5 (More) Ways to Achieve Sustainable Travel (That’s Healthy, Too!)

by Morgan Pettersson

Let sustainable travel move you! Image by Morgan Pettersson.

There are so many guides online about how to live a more sustainable life. There are even tips about how to lower your carbon footprint when you travel.

My previous list featured items like hiking boots made from recycled materials and pocket-sized solar panels. Whether or not you’ve found those products to be useful or Earth-saving, there’s more to be said about sustainable travel and so much more you can do!

And don’t worry: Going green does not have to compromise your comfort or style. You can still have both!

Below are some ideas for incorporating greener items into your travel backpack as well as your everyday life.

Up-Cycle Your Travel Wardrobe

Traveling often means purchasing new items that you don’t already have for your trip.

But did you know that over 1.2 million tons of clothing went to landfills in 2005 in the UK?

Or that every year in the U.S the average person throws out 70 pounds (32 kilograms) of clothing?

With so much textile waste produced every year, you can do your part (and make your travel wardrobe a little bit greener) by up-cycling.

Up-cycling is basically re-reusing or re-purposing an item that you or someone else no longer wants but that is still usable.

It not only saves you money but lowers your carbon footprint because you’re not contributing as much to landfills.

You can up-cycle by going thrift shopping, doing a clothes swap with friends, or purchasing second-hand items on websites like Craigslist.

With so much waste in the world, this is the ultimate way of recycling and getting new clothes for less.

Shop at thrift stores for up-cycled clothing.

Thrift stores often have large, colorful selections of up-cycled clothing. Image by Flickr user Brad.K.

Consider Eco-Friendly Periods

On average, one woman will use over 11,000 tampons or pads in her lifetime, all of which will end up in landfills or the sea.

If you want to avoid creating this waste yourself, consider using a menstrual cup instead of tampons or pads.

The Mooncup, for example, does not contain any toxins, bleaches, BPA, or dyes, making it non-toxic to your body.

If a menstrual cup is not for you, or you are traveling to a place where you will not have access to clean water to sanitize it, then consider switching to these tampons. TOMorganic tampons are made from 100% organic cotton, and no dyes or chemicals are used in their manufacture.

Did you know that conventional cotton crops are the most chemically sprayed crops in the world?

By using organic cotton, you can have peace of mind knowing that no nasty chemicals will be taken into your body.

Turn Plastic Bottles into Clothes

Anyone who has read my previous posts knows that I am not a fan of plastic bottles. So you can understand my excitement when I discovered that some clothing brands are making textiles out of recycled plastic bottles!

The clothing brand Teeki has a range of eco-material clothing. Each pair of their yoga pants, for example, is made from 25 recycled plastic bottles. Wow! Not only are you wearing something that is comfortable, stylish, and travel-friendly, but you are helping the environment.

Stretch Out on Eco-Travel Yoga Mats

Yoga is such a wonderful way to chill out and stretch out, and it’s perfect for the traveling girl.

Unfortunately, most yoga mats are large and bulky and not ideal for travel.

I recently found this yoga mat online, and not only is it the perfect size and aimed at travelers, it’s eco-friendly!

Manduka Yoga Mats are made from biodegradable rubber. This means that once you have worn through the mat, it will break down and not sit in a landfill for years and years to come.

Carry a smaller yoga mat.

Opt for a smaller, biodegradable yoga mat, and get around easier. Image by Flickr user Fashionby He.

Apply Natural Beauty Products

A girl wants to look and feel good on the road, right? Just because you’re traveling, doesn’t mean you should give up on style.

Still, your skin is your largest organ, so it’s important to ensure that anything you put onto it is not teeming with chemicals and toxins.

Using all-natural products in your daily life can also help to keep your skin and hair looking in tip-top condition on the road.

My best advice is to always buy local, eco products. Despite how tempting it can be to acquire exotic beauty elixirs from overseas, the shipping required counteracts their eco-ness since flying them in from elsewhere contributes to tons of CO2 emissions.

Once you arrive at a new travel destination, keep your eyes open for local eco skin and beauty products to help support the local economy as well as the environment.

If you want more info on what to look for in natural skincare and what it means to care for your body in an eco way, check out this great resource by Tree Hugger.

It’s not always easy being green, but hopefully these sustainable travel products will make your next adventure just a little bit more environmentally friendly.

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