7 Essentials for Travelling with Less Plastic

Annemieke from Plastic-Free Tuesday is back as a guest blogger today! As most of us in Dahab travel at some point during the year, we appreciate her tips for travelling with less plastic. Read on.


Summer means travelling! While visiting and exploring new places is fun, it often comes with a lot of plastic. Plane trips are especially notorious for producing plastic waste. But you don’t have to give up travelling to live with less plastic. Here are 7 essential tools to help you keep your plastic footprint small while travelling.

#BringYourOwnBag

I always stuff at least one reusable shopping bag in my daypack. I love to buy fresh fruit and sample local delicacies that I find in bakeries, groceries, and markets. Bringing my own bag is a small effort, yet saves many plastic bags. It also signals to local people that I care about their surroundings and that I try to not add to their waste piles.

#BYOB helps you REFUSE plastic bags!

#BYOB helps you REFUSE plastic bags!

Stainless steel water bottle

When I first saw the Klean Kanteen Reflect bottle, it was love at first sight. I had other reusable bottles before, but they would always deteriorate in one way or another. The Reflect bottle is not just beautiful, it is also very sturdy, which makes it perfect for travelling. We’ve been together for about three years and it doesn’t leak or anything. If I travel by plane, I make sure to empty it before security and then fill it up again before boarding.

A refillable water bottle is a must!

             A refillable water bottle is a must!

Food container

Because it’s generally hard to find healthy, plastic-free food at train stations and airports, I usually bring my own meals. I have never had any problems taking my food through security checks at airports, but I am always prepared to show the security guys my food and I always make sure it has no noticeable liquids in it. Good, home-made food can really be a lifesaver on long-haul flights where only plastic-packaged, not so tasty food is served.

Cutlery

Previously I always brought a spork when travelling. A spoon is a hybrid of a spoon, fork, and knife. But after three broken spoons I gave up on it. I didn’t like the plastic anyway. Some brands sell titanium spoons. These are a bit expensive, so I now simply carry a regular spoon, knife, and fork from home. We have second-hand cutlery, so no big deal if I would somehow lose it.

Snack or sandwich bag

A while ago I purchased a lovely snack-bag at Etsy. I use it for bringing along hard-boiled eggs, nuts, cherry tomatoes and other to-go veggies, and sandwiches. When buying a sandwich bag, make sure to avoid material such as nylon and Velcro, because that is plastic too! Of course you can also make your own, just type something like “how to make your own reusable sandwich bag” in Google to find instructions.

Easy to carry in a purse or backpack!

          Easy to carry in a purse or backpack!

Produce bags

Because some food items don’t easily fit in my snackbag, I also carry around a couple of produce bags. Of course you can also use a food container, but these bags weight much less and easily fit in a daypack. Also, sometimes shops (pretend to) don’t know how to tare the scale. In such cases, it’s better to have a lightweight bag than a stainless steel container. I use the produce bags for all kinds of things, for example when buying snacks such as peanuts and strawberries.

Lightweight bags are great for buying your snacks in!

        Lightweight bags are great for buying your                                         snacks in!

Reusable shoe bags

One of my new year resolutions for 2015 was getting reusable travel bags for shoes. I often found myself using plastic bags, but in the beginning of this year I bought a reusable bag. Soon I realized that I could also simply put my shoes in a reusable cotton shopping bag. Before I pack my shoes, I make sure that they are more or less dry. I haven’t been in a situation in which my shoes were wet, but I could imagine that I would then simply wear the wet pair and pack the dry pair, assuming that not all of my shoes are wet.

Hope these tips help to keep your plastic footprint small while travelling. I would love to hear your plastic-free solutions during vacation time. Please leave a comment below and join the conversation. Happy Plastic-Free Tuesday!

Taking a Day Trip…without the Plastic!

day trip

Last week, my husband and I took a day trip to Nuweiba. I carefully packed a bag with my swimsuit, snorkel, water shoes – everything we’d need to enjoy a dip in the sea. My backpack carried our paperback books, my cameras, and my current crochet project. Food would be taken care of in Nuweiba. And pictured above are the items we packed so that we could avoid buying or being given plastic bottles of water – a 10 L reusable bottle with a few liters of well water, a reusable stainless steel water bottle, and two stainless steel cups. I keep my water bottle with me at all times so that one is easy to remember. But I knew that wouldn’t be enough water for the day so I grabbed a large container of well water so that I could refill my bottle whenever we needed. I brought the cups in case we felt like drinking from those instead (We didn’t.).

The 10 L containers cost LE 15 each from the local household goods shops in Asalah. You should also be able to find the stainless steel cups at these same shops. Unfortunately, I’ve not seen stainless steel water bottles here in Egypt (I bought mine in America.), but there are plastic reusable water bottles available locally. (For example, the ones made by Tank and available for purchase online.)

If you don’t drink well water, then hopefully you are using the 19 L refillable bottles of water. If so, you can easily fill a smaller container to carry with you on your day trips. If nothing else, you can purchase 6 L bottles of water, which will at least cut down on the amount of plastic consumed. (If you missed my previous posts about drinking water in Dahab, you can read the first one here.)

I have my own car so it is easy to throw these things in the backseat, but bringing these items along with you on an organized day trip shouldn’t be difficult either. There’s usually plenty of room in the Jeeps, Landcruisers, or minivans that are driven on these adventures in Sinai. If you’ve organized a trip with a local tour company and you want to skip the plastic water bottles, let your tour guide know that you will be bringing your own.

Now, all I need to remember next time is to put my swimming gear in the car, which I left behind in the house after taking this photo! Didn’t stop me from swimming though. 😉

Refuse ~ Reduce ~ Reuse ~ Recycle