Plastic-Free Travel Advice | Wanderers Collection
Updated: Oct 8, 2019
Hi all, my name is Kate and I'm a traveller, yoga lover and blogger! I recently left my home city in New Zealand to travel around South East Asia and I am currently travelling and doing my Yoga Training in beautiful India.
Sustainable tourism is something I am so passionate about so if you wish to learn more please check out my advice below.
One of the main things that really got to me on my travels across Southeast Asia is the amount of single-use plastic that was being used daily; used and tossed away by both locals and tourists! I really struggled with the immense amount of one-time waste that was scattered across the beach towns.
Together, we need to be the change and reduce the amount of #plastic we are consuming both when we are at home and when we are travelling. This post is more about the latter and what you can do as an individual to travel plastic-free! Just knowing that you are doing what you can to create less of a negative impact on the #environment is very rewarding.
It’s not about being perfect - sometimes it’s impossible to avoid plastic (which makes me super sad) so it’s about doing what you can. It is easy to make small changes and sacrifices that will be sustainable in the long term. Here are a few things that I do and the items that I use when I am travelling in order for me to travel more mindfully.
Reusable Cutlery + Straw
Most places you go will offer you endless plastic cutlery or chopsticks that are wrapped in plastic so having some reusable cutlery is key! I got my set from To-go Ware (straw not included) and it’s one of the best things I have ever bought. Also, even when you are just getting drinks at most cafes or restaurants, they will ALWAYS give you a plastic straw, so be sure to ask for no straw when you are ordering.
Mason Jar + Container
These are super handy for when you need to take snacks on the go, making overnight oats for breakfast or for when you are out exploring during the day. You need one of these when travelling. That way, If you are getting takeout or eating street food (which often comes in plastic bags, not containers), you will always have a container to give them to fill up instead of having to use plastic ones.
Bonus tip: Take your container out with you for dinner before a travel day & order something to take away in it for lunch. Then, you know that you are going to have a delicious lunch the next day and won’t have to buy food wrapped in plastic. If you drink lots of coffee, then I would definitely recommend taking a Keep Cup #keepcup too or ask for no plastic lid when you are buying take away!
Reusable Water Bottle
If you only take one thing with you that is going to help you reduce your single-use plastic usage whilst exploring the world, it should be a Reusable Drink Bottle. If you are staying in decent accommodation, there will be a water cooler that you can use to do this but if you are travelling on a cheaper budget, then that’s probably not the case.
It can be a bit disheartening having to buy #plastic bottles when you are trying not to, so what I found that works best is to buy a big 6 litre bottle of water from the 7/11, market or similar & taking it with you to your accommodation. That way you can fill up your little bottle from that & when it runs out, find somewhere to fill it up. It’s 10 x cheaper to fill up a bottle then it is to buy a brand new one anyway & by only buying one big bottle you won’t have to buy lots of little ones.
Every single item you buy (no matter how big) you will get given a freaking plastic bag!! It’s actually hard to avoid in Southeast Asia and it is something that tourists can start advocating against! Fruit, veggies or meals that are pre-packed in plastic will also be placed into another plastic bag for you to carry it - it is easy and convenient. By having your own bag, you can just simply swap plastic for Eco-friendly. Either that or just say “no plastic” and they will understand you. Regardless of the language barrier in some countries, almost everyone knows the word plastic!
In my opinion, that just shows how overused & and bad the issue is. If they don’t, just kindly wave your hands until they realise. I got mine from and they are actually made out of 100% recycled plastic which I love! There are so many amazing designs out there to suit everyone's travel style.
If you have time (which you will have plenty of when travelling) why not just sit down and enjoy your drink or meal instead of eating it on the go? You will reduce #plastic waste so easily by enjoying at least some of your meals at the table. You can get your meals on real plates and cutlery (don’t forget to ask for no straw still) instead of having to get plastic take away ones. If you are sitting in at the cafe, avoid having your coffee in a takeaway cup!
This is a hard one because as much as you can start out with all #zerowaste products or home, they are not as easy to find whilst you are on the road. Just do the best you can and keep an eye out for products when you are travelling so you can stock up as you go. Two things that I love and are super helpful in creating less plastic waste are a Diva Cup and a Bamboo Toothbrush.
Throughout Southeast Asia you can find large department stores, especially in the city to stick up on as many Eco-friendly products as needed. The movement of reducing plastic waste is really taking off in certain places such as #Cambodia where you can find much local organisation's advocating for reusable water bottles + straws + bags & more.
It’s pretty tough staying plastic-free when you are in certain countries but even just being the change and setting an example for other travellers is so important. Getting those smiles from people who really appreciate you not wanting to use single-use plastics is so precious. Often for them, it’s not a choice that they have the privilege of making; they can only afford to buy plastic bags to serve things in or can literally only buy single servings of things at a time.
So, if you are a part of the small percentage of people who are lucky enough to experience travel, then please do it consciously and use as little single-use plastics as possible. You’ll be doing a world of good!! Education is key so feel free to share this article or comment any thoughts below! Kate. X
You can connect with Kate and follow her incredible journey on her blog HERE.
Travel For Change would like to thank Kate for inspiring the travel community to be aware of their footprint and to make Eco-friendly choices every day! Kate is currently travelling India after working in outback Australia. Kate writes about living a healthy, compassionate and vegan lifestyle and her blog is full of helpful ideas for anyone who wants to travel ethically!
Watch Plant Based Kate's amazing VLOG via YouTube (over 6000 subscribers) HERE.