5 Practical Ways to Travel Sustainably

Updated August 28, 2022.

I know, I know. You have a million people and companies and advocates basically yelling at you to save the planet, but very few of them are kindly explaining some practical ways to do that. So I decided to do that. Not everyone can make a huge donation to “offset their carbon footprint” or avoid flying altogether, but there are some things that everyone can do to have less negative impact on the environment—and yourself!

1. Trade your Pads and Tampons for the Cup

Okay, let’s put this one out there first thing. The average women goes through hundreds of pads and tampons per year, and thousands in her lifetime. And all those products (and replacement panties) cost money. But from a sustainability standpoint, that’s a lot of waste! I guess cotton pads and tampons are “better” than synthetic, but no matter how you slice it, that’s a lot of disgusting garbage.

But then there’s this little silicone miracle called the Menstrual Cup. There are a lot of different brands, and they come in fun colors, but the best part is that one cup lasts five years or more! It’s true! Bacteria cannot grow on silicone, you can keep it in for 12 hours (I’ve kept it in for 24 hours on a light day to get through a series of long flights), and I know you think it can’t hold your flow, but trust me, it can. But what’s more, it also completely stopped my debilitating cramps, I never have leaks anymore, and I went from 8-9 day periods to only 4.

Oh, and I’ve been using the same cup for five years, saving myself a ton of money and saving the planet from pounds and pounds of disgusting garbage. This is the brand I use that I definitely recommend to you!

Read on: Totally Scandalous Things Every Woman Needs for Travel

2. Use Solid Toiletries

One of the easiest ways to reduce your plastic waste is to use solid toiletries whenever you can! I use a solid soap, shampoo, conditioner, and lotion, all of which work just as well as their liquid counterparts–or better! Solid toiletries for travel aren’t new, but they have definitely been gaining traction and popularity in recent years, so I’ve included my favorites below!

Read on: Ultimate Guide to Solid Toiletries

3. Bring a Reusable Bottle

One of the easiest ways to reduce your plastic usage is to carry a reusable water bottle. We could all use extra hydration, especially on our travels. A plastic reusable bottle is okay because you’ll be using one in the place of potentially hundreds or thousands, but some claim stainless steel is better. I recommend staying away from glass, though, because they tend to shatter at the most inopportune times!

Sustainable destinations: Ways You May Not Know Hawaii Promotes Sustainability

4. Use Reef Safe Sunscreen

One of the most wide-spread and yet preventable problems in the oceans today is directly related to vacationers: sunscreen. I know, sunscreen is essential! I’m definitely not suggesting that you go without, but I do recommend going with a reef-safe sunscreen. The chemicals in regular sunscreen can (and do) bleach coral reefs. But reef-safe sunscreens can protect both you and the environment, and they cost about the same as any regular sunscreen. And it comes in a solid, so it doesn’t have to take up space in your liquids bag!

More here: The Traveler’s Ultimate Guide to Sunscreen (from a dermatologist)

5. Shop Local

Sounds like common sense, right? But don’t forget to read the fine print. Look for the “Made in” indicator. If you’re in Morocco and the turine you want says “Made in China” on the bottom, that ain’t local! Look for people actually making what they’re selling onsite, or look for local boutiques that tout their locally made wares!

When in French Polynesia, shop for leather-and-pearl jewelry!
Read next: 5 Tips for Shopping Local on Travel

Want more? Check out my Travel Tips Page!

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7 responses to “5 Practical Ways to Travel Sustainably”

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  6. This is my favorite post ever! Thank you!

    1. quickwhittravel Avatar

      Aw! Thank you so much!

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