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  • Writer's pictureGina Cho

Sustainable Travel Tips

In my personal life, I try to live a zero-waste lifestyle and as eco-friendly as possible. Here are some tips on how to do it abroad:

What to Pack

1) Water bottle: Avoid buying plastic water bottles and refill them whenever you get a chance. Download the Tap app to find local fountains and restaurants near you.

Over 1 million plastic bottles are purchased every minute and nearly 80% of these end up in our landfills and oceans. At this rate, the amount of single-use plastic ending up in our oceans will outweigh fish by 2050, unless we make a change.

2) Backpack: From buying souvenirs to groceries, say no to plastic bags and carry them with you in your backpack.

3) Utensils: For on the go, you can use something as small as Silvr, a lipstick sized travel fork.

4) Eco-friendly sunscreen: I love Supergoop for their primer sunscreen. Coola is another brand but Pacifica is a vegan and eco-friendly brand you can find at Target.


What to Do

1) Clean up beaches: Almost everywhere I go, I usually end up at a beach. I bring a bag or reuse a container to clean up litter around me. Tourists and locals both contribute to the problem, but we should all help keep areas clean.

2) Recycle: In areas like SE Asia and Central/South Americas you will probably be reliant on buying water bottles throughout the day. (I mean you can only carry so much). I try to hold on to empty water bottles to be recycled/reused if possible.

3) Save leftovers: You can carry tupperware to further minimize waste. Saving your leftovers also means saving money.

4) Reuse your travel size containers: I bought a few travel sized items from Target and have been using the same containers for shampoo & conditioners on every single trip. You can opt for packaging free Lush products but I prefer my method because it allows me to also refill containers at hostels when I travel, saving more money and space.

5) Walk instead of drive: My husband and I walked on average of 12 miles a day instead of driving or public transportation. It's a great way to stay in shape and explore the city! But if anything, use public transportation and share rides with fellow travelers!

Burning one gallon of gas creates 20 pounds of carbon dioxide, and the average car emits about six tons of carbon dioxide every year.


What Not to Do

1) Don't litter: Hold on to your trash and find the next available receptacle to recycle or throw away.

2) Don't use hotel toiletries: Every day millions of partially used products are being thrown away. When I do stay at a hotel, I use the shampoo & conditioner I brought. I use and keep the bar soap for the rest of my trip if I run out.

3) Don't accept plastic bags or straws: You can use your backpack to hold your purchases and if you need a straw, you can carry a glass straw with you!

Nearly 7.5 million plastic straws were found on U.S. shorelines during a five-year cleanup research project. Extrapolated globally, that is 437 million to 8.3 billion plastic straws on the world's coastlines.

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