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Traveling Lightly

Traveling Lightly

I’m heading to Mexico tomorrow & I’m pretty darn exciting to say the least…aside from the mess in my lounge as I gather my packing bits together!  We land on just in time for Dia de Muertos  …exciting!  However, I think I will be missing the Rugby world cup final so someone better text me the score! (can’t  work out the fandangled time difference!)

Travelling to another country can be a bit of a challenge when you don’t know how things might be packaged. 

The best approach to take is to be prepared….. like the scouts (I was never a scout or a brownie but I do like to be prepared!).

I’ve popped together a few key items I always pack to help you avoid the masses of single use plastic that can come with travelling.

5 MUST pack items

1.Reusable water bottle

Last year in America alone 50 billion plastic water bottles were used with only 20% recycled (downcyled). A frightening thought when you think that this in only one country, so it’s important to take your own to refill. If you are going to a place where the water supply is questionable take water sanitation tablets . Many hotels/hostels offer refills of clean water for a minimal charge though so I very rarely need to use them.  There are other alternatives to purify water when travelling.  Check out this post for more info.


2. Reusable shopping bag.

Have one of these on hand for shopping adventures. With 6 million tons of trash & 80% of that being plastic entering the ocean annually, we just don’t need to keep using the disposable bags on offer.  I’ve got this nifty pouch I got given years ago for Xmas & I take it everywhere with me…super handy!


3. Reusable stainless cup

Invaluable on the plane for drink beverages. Water, wine & soft drinks are often served in disposal plastic cups so its a perfect way to reduce your use. I scored this puppy for $3.50 from Kmart in the camping section!


4. Cutlery pouch

Given you will be eating a lot more food out & about when travelling having reusable cutlery on hand is a must. Biodegradable cutlery is not a viable alternative it needs specific conditions to degrade.  Landfill, the ocean or the gutter do not provide these conditions.  The so called “Biodegradable cutlery”  I placed in my compost around 3 years ago was still completely in tact aside from it being broken In half, when i cleaned my compost recently.  Check out this post from Beth Terry if you would like to know more. Check a straw in as well.

The perfect excuse to treat yourself to one of my creations, lovely chrissy gift for the Eco warrior!


5. Reusable calico pouches

Not necessary but great to have on hand for bulk for purchases like nuts or for any other small items. These are great as they are small & can fit into you day pack or handbag. I’ll fill a couple of these with nuts & hope they will see me out for snacks fir a while.


Packing Toiletries 

Do you purchase those overpriced small versions of the shampoos, toothpastes etc for travelling?


Sure we need to take smaller quantities of toiletries with us but it’s much less wasteful to decant from what you already have at home into small containers. You can use the plastic travel bottles but we are trying to avoid purchasing extra plastic so save small glass bottles for this type of business.


If you are purchasing toiletries in glass already you are one step ahead as these can be the perfect travel size. If you are concerned about breakage I can say I’ve never had any breakages yet. I just take care as I pack them into my sponge bag. Some have little compartments which are perfect to hold them nice & snug or pack other non-breakable items around it


Pack a mini first aid kit

To avoid purchasing these on your travels & adding to the Plastic stash.

  • Band aids – choose fabric ones

  • Tea tree – as an antiseptic

  • Bug repellent (make your own out of natural oils)

  • Hand sanitizer; you might not be able to avoid plastic here, but avoid the chemical ones

  • Lavender oil for bites or stings

  • Panadol/disprin

  • Echinacea/Vitamin C or something for colds (plane travel & all)


To avoid unnecessary plastic tubes I make my own tooth paste & pop it in a wee jar. Also make my own Deodorant which I have made into nice travel size quantities. 

Decant sunscreens & shampoos or better yet take a shampoo bar (teamed with apple cider Vinegar). Save a wee bit at the end of a bar, enough to see you out to the end of your travels, that way you will have less to bring back & more room for travel treasures! Wrap them in grease proof paper or save the box they came in.  My toothbrush case is the box it came in…no need for fancy plastic containers here.  Being non toxic packaging they can be easily disposed of before you head home.


Make sure any soaps & sunscreens you take are environmentally friendly as products that are not may damage the eco systems of the places you are travelling to. 

Aim to travel lightly in all senses of the word.

Plane Carry on Essentials

  • Cutlery pouch 

  • Water bottle & stainless cup

  • Socks

  • Sleep mask

  • Reusable ear plugs 

  • Earphones – with that special plane jack

  • Hankies – ditch the travel sized plastic ones

  • A pen


Sure they supply you with some but they all come in single use plastic.  Imagine how many of these types of items are used daily & end up in landfill!

I tend to pack the same items every time I travel & have managed to get it down to a fine list.  Essentially you want to take key items that you know you will use or need, but if you had to purchase them when you away they all be wrapped in single use plastic.


So I’m excited for new adventures, experiencing new cultures, food & of course Im always curious about waste & what other cultures & people think about Plastic consumption.

Much love & travelling lightly Sx

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