Picture: Two years ago with small bag in Prague
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Travelling and being on the road is a special topic when it comes to avoiding waste. Thinking through preparation and eventualities is the be-all and end-all.
Since I started living ZeroWaste two and a half years ago, I have experienced it again and again. Since I am on the road a lot, I always have cutlery, a small towel, a handkerchief and a water bottle and sometimes also a small bag and a sealed container for food purchases with me.
Before a trip I think about what I plan to do, how long I will be on the road, if there will be vegan food at the destination, what kind of weather conditions are there, etc. I like to pack things here that can fulfill several purposes. For example handkerchiefs that can also be used as napkins or small bags for shopping. Additional tip: pack foldable things in glasses or boxes to save space in your backpack! I try to pack as little as possible but as much as necessary regarding my ZeroWaste travel gadgets. On my last four day trip to Krakow I brought the following things with me:
- digital bus ticket
- an extra smaller backpack
- a cloth bag
- several smaller bags
- a jar
- headphones to avoid having to use the headphones in the bus (or on the plane)
- cutlery incl. stainless steel straw
- fountain pen and ink for refilling
- powdered deodorant
- peppermint oil against headaches and tensions
- menstrual cup
- period underwear and a cotton pad
- sunglasses plus cleaning cloth
- a hood
- several cloth handkerchiefs
- a small towel
- one filled water bottle, insulated (for hot and cold drinks)
- toner in a reusable spray bottle
- a make-up remover cloth (although I didn’t have any makeup with me 😉 )
- coconut oil in a small reusable container
- face cream
- a small soap for showering
- solid deodorant
- homemade tooth powder
- a bamboo toothbrush
- food for the bus or train journey
- snacks like nuts, fruits, biscuits, or the like for fast hunger or low sugar attacks
I have to say that I was also ill at the time of the trip and therefore had cream, peppermint oil and many handkerchiefs with me. In general, however, these things were very helpful and versatile during the trip.
In addition, I can recommend to bring a stainless steel box or beeswax paper and for a (wellness) holiday also a slightly larger towel, flip-flops (for the sauna and swimming pool) and a swimsuit. These things are often provided, but if you take your own products with you, you can avoid the washing or throwing away materials on site. Also, to avoid buying plastic bottles, refill your own bottle over and over again. In countries with lower water quality, you can often ask restaurants if they have filtered water that you can use. Another option would be to take a small filter unit with you.
If you are longer in one place and have the possibility to cook on your own, you can also try to buy package-free either in a bulk store or at a market. Here or here you can find a map with shops worldwide and in cities there are often bigger permanent or temporary markets. The Internet is also there to help ;).
When it comes to avoiding packaging in other countries, you should not be so strict with yourself and the people there. Due to language barriers and comprehension difficulties, it can sometimes be tricky to ask for no plastic bag or straw. But with your hands and feet, humour and a friendly smile it usually works out quite well! And don’t forget to say thank you 😉
And although the following points have little to do with waste reduction, here are a few general tips for traveling sustainably:
- train before bus before plane and if possible always #stayontheground
- explore your surroundings, head for nearby destinations – good things lie nearby!
- use local public transport and bicycles
- compensate flights e.g. via Atmosfair, CO2mpensio or the platform of the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences Vienna
- pack appropriately for the place you have travelled to, so that you do not have to buy anything quickly on the spot.
- write a packing list and research a few ecological restaurants in advance.
- plan your trip
- pack minimalistically
- eat/drink in a restaurant instead of ToGo
- pay attention to sustainability when looking for accommodation
- buy from local companies
- pay attention to the ZeroWaste rules while on the road
So have fun on your travels!
Yours Marolena 🙂
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