How to Travel Without Harming Nature

Giving up plastic, sorting garbage and other zero-waste habits have been a part of many of our lives for a long time. But traveling is like starting all over again and it seems to be something as hard as hitting a multimillion casino jackpot. Here’s how to travel without leaving behind a trail of waste and litter.

Choosing Transportation

You can make your vacation more environmentally friendly at the planning stage. Planes are considered the most environmentally unfriendly form of transportation because of the high carbon dioxide emissions during takeoff and landing. Therefore, for travel over short distances, it’s better to choose a train or bus. 

Another advantage of trains: they usually arrive right in the city center, where from the airport you would have to take a cab or a bus.

The carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide a vehicle emits into the air.

Opt for public transportation that runs on electricity – streetcar, trolleybus, subway. But even a regular bus will be more environmentally friendly than a car because it carries many passengers at once and the carbon footprint per person is less.

If you decide to rent a car, choose electric cars or variants with a hybrid engine – when starting and braking, there are no carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere.

And don’t forget bicycles and electric scooters, so you can explore a new place with minimal harm to nature.

Packing Your Suitcase

The easiest way to reduce the amount of non-degradable waste is to do away with plastic-wrapped toiletries. It helps save not only space but also money. For example, 60 grams of solid shampoo will last you 40 uses while a 100 ml bottle of liquid shampoo will last you just 20 uses.


Travel-format toothpaste doesn’t take up much space, but eliminating it will reduce the amount of plastic. Replace the familiar tube with toothpaste tablets, which are sold by weight. The bonus of these counterparts is that they are not considered a liquid, so you won’t have to worry about restrictions if you’re traveling with carry-on luggage.

Shampoo and Conditioner

Solid hair and body products offer the same advantage. Not only do they take up less space but also retain more natural ingredients.


The compressed gasses contained in aerosols and the plastic packaging of all standard deodorants are extremely harmful to the environment. They are not allowed to be carried in hand luggage on airplanes. Solid deodorant is the perfect substitute for traveling without plastic. It’s a soap block made of natural ingredients that lasts more than a year of daily use.

Reusable Cotton Pads and Sticks

Bamboo cotton buds and reusable cotton pads are washable and reusable. They are made entirely from natural materials – cotton, bamboo and starch, so they don’t cause allergies, unlike their synthetic counterparts.

Shopping Bag

Bring a reusable chopper bag and fabric pouches with you. They won’t take up much space even in your carry-on luggage and will replace plastic and cellophane bags while shopping or going to the market.

Reusable Bottle

One of the easiest and probably best ways to reduce plastic while traveling is to purchase a reusable liquid bottle.

Normally, a person will drink two bottles of water a day. But each one will become plastic in the trash because they cannot be reused because they begin to release harmful toxins.

A reusable bottle is also a great way to save money. Such a container can be carried on the plane and filled at the airport through a drinking fountain. In many cities, they are set up in tourist sites, on the streets, and in shopping malls. Take such a bottle to a coffee shop and ask to pour a drink into it – then you can refuse even cardboard cups and plastic caps for them. 

Helpful Hints

Choose Hotels Marked “Eco”

Stay at hotels that use renewable energy sources, refuse to use disposable dishes, plastic packaging, and serve food in restaurants only from seasonal products. 

Refuse Toiletries at Hotels

Small jars of shampoo, shower gel, soap, and body lotion are best left untouched. They will be thrown away after you check out, even if you just opened them.

Say No to Plastic Utensils

Take-out food leaves an environmental footprint in the form of packaging. When choosing a place to snack, stop at options with reusable plates and utensils. Straws and plastic lids for glasses should be discarded if possible, and baked goods can be asked to be wrapped in a napkin.

Sort Your Garbage

In almost all progressive cities there are always bins with the ability to sort the garbage. They are usually found on the streets, in hotels and shopping malls. If, for example, you couldn’t buy fruit by weight, wash the fruit packaging at home, dry it out, and throw it in the right container.

Be Respectful of Nature

Respect the environment: when walking don’t go off the marked eco-trails, and when camping make bonfires only in the places intended for it. And bring equipment for waste collection: gloves, bags, and containers.

Bring Stories, Not Souvenirs

When we travel, we often wonder, “What to give to friends and family?” Often the choice falls on magnets, bells and figurines – they tend to stand and collect dust in the home of someone who has never been to the country. Eventually they end up in the trash and join the ranks of the city’s landfills.

If you can’t do without souvenirs, then refuse items that are made from shells, coral, animal skins and bones. If possible, take things that are really useful to the recipient: for example, instead of a statue you can buy a jar of local jam or sweets from the market. For unusual souvenirs, go to second hand and vintage stores – you can often find real treasures there: old books, postcards, small furnishings, and traditional clothes. Or support local businesses and local industries that care about the environment.

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