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Sustainable Travel: 9 Best Tips to Reduce Plastic While Travelling

Updated: Dec 20, 2022

1. Reusable Water Bottle

This is the easiest way to reduce plastic while travelling, the single use plastic water bottles we buy at supermarkets are releasing toxins in the water. You will be reducing plastic when opting for a reusable water bottle, you can either have one that you can refill depending on the country you are traveling to, or if the water isn't safe to drink where you are, then can get a purifying water bottle.

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2. Reusable Shopping Bags

If you are travelling, then the chances of you buying something is high, but of course most supermarkets and stores have single use plastic bags, the best option is to switch to reusable shopping bags. I always carry at least one in my bag in case I have to buy something, you can find a lot of light and foldable options that won't take space in your bag.

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3. Plastic-Free Toiletries

A great way to reduce the amount of plastic you use while travelling is by reducing the number of plastic toiletries you have. There are a lot of different reasons besides reducing plastic, but most products have harmful chemicals that we shouldn't be using, and also while travelling you can opt for options that can go in your carry-on or handbag since they are not liquid.

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There are a lot of ways to ditch the plastic tube, you can make your own using peppermint oil + baking soda, or you can buy eco-friendly options such Georganics toothpaste since they come in a glass jar. Georganics have three options: paste, powder, and tablets, you can use whatever you like, but the tablets and the powder would be perfect for traveling as they can easily go into your carry-on or handbag as they don't count as a liquid. I liked Georganics toothpaste, but I currently use a powder from a small company in Egypt called Nankar.

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Plastic toothbrush are a nightmare for the environment, so the best option is a bamboo toothbrush.

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The best option is a shampoo bar, this lasts for a while, longer than 2-3 bottles combined. Again you can either make your own if you like DIY, or you can buy one. I have a shampoo bar, a conditioner bar, and another bar instead of shower gel. You can add them in a tin box and travel easily as they will not count as liquid and can be put in your carry-on or handbag. You can either buy them online, or you can find them in a store near you, whether it's a bulk store or a zero-waste store.

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First of all, spray deodorant are harmful not only for the environment, but for our bodies as well, even though there are a lot of natural deodorant out there, but most of them still come in plastic. The best options here are: a deodorant bar, powder deodorant, or a deodorant that comes in a paper tube. You can also DIY since there are a lot of recipes out there, but my favourite is a deodorant that comes in a paper tube from Nankar, but you can easily find a lot plastic-free options. Again, these are a great option when traveling since you can add them in your carry-on or handbag.


The oceans are affected by plastic as well, but besides that, corals are affected by the sunscreen we wear and most of use use whatever one they can find and it is filled with a lot of harmful chemicals that are killing our oceans. If your sunscreen have ingredients such as: oxybenzone, octinoxate, homosalate, and octocrylene, then you need to get a new one. Safe minerals to be used in a sunscreen are titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, and make sure to find a plastic-free option as well. I have a natural sunscreen in a tin box from Nankar in Egypt.

Cotton Swabs

You may look at cotton swabs and thing that they are harmless or you might've even not though about them at all, but cotton swabs are detrimental for the environment since they are made up of plastic. Your best options are either a plastic-free cotton swab such as the ones made from bamboo, or you can buy a reusable swab such as LasSwabs' one.

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4. Plastic-Free Beauty Routine

I don't usually wear make-up, but if you do then you need to switch to a plastic-free routine. This might seem hard but there are a lot of companies out there that make eco-friendly and plastic-free make-up such as Zao. Besides the products you use, you can also switch to using reusable cotton pads which I have been using for a few years now, and you can also use a cleansing soap that is made from natural ingredients.

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5. Say No to Hotel Toiletries

I know it is tempting to use the mini-toiletries we find at hotels, but of course if we are trying to reduce the amount of plastic we use then this is not a great option. As mentioned before, you can have your plastic-free toiletries with you, but also you can bring your own hand soap bar and you don't have to use any of the hotel's toiletries that way.

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6. Metal or Bamboo Straw & Utensils

Make sure to always carry you utensils with you in case you get a take away when traveling, bamboo utensils are lightweight and easy to carry with you anywhere. Besides having a straw and utensils, if you have space in your bags when traveling, you can have a reusable coffee cup and light Tupperware such as a Bento Box or a stainless steel one.

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7. Take Part in a Beach Clean Up

If you are traveling somewhere where there is a beach, then the chances of finding a beach clean up are high.

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8. Shaving Razor or Epilator

Disposable plastic razors can be switched for a safety razor, which is reusable and plastic-free, or you can buy an epilator which lasts for years. The prices may be scary for the safety razor but you only buy it once and then you have to buy the blades which are affordable, and same goes for the epilator, you only have to buy it once and then it lasts you for years.

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9. Menstrual Products

Single use menstrual products are an environmental nightmare as they cannot be recycled because of hygiene reasons and they end up in the landfill. You can switch to using a menstrual cup or reusable pads, they are plastic-free, eco-friendly, and reusable for years. They might seem expensive but you are saving money on the long run since you only have to buy them once and that's it.

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