy for picking up freshly squeezed juice, or even water in the hotel lobby.
Reusable straw: Plastic straws cause havoc to ocean wildlife. If drinking from a straw is a must for you, bring along a reusable straw - we find these soft silicone straws particularly handy for travelling - pick one colour for each person in the group!
Reusable carry bag: The curse of plastic bags will be seen for many years to come, but you don’t have to be part of the problem. Keep your reusable bag handy in case you come across a must-have souvenir or delicious local market snacks. With a string bag that scrunches up and fits in your pocket, this doesn’t have to be a chore.
Reusable cutlery: Carrying a light-weight spork is a no brainer to reduce your waste. Use it on planes, trains or in restaurants. It sets a great example for the people around you.
#2: Refuse wasteful freebies
We all love a good bargain, and even more a free giveaway. But think about it - free stuff just means extra things you have to carry around, or feel guilty about throwing away. Less is more when it comes to freebies.
Hotel toiletries: One way to avoid collecting unnecessary free items is by avoiding hotel toiletries. Ask the reception if they could remove them from your room. They are generally packaged in plastic, and more often than not, barely used by guests, creating lots of unnecessary waste.
Travel accessories: Travel socks, masks, earphones etc. are generally packaged or made out of plastic and are only used once, adding to the plastic waste issue in the travel industry. So, avoid, avoid, avoid; you’ll feel like an environmental champion.
#3: Be the change
Being sustainable isn’t just about doing less harm, it’s about doing more good. When travelling, you have the opportunity not just to reduce your own waste, but also to spread the word to others.
Be an example for fellow travellers. When dining in restaurants and cafes, explain to the staff the reasons you prefer to avoid plastic straws and cutlery. You might even strike up an interesting conversation!
What are your experiences and tips for plastic-free travel? Share in the comments below and help others reduce their plastic footprint !