How to Travel Plastic Free Like a Pro | AD

On the whole, travel isn’t sustainable. So I had no idea where to start when it came to sustainable travel! It’s definitely daunting, sustainability can seem overwhelming at the best of times – let alone on the road! Luckily for me City to Sea have sent me some plastic free travel essentials to get me started.

And after a little research, I’ve figured out how to nail this sustainable travel thing. So I’m going to teach you guys how to do it like a pro (or semi pro, at least).

*This post featured gifted items from City to Sea as part of their #plasticfreetravel Summer campaign. All views are my own and haven’t been influenced by any third parties.

Firstly… Be realistic

There are some places where it’s nearly impossible to be sustainable. The main issue that springs to mind is tap water. I’m personally not willing to take the health risk of drinking potentially harmful tap water, so would turn to the next best option. In some cases, that option would be plastic bottled water. While it’s not something I’d do day to day, in some cases it can be unavoidable.

While I don’t want to advocate drinking plastic bottled water, I do want to advocate looking after yourself. Don’t put yourself at risk for fear of feeling guilty.

Try to be Prepared

As with anything in life, preparation is key! Are you planning to go somewhere hot or somewhere cold? How long are you going for? These are the key questions you should be asking yourself before packing. That way you can determine what items you need to take and what you could leave or swap out for a more sustainable option.

Chillys Bottle Packaging

Choose to Reuse & Refill

If you’re travelling within the UK this Summer then choose to refill and avoid plastic water bottles! The UK uses around 7 billion water bottles per year, which then takes 450-1000 years to biodegrade.

I’ve spoken about reusable bottles countless times on this blog, like in my easy sustainable swaps post. But it truly is the easiest way to reduce your plastic consumption.

I’m obsessed with the stainless steel Chilly’s bottles because they keep your drink hot or cold for a total of 12 hours! They also come in 3 sizes; 260ml, 500ml, & 750ml. City to Sea have kindly gifted me one of the Refill x Chilly’s Bottles to take on my travels with me this year (which you may have already seen over on my Instagram).

Refill x Chillys Bottle

Opt for Natural Sunscreens

Sun protection is vital during the summer months. Although the UK is infamous for it’s drizzly weather, we’ve seen a fair few sunny days this year! Not only does a good sunscreen protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UVB rays, it also prevents premature skin aging.

I was kindly sent the organic Shade sunscreen [from Not the Norm Ltd] by City to Sea, which is SPF25. It’s made with four natural ingredients; coconut oil, shea butter, beeswax, and zinc oxide. Not to mention it’s completely plastic free, coming in a handy little screw-top tin.

Shade Natural Sunscreen
Shade Natural Sunscreen Plastic Free Travel

Swap Liquid for Bars

Making the switch to a shampoo bar is by far the best thing I’ve done this year. My hair feels healthier, softer, and it can go longer between washes. A shampoo bar can even save you a whole lot of packing space in your suitcase!

The one pictured here was gifted to be by City to Sea via The Plastic Free Shop. The shampoo itself is originally from Friendly Soaps and is only £2.62 per bar! That’s the most affordable shampoo bar I’ve ever come across.

What I love about this shampoo bar is that it’s completely natural. It’s cruelty free, and contains no parabens, SLS, palm oil, or plastic. It couldn’t get much better than that, right?

Oh, it smells amazing too. So it really does get better!

Friendly Soaps Shampoo Bar

Try Public Transport

If you’re staying within the UK for your Summer break, why not give public transport a try? I know that in Wales Traws Cymru offer free weekend busses – meaning you can explore a brand new place at no cost!

Choosing to travel via bus or train significantly lowers your carbon footprint in comparison to using a car. Especially if you’re making lots of small journeys back and forth.

Ditch the Summer Wardrobe

Did you know the average garment is only worn 7 times before going to landfill? Resist the temptation to splurge on a brand new wardrobe for your holiday this year and shop your own wardrobe first.

What’s wrong with last years bikini? Shorts? T-shirts? Probably nothing at all!

Plus a lot, if not most swimwear is made with polyester fibres. Instead of purchasing something brand new made of plastic materials, why not use something you already own and love?

For things you actually really need, see if you can find it second-hand. I’ve become obsessed with Depop recently – it’s full of bargains if you know where to look.

Balibrush Bamboo Brush

Brush with Bamboo

I made the switch to a bamboo toothbrush a little over a year ago now and I haven’t looked back. The bristles are less abrasive than the ones on a plastic brush, which is a bonus for me because my gums used to bleed when brushing.

Plastic toothbrushes also take over 400 years to decompose, and over 1 billion go straight to landfill every year.

Stay Close to Home

Now I know, you’re thinking “isn’t the whole point of travel to get away from home?”. And you’d be correct. But how much of your own country have you explored?

I realised this year that there’s so many places in the UK I’ve never been to before. Which is ridiculous, because everything’s just a few hours away.

So instead of jetting off on a plane once a year, I’m making it my mission to see more of the sights the UK has to offer. Hopefully I can commit to being flight free in 2020 (though future family plans may interfere with this – I’ll keep you posted).

Just Be Conscious!

The fact you’re reading this probably means you’re already trying to be more sustainable in your day to day living. So congratulations! None of us are perfect, but the fact that we’re conscious of our individual impact is really important.

“We don’t need one person doing sustainability perfectly. We need several people doing sustainability imperfectly.”

While individual efforts are amazing and should be encouraged more, we also need to make some demands of our retailers. They’re a leading cause of environmental destruction and could make such a positive impact on the planet if they were even just 5% more sustainable.

City to Sea are calling out Boots, Superdrug, ASDA, Tesco, & Sainsbury’s to start stocking affordable #plasticfreetravel items in their stores. These items are to include refillable travel size bottles, cotton/reusable face wipes, bar soap, shampoo and conditioner bars, and plastic free sunscreen.

To support this action then head on over to their petition by clicking here. I’ve signed it, and they’re just under 500 signatures short of their goal!

What plastic free travel tip are you most likely to incorporate into your travel plans this year? Do you already do some of these things? Let me know in the comments below!

*This post features gifted items from City to Sea as part of their #plasticfreetravel Summer campaign. All views are my own and haven’t been influenced by any third parties.

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5 comments so far.

5 responses to “How to Travel Plastic Free Like a Pro | AD”

  1. Katie says:

    This post came at the right time for me as my boyfriend and I will be going to Krakow soon and I didn’t want to use lots of plastic! I’ve looked and loads of sources have said that the tap water in Krakow is safe to drink which is handly.

    I’m going to be ordering myself a shampoo bar from Friendly Soap because it’s definitely one of the cheaper ones I’ve seen and I’ve been wanting to make the swap for ages!

    Loved this post as usual Elen x

    • That’s brilliant Katie! I love hearing about people who’re trying to make more sustainable changes in their lifestyle. Travel is one of the most difficult things to implement changes to. Thanks so much for reading, let me know how you get on with the shampoo bar!
      El xx

  2. Lauren says:

    Love this! I really want to start making sustainability more of a priority in my life and these are some great tips for that. And it is a good excuse to buy a cute Chillys bottle too haha

    http://www.theemeralddove.co.uk

    • Haha – the designs on the new Chilly’s bottles are so cute I have to stop myself from buying a new one almost every week! I’m so glad to hear you’re wanting to make more changes in terms of sustainability. Good luck!
      El xx

  3. Love love love this post! I’m really trying to cut down plastic waste on one use, managed to do alot better for our last holiday which was good. These tips are great I love swapping for the lush plastic free range. The all natural sunscreen sounds great! Will definitely look into that.

    Jordanne || thelifeofaglasgowgirl.co.uk

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Hello! I'm Elen Mai, the brains behind Welsh Wanderer and 20-something human biology student from (you guessed it) Wales! Welsh Wanderer is designed with the eco-conscious adventurer in mind. So stick around for sustainable living & travel tips!

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