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7 eco-friendly packing hacks

Travelling is a fantastic experience, but it can seem like half your luggage is plastic. Never fear though, we're here with some simple packing hacks to reduce plastic and waste while travelling. Read on to discover 7 simple tricks!


1. Compact reusable carrier bags and dry sacks

While replacing single-use plastic bags has been on the agenda for some time, many countries are now banning plastic bags (and even straws, cups and utensils) altogether, enforcing hefty fines on those bringing them in, so it's definitely worth using alternatives.

There are two useful bags that will always help: the first are the compact foldaway bags that pack down to the size of a pack of cards; they're ideal for packing when not in use and can be brought out for souvenir shopping or separating dirty or wet clothes. The dry bag is the second useful item, especially when hiking. Available in various sizes and colours, you can split kit and snacks into bags so they're easier to find.

2. Beeswax wraps

Beeswax wraps are a great cling film replacement, ideal for keeping food like sandwiches fresh. They can also be used in small sheets, placed over the top of toiletry bottles with the cap placed over the top to make sure that they don't explode into your wash-bag mid-flight.

3. Shampoo and conditioner bars (and small reusable bottles)

Shampoo and conditioner bars are a great way to minimise plastic use while travelling, and while they're more expensive they also last a great deal longer than normal liquid versions. You can even get some 3-in-1 soap bars, incorporating body wash too. If cost is a factor, using small reusable bottles means you'll only take what you need while travelling and you can top-up after each trip. Plus, if you use the beeswax wraps you can avoid the toiletry explosions.

4. Water-to-Go bottles

Worrying about water quality abroad is common among travellers visiting a new destination, and so many people resort to buying bottle water to make sure they drink clean, safe water. However, even using a larger bottle to top-up still means using a lot of single-use plastic; an average group of 16 on a two-week trip uses up to 1,000 bottles! A Water-to-Go bottle uses a special filter that eliminates over 99.9% of all microbiological contaminants including viruses, bacteria, chemicals and heavy metals from any non-salt water source, so you can refill from any tap and even streams - as we've tested on many occasions!

5. Bamboo toothbrushes, coffee cups and utensils

Bamboo is a fantastic replacement for plastic; it can be treated and moulded into many shapes, and is now being used for reusable coffee cups, straws, utensils (including sporks so you can avoid using plastic cutlery on planes and out-and-about) and of course, toothbrushes. The average person uses 300 plastic toothbrushes in their lifetime - when you consider how many people there are using toothbrushes, you can see why finding a suitable replacement will really help cut down plastic waste.

6. Use reusable face cloths

Using reusable face cloths, such as the towelling ones that are easy to make and washable, will really help to cut down the number of plastics that enter our oceans. It may not be the first thing you think of but last year a staggering 5,453 wipes were found in one 116-square-metre of Thames foreshore!

7. Take your own quick-dry towels

Using your own towels when travelling saves hotels from having to wash the towels you use when you leave, saving water. If you use a quick dry towel as well then you don't need to worry about packing wet gear which is really handy when you're on a busy trip.

Discover other ways to travel more sustainably and find out the latest news, initiatives and information on our responsible tourism activies on our Responsible Business pages.

Sustainability At EXPLORE