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    13 Changes I've Made To Travel More Eco-Friendly

    Travel isn't always environmentally friendly. If you love to travel, but need some ideas on how to make it more sustainable for you then keep scrolling.

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    As a frequent traveler, I'm always looking for ways to travel more sustainably. Sometimes that means swapping a single-use product for a reusable one, packing something that allows me to cut down on my plastic waste, or introducing a new habit into my way of travel. While I'm not perfect, and I still have a long way to go, here are some products and habits that help me travel more eco-friendly.

    1. I use toothpaste tablets instead of regular toothpaste in plastic tubes.

    Lush / Via, Superbee / Via

    I love using toothpaste tabs because not only is it more environmentally friendly, it also frees up room in my liquids bag—which is necessary when traveling carry-on only.

    I've tried a few different brands, and the Dirty Toothy Tabs from Lush are my favorite, however they are packaged in a plastic bottle which pretty much defeats the purpose of opting for toothpaste tabs instead of regular toothpaste. While Lush does encourage bringing back empty containers for them to recycle, it's still not the best option if you're looking for a plastic free experience.

    These Superbee Dentos are highly rated on Amazon where you can get 100 tabs for $15.98. They're packaged in a metal tin and identify as natural and zero waste.

    Alternatively, if you have a zero-waste refill shop near you, many of them offer toothpaste tabs so you can purchase in store to avoid unnecessary shipping and packaging waste. This is my local shop.

    2. Similarly, I opt for mouthwash tabs that are much lighter to ship than liquid mouthwash.

    Georganics mouthwash tablets in glass bottle
    Rebecca Khera

    Mouthwash is mostly water, so mouthwash tablets are great as they cut down carbon emissions due to not having to ship gallons on gallons of water. And of course, like the toothpaste tabs, they save plenty of space in your liquids bag.

    I've been using these mouthwash tablets from Georganics for a year now and I like them, you can buy a bottle of 180 tablets on Amazon for $12.90. The peppermint is really mild so the flavor of the sodium bicarbonate is very apparent, but it does the job! 

    Because it is shipped in a glass bottle, it unfortunately does include some plastic bubble wrap to protect it, but it's much less plastic than a bottle of liquid mouthwash from the store. 

    Like the toothpaste tabs, some refill shops will sell mouthwash tablets, so it's always best to check your local shops first.

    3. I skip buying tiny bottles of shampoo in the travel section and fill up reusable bottles instead.

    Silicone bottles to refill with your own shampoo and liquids
    Valourgo / Via

    As a kid I used to love perusing the travel section at Target and picking out mini bottles of body wash, but unfortunately, it's just a waste of plastic. So now I stick to my reusable silicone bottles and pour my own shampoo and conditioner in them. I also use small jars for things like face wash or moisturizer. Not only is this reducing my single use plastic habit, it also tends to make my toiletry kit pack up more efficiently when the bottles are uniform.

    You can get a set of 4 TSA approved silicone containers for $10.99 on Amazon or check your local shops.

    4. I make sure to pack a reusable tote bag.

    World Market / Via

    When I travel I love to take a packable tote with me. In fact, I'd say it's probably the most used item that I travel with.

    It's perfect for trips to the grocery store, using as a beach bag, or carrying home gifts you can't fit into your luggage.

    The best part is that you no longer end up collecting plastic shopping bags whenever you make a purchase.

    I have a packable one that I grabbed from the Target dollar section, but my favorite totes are the animal shaped totes from World Market. You can buy a pack of 3 bags for $10.47.

    5. I choose to take the train or bus instead of a flying.

    Google Flights showing CO2 emissions per flight
    Google Flights / Via

    Flying is pretty bad for carbon emissions, so I always choose to travel by train or bus when I can. 

    For times when I can't avoid plane travel, I check the new feature on Google Flights that shares the average emissions, this helps me make a more informed decision when choosing a flight. 

    6. I use bamboo cotton rounds instead of disposable ones.

    Hand holding two bamboo cotton rounds
    Rebecca Khera

    Gone are the days of stuffing a whole package of makeup wipes into my toiletry bag. Now, I pack 3 small cloth cotton rounds and never have to throw them away. They're easy to clean in the sink with minimal effort. I always bring a few with me so I don't have to clean them each day.

    I shudder just thinking about how many makeup wipes I've used over the years. While, I still use them from time to time in a pinch, I'm glad I've cut back as much as I have, and with the reusable cotton rounds I never have to worry about running out!

    You can shop small and buy 16 organic bamboo cotton facial rounds from Sage Refill Market for $15 or buy 30 on Amazon for $9.99.

    7. I always travel with a utensil kit.

    Bamboo spoon, fork, knife, chopsticks, metal straws and straw cleaners in a cloth carrying case.
    Zefiro / Via

    As a budget traveler, I often find myself cooking my own meals or eating takeaway on the train. It's always handy to have a spoon, fork, and knife with me wherever I go. And it's a simple way to cut down on plastic. 

    If you prefer using metal cutlery, then it might be easy for you to just grab a a fork and spoon from your kitchen drawer and bring it with you...just be warned, if you travel with a metal butter knife you might get stopped by TSA to check it out. I've always been allowed through security with one, but I do get stopped about 50% of the time.

    Bamboo utensils are a great option. You can get a bamboo utensil kit with carrying case from Sage Refill Market for $11 or grab one from Amazon for $9.99.

    8. I offset my carbon emissions when I can.

    FlixBus offering the option to "compensate trip" and make your trip carbon-neutral for a small added fee, in this case only $0.21.
    FlixBus / Via

    Recently, I've seen more and more travel booking sites include an option to offset carbon emissions. 

    For a few extra dollars, I can offset my carbon emissions when I travel certain airlines or bus routes.

    9. I pack silicone straws, because I just can't seem to stay hydrated without them.

    Two packable straws in a keychain carrying case
    Yoocaa via Amazon / Via

    I'm just the kind of person who can't give up straws, but thankfully I could easily give up single-use straws. I always pack either a flexible silicone straw or a packable metal one. 

    Thankfully, reusable straws are sold all over. You can grab a set of two silicone packable straws with carrying case from Amazon for $5.99.

    10. I never leave the house without my reusable water bottle.

    Rebecca Khera, Elvira via Amazon / Via

    Staying hydrated can often be difficult while traveling, but it doesn't have to be. I always carry a 32 oz Hydro Flask with me.

    I also have an off-brand Hydro Flask that works just as well for a fraction of the cost.

    If you're ready to stop buying plastic water bottles, you can grab a Hydro Flask for $49.95 (I love the ones with the straw top) or a less trendy insulated water bottle for $17.58.

    11. I don't buy random souvenirs, and when I do, they have a use!

    postcard from Pompeii
    Rebecca Khera

    I'm not really a souvenir person in the first place. But I've cut out buying knick knacks while traveling, because most of the time they just collect dust or get thrown away. Instead I'm very intentional about the things I buy, each item needs to have a place or a use in order for me to consider it. Like the rug I bought in Portugal or the wallet I bought in Vietnam. 

    Of course things that are edible are fair game. I'm always happy to buy some olive oil from Italy or unique candies from Japan. 

    I also tend to buy postcards that I can display at home, instead of things that just create clutter.

    12. I bring reusable food storage containers with me.

    Set of 8 reusable sandwich and snack bags with different foods in each
    Cookfun / Via

    Since I do cook a lot while traveling, I love to carry a small reusable container with me, I've been looking for a high quality container that is collapsible and leak proof, but still haven't found the perfect one, so in the mean time I stick to reusable food storage bags. 

    They're perfect for cooking and keeping leftovers, packing snacks, or even skipping to-go boxes at restaurants.

    You can get a set of 8 bags on Amazon for $7.29.

    13. I try to pack as light as I can.

    Backpack in airport
    Rebecca Khera

    Instead of carrying a bunch of bags, I pack just one backpack. This helps me cut down on my personal carbon footprint, since the heavier the luggage, the more fuel it takes to get to the destination.

    Packing light also makes it easier to take eco-friendly transport like local buses instead of a taxi. If you've ever tried taking the bus with three suitcases, you'll know it's so much easier with just one bag! The less luggage, the lower the temptation to grab an Uber.

    Bonus entry: Shampoo and conditioner bars

    Set of 3 heart shaped solid shampoo bars and 2 heart shaped solid conditioner bars
    Ethique via Amazon / Via

    Now, being completely honest. These aren't products I've swapped just yet. Travel can cause a lot of damage to my particular hair type, so I do have to be very specific about the products I use. I'm hoping in the future I'll be able to use shampoo and conditioner bars on my hair, because like the toothpaste tabs, they'll free up room in my liquids, and also allow me to cut down on my plastic waste.

    There are quite a few brands that only use paper packaging, and you can store your bars in a reusable tin, completely cutting out plastic bottles.

    Ethique makes shampoo and conditioner bars for variety of hair types and needs. You can order a sampler with 3 shampoos and 2 conditioners for $15.67 or grab a full size bar that works best for your specific hair type. They have shampoo bars for frizzy hair, dry hair, oily hair, blonde hair, curly hair, and even dandruff prone scalps.

    Now if someone could just convince Olaplex to make shampoo bars, I'd order those immediately. 

    While I know there are plenty more eco-friendly swaps I could make, these are some I've already implemented and love! I'm excited to learn more and will continue to adjust how I travel so I can be even more environmentally conscious.

    What are some things you've done to travel more eco-friendly?