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Interested in adopting a plastic-free travel lifestyle? From disposable water bottles to popular toothbrushes, plastic is everywhere and it’s negatively impacting our big, beautiful planet. If you’re wanting to make a change, here are 8 easy ways to ditch plastic whilst wandering the world.

Plastic-Free Travel Tips: 8 Easy Ways to Ditch Plastic Whilst Wandering

There’s nothing worse than traveling around the world, only to find many places have an abundance of plastic garbage and trash lying around. Personally, I found this plethora of plastic in many poor countries; it was so disheartening.

To see such beautiful places — like Romania and Vietnam — burdened with plastic in the corner of streets and in the ditches of roads was extremely depressing.

Thus, in the past year or so, I’ve made it my mission to reduce my overall plastic usage. Slowly, but surely, making my way towards a mostly plastic-free travel lifestyle.

I find it so rewarding knowing I’m having a genuine impact on the world and its environment; the oceans, forests, and animals, as well as the cities people live in.

Sometimes working my way towards a plastic-free travel and zero waste lifestyle is as simple as swapping out my toothbrush.

Other times, it’s a bit more difficult. Like scouring the internet for places which provide fruits and veggies not wrapped in plastic (which I have yet to nail down! Sorry, earth 😞 ).

So, whether you’re just looking to be more of a sustainable traveler and do what you can for the earth, or if you’re wanting to move towards a complete zero waste lifestyle, I’ve got just the list for you.

Plastic on the beach. • Plastic-Free Travel Tips


1. Skip on the shampoo and conditioner bottles.

Now hold up… I’m not telling you to not wash your hair! I’m telling you to ditch the plastic bottles and switch to something better for your hair and better for the earth… the magical shampoo bar!

Ever heard of it? It’s a bit strange but it’s absolutely awesome. Shampoo bars typically do what a good liquid shampoo does — essentially leaving you with body and shine, without drying the hair out or adding too much build up.

But that’s not all… shampoo bars are:

  • SUPER easy to travel with — they do not count as a liquid (yay! more space in your bag!).
  • Better for your hair — many don’t include some of the icky additives used in commercial shampoos, like sulfates and parabens.
  • Since they don’t dry out your hair or strip it of the natural oils, a conditioner isn’t needed.
  • You can buy them either on their own, without packaging (like in Lush), or they come in sustainable packaging.
  • Eco-friendly (yay for no plastic!).
  • Typically last a good, long while.
  • Usually more lightweight than a big ol’ bottle of shampoo.

If you’re searching for a good shampoo bar to try out, check out this one from Amazon OR this one from Earthhero!

With a reliable shampoo bar, taking the steps towards reducing your plastic usage while traveling is easy peasy.

Shampoo Bar • Plastic-Free Travel Tips

2. Swap out your toothbrush.

As mentioned before, one easy way to reduce your plastic usage and do better for our planet is to ditch that plastic toothbrush.

Instead of going with the popular models in stores like Walmart and Tesco, buy a bamboo toothbrush. Bamboo toothbrushes are fantastic for the earth, as they are:

  • Usually sustainably sourced.
  • Almost completely-natural bamboo (aside from the bristles).
  • Made out of biodegradable material (aside from the bristles).
  • Typically come in compostable packaging (aka plastic-free! Woohoo).
  • Full-out eco-friendly.

There’s nothing better than brushing your teeth with something that’s effectively cleaning your pearly whites and doing good for our beautiful earth!

You can find quality bamboo toothbrushes on Amazon OR Earthhero.

3. Fall in love with reusable water bottles.

GUYS! It’s time.

If you haven’t ditched the single-use plastic water bottles and switched to a reusable water bottle — what are you doinggg???

Get yourself a stainless-steel water bottle, which is recyclable at its end-of-life and plastic-free itself!

Additionally, if you aren’t able to drink the tap water in a particular location, such as Thailand or Bali, consider getting a GRAYL filtering water bottle (which is plastic, but should dramatically reduce your single-use plastic bottle usage).

You can use it over and over again, without going through a number of single-use plastic water bottles you buy at the convenience stores like 7-Eleven!

Get yourself a GRAYL Geopress Bottle here.

4. Pass on the airplane extras.

If you’re traveling on a plane, pass on the optional extras like that cup of soda or the plastic-wrapped meal. Bring your own instead!

Take your reusable water bottle, fill it before boarding the plane, and pack a few reusable containers loaded with healthy snacks.

My favorite plane snacks are things like nuts, seeds, fruits (like oranges or bananas), and homemade vegan granola bars.

Even better?

You can bring a reusable cup — like this one — and ask the wonderful flight attendants to fill it up with your complimentary drink of choice! Works every time for me and often I get compliments on bringing my reusables!

P.S. Also avoid using the straws! Both on the airplane and in your everyday life.

Loving this post on plastic-free travel tips? Check this one out next on 20 ways to be a better green traveler!

Plastic Cup • Plastic-Free Travel Tips

5. Throw out that plastic razor.

As a woman, I know I go through tons of plastic razors (or plastic razor heads) every year. Even though I don’t shave my legs or body that often, I still manage to go through a couple packs or so.

Thus, I’ve taken the initiative to make my way towards 100% plastic-free travel by swapping out that harmful plastic razor for an environmentally-friendly stainless-steel razor.

And no joke, this thing is absolutely amazing!

The shave is so smooth, the butterfly blades are super simple to remove and swap out, and the stainless-steel material is so durable (I may have dropped it a few too many times).

You can find a quality stainless-steel razor on Earthhero or Amazon. (You’re going to LOVE it!).

6. Rock on with reusables.

Similar to passing on the airplane food whilst traveling, you can pass on those plastic utensils and water bottles on tours, bus trips, trains, and more.

Here’s a quick and dirty list you can use to say buh-bye to those unfriendly plastics and rock on with reusables:

  • Reusable utensils: Yes! There are such things as reusable utensils and they’re awesome. Instead of opening a package of plastic utensils wrapped in plastic, you can open a beautiful bundle of wooden chopsticks, a spoon, fork, and knife. (Although, if you’re traveling by air, your knife will definitely get confiscated and maybe your fork, too.)
  • Reusable bag: This is a must-have for traveling around markets with. When you find a bundle of fruit and veggies you love, just stick ’em all in a handy reusable bag to carry them in. No need for plastic bags that a turtle or fish might eat! Additionally, bring small reusable bags for small items like limes, lemons, dates, etc. TIP: When purchasing reusable bags, go for the biodegradable cotton, not polyester.
  • Reusable cup: As mentioned above, you can carry around a small, stainless-steel reusable cup to drink out of. If you’re traveling by train or plane, you can ask the nice attendants if they’d fill it up, rather than filling up a plastic cup. Additionally, having a reusable cup is super handy when camping! It’s perfect for a delicious, energizing cup of joe.

Wanna know the one thing I never travel without as a female? Find out by reading this blog post.

7. Say no to those ugly plastic hotel amenities.

If you’ve ever stayed in a hotel, you’ve most definitely seen the plastic shampoo, conditioner, soap bar, and other miscellaneous items wrapped in plastic sitting next to the sink.

The key to avoiding needing to use these is planning ahead and making use of your reusables you’ve packed!

Additionally, make sure to not touch these plastic-wrapped items. Or else the maids might be under the impression you’ve used them, which in that case, they’ll throw them out.

Hotel Amenities • Plastic-Free Travel Tips

8. Eat real food.

I think we can all agree that the plastic-wrapped pre-packaged food found in convenient stores and gas stations isn’t good for your body… and it isn’t good for the earth either!

So, pass on the chips, Little Debbie’s, gas station sweets, and granola bars.

Implement a more plastic-free travel lifestyle by eating real food like fruit, veggies, and nuts while traveling.

When you opt for something like a banana, you know the its packaging (aka the banana peel!) is completely biodegradable. Thus, the earth is happy and so is your body!

Fresh Fruit • Plastic-Free Travel Tips

As far as plastic-free and zero waste traveling goes, it’s not as hard as you think.

Although there’s plastic damn near everywhere these days, all it takes is a little planning ahead and time investment. But no doubt, the earth will thank you!

And remember, don’t beat yourself up if you’re not perfect! Again, plastic is EVERYWHERE. And it’s hard to completely avoid. So just try your hardest and do the best you can!

Sophie xx

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