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Packing for A More Eco-Conscious Vacation

When we are on holiday, we may have the tendency to cut ourselves some slack with our diet and spending habits. If there’s one thing we should not compromise, however, it’s our sustainable practices. Considering the carbon footprint our plane ride might have left on the planet, it’s even more necessary that we take intentional steps to lower our environmental impact in other ways. Here are a few for starters:

Refillable water bottle

More often than not we end up buying plastic water bottles while we are travelling. Or perhaps it is what the hotel or travel agency provided. Now that’s not going to solve the plastic crisis we are facing. Bringing your own water bottle really helps to reduce plastic consumption and waste, and help manage pollution, especially in places that are nearby rivers and beaches. No excuses for being in areas where tap water is not safe; it’s not that difficult to boil your own water.

I notice that in recent years, some hotels have started to provide potable water in reusable glass bottles rather than plastic bottles (kudos to them) so having your own bottle can come really handy!

Cotton cloth bags for packing

I used to use Ziploc bags to pack my clothes but have since found a better alternative in cloth bags. In fact, so far I have only been reusing the cotton jaw-string bags that come with my shopping (i.e. from Anothersole) so I haven’t even had to buy any! In any case, they are also found on Amazon (these are mesh bags). The best thing about cloth bags is that they are washable. When Ziploc is dirty, the tendency is to throw them away, because they are not sturdy enough for washes and reuse. With cotton bags, you can just throw them into the washer and they are good for more rounds of fresh use! Trust me, they are a staple in my gym bag.

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Chemical-free sunscreen that doesn’t harm the ocean

For an island getaway, sunscreen lotion is a must-have. For one who might be going underwater, you might want to consider a reef-safe sunscreen. Typical sunscreen lotions in the market is formulated with toxic chemicals such as oxybenzone, which although allow better absorption into our skin, causes coral deformation and bleaching.

I got my Thinksport from iHerb when I went on my snorkeling trip in Fiji. It is free from ingredients harmful to ocean lives (it’s not just oxybenzone, anything that ends with ~paraben is probably a culprit too), and helps to protect not only my skin but also the underwater marine ecosystem.

Above all, pack light

If you haven’t heard, a heavier load on the plane requires more fuel to get the plane going. (Yes, NatGeo also suggests emptying your bladder being boarding.) Airlines are spending on R&D of lighter materials in a bid to be more fuel efficient, and as consumers we can play a small part in helping to reduce CO2 emission as well. It’s simple: pack light. Well, actually, it’s about packing smart and going for the important things. Choose a more practical coat over the bulky one that looks pretty but might not resist the cold as well. Pick the more versatile pieces with just a few statement items to make your outfit refreshing. Know the hotel offers bathrobes and towels? Ditch your own towels and PJs at home!

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