Let’s face it, there’s nothing more fun and more relaxing than going on a trip. When it comes to changing up your daily routine or having a break from daily life, a vacation just can’t be beaten. And there are countless other benefits; good food, interesting culture, endless hikes, just to name a few. Still, there’s one big BUT when it comes to travelling. Because while very diverting, it’s not per se very beneficial towards the environment. Luckily, there are a few ways to ensure your trip doesn’t hurt the planet too much.
Of course, how you choose to travel does a lot. Taking the plane is quite devastating for our environment, while the train or bike, for example, are excellent alternatives for those seeking to minimize their ecological footprint. Then, there’s a lot to be said about which type of accommodation you go for. Some hotels make more efforts than others when it comes to the environment and if you can, try to opt for a hotel, bed & breakfast or other kind of accommodation that’s run by locals. As consumers, we can change a lot by consciously thinking about where we put our money. Same goes for restaurants, shops etc. The more local, the better.
Okay, so you’re already thinking about where you sleep, eat and shop. Ok. But there’s more than that. Even though those factors probably do have the biggest impact, sometimes it’s all about the details. You might not even notice it, but often, when we’re away on a trip, we tend to be less careful about the waste we create. When we’re at home, we meticulously sort everything and we try to be on the lookout for products which might help to put one more step towards a zero waste lifestyle. But once we’re somewhere else, all of that suddenly goes out of the window. Why? We’re not sure. What we are sure about though, is that it’s about time to change that careless behaviour.
And let’s be clear: it’s not difficult at all. However, it takes a bit of preparation to put together your reusable travel kit but once you’ve got it, you’re covered for all your future travels. Based on our own experiences, we’ve made a list of five reusable items that will come in handy when you’re out there, discovering the world (now that that’s possible once again).
1. Water bottle
Let’s start with the basics. All too often, when we’re on holiday, we grab the plastic water bottles in the supermarket instead of taking our own reusable bottle with us. Stop that. Check if the water where you’re going is safe to drink and if so, push yourself not to buy a single-use bottle in the store anymore. If you’re a true coffee fanatic and you’re going somewhere with lots of coffee bars, it might be a good idea to think of a reusable coffee mug as well.
2. Swiss knife
Ah, the Swiss knife. It’s been a classic for ages now and not without reason. Whether you’re in need of a knife to cut your baguette, scissors to open a bag of snacks or a bottle opener for that bottle of red: this buddy has it all. There are a lot of different models and brands out there, so go for the one that suits you best. In some venues, however, it’s forbidden to carry a (Swiss) knife with you, so check this beforehand to make sure you don’t lose your handy buddy. Oh, and don’t try to check it into your hand luggage!
3. Food container
This goes without saying, but it’s not because you’re on holiday that you need to opt for single use plastics to pack your picnic or apéro. Take a little container with you in your suitcase – it doesn’t weigh a lot and, you’ll see, it’ll definitely come in handy at some point.
4. Tote bag
Another pretty obvious choice, yet one we forget too often. When you’re packing your things, make sure to throw in a couple of tote bags too. Maybe you’ll use them for your dirty laundry, maybe you’ll go shopping with them, maybe they’ll act as an improvised hat against the burning sun. Whatever you use them for, they’re an absolute travel essential if you ask us.
5. Menstrual cup
Those of you dealing with menstruation better listen up. When you’re away from home and you don’t know when exactly you’ll have access to a good, proper toilet, a menstrual cup is actually the perfect solution. They’re compact, so they don’t take up a lot of space in your luggage, and a lot more practical than a tampon, as you don’t necessarily need to dispose of it in a bin at any toilet you go to. And, of course, they’re better for the environment. What else do you want?