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Everyone is talking about sustainability! The important thing is to live sustainable and not just to talk about it. It’s easier than you think and we can all start small with babysteps. Maybe one cannot change the world and our future but together we sure can!

Since many years we try to avoid single-use plastic. Over these years we’ve found a lot of zero-waste essentials and ways to avoid plastic! We will share our tips divided into the most important categories eating and drinking, shopping and hygiene.

Sustainable Eating and Drinking

Our most important essentials while traveling are as follows:

Cuttlery

You will probably not need cuttlery when you go to restaurants but most of the backpackers we have met, us included, prefer street food and local markets. We always at least bring a knife to cut fruits or vegetables. A nice set of cutlery is very handy and sustainable as we never have to use plastic forks or knives.

Bottle

We’ve searched for a good bottle a long time. All our life we traveled with our reusable ones but haven’t found any as good as the one we use now. The klean canteen bottle totally convinced us because it holds the temperature for hours – and if we say hours, we mean it! Ever been in tropical heat and only had water out of a plastic bottle which has the temperature of a good warm tea? Invest in a reusable, refillable waterbottle, it’s totally worth it! If you’re a coffee lover, they have a solution for you too 😉

sustainable reusable bottle klean kanteen pura kiki

Straws

If you like to drink Smoothies, Iced Lattes or Cocktails and don’t want to give up the straw, take your own one! Think about to refuse a single-use plastic straw when you order the drink so no straw is used and will just be thrown away. We take our stainless steel straws which are light-weight, use hardly any space and can be used for several years.

sustainable straws

Sustainable Shopping

This part is the easiest! Get yourself some cloth bags, take them with you all the time and enjoy local markets and shops.

Bags

This is something we do already as long as we remember. It’s so easy to just always have one or a few fabric bags with you and to say no to plastic bags. When we buy fruits or vegetables we now also have our special bags but many fruits are protected through their skin and don’t need an extra bag. We’re very happy to notice that more and more countries ban plastic bas and offer fabric or paper ones instead!

Food

Try to avoid to buy pre-packed meat, cheese or fruits and vegetables. In every supermarket you can find everything unpacked too and you can bring your own boxes and bags. The best experience though is to visit the local markets and buy directly from the farmers.

sustainable fruit bag

Clothes

We did not always take care of this but we’re working hard on doing so! It became a habit to look at the label of the clothes we want to buy. We always check the materials and avoid every kind of plastic. For traveling and being outdoor most of the time, light travel clothes made of organic cotton is the most comfortable anyway! Take a look in your area to find a local shop and avoid long shipping routes.

Zero-Waste Hygiene

The market of zero-waste products is definitely growing. Most of the products are actually products you may still know from your childhood or your parents or grandparents used them. We are really happy to see that more and more shops and people realize that simple, reusable, washable and sustainable products are attractive to use. We love to travel with our minimalistic and waste-free essentials.

zero-waste hygiene

Toothbrush and Toothpaste

Back to the roots and nature – a bamboo toothbrush is already available in many shops. Bamboo is a fast renewable resource and we like to use it not only because it’s sustainable but it also feels so natural!

Instead of toothpaste which is usually packed in plastic and unfortunately often contains microplaslic, you can use toothbrush tablets. We recommend to buy them in a jar as they cannot get harmed in your backpack when in glass.

Shampoo and Showergel

Searching for plastic free versions of soap and shampoo got us back to the good old times. As simple as it is we use soap! Every supermarket is full of hundreds of different shampooed and shower gels in big plastic containers. We don’t want to carry them them anymore and did the switch. If you don’t want to give up on the liquid products, get refillable containers to minimize your waste.

Deodorant

A year ago when we visited our favorite zero-waste shop we did not only find deodorant-cream to buy but also a recipe to make it ourselves. We bought a full jar and got a little extra metal box which we fill up to travel with. Deodorant-creme works perfectly for us, it smells to coconut, orange or other natural smells and is plastic free. It’s time to give it a try!

sustainable deodorant

Razor

A razor made of bamboo is our latest discovery. It works perfectly for men and women and is free from plastic – nothing more to add.

Face wipes and napkins

Face wipes, napkins or tissues is something we need everyday. A long time we used to buy cotton pads, paper tissues or kitchen roll. When we had a serious talk about moving direction plastic free and to live more sustainable we changed all these products into a washable version. This also makes traveling so much easier as we have everything we need and never have to worry about where to buy new supplies. Also we feel so much more comfortable knowing we don’t leave any waste behind.

Q-tips

Instead of carrying a whole bunch of q-tips with you and just throw them away after using them once, get a reusable ear-cleaner. It’s really small, fits in every toiletry bag and works fine!

reusable ear cleaner

Womens hygiene

Some years ago I bought a menstrual cup when I saw it in a shop for the first time. I can honestly say that it was the best purchase ever. Years of spending money on tampons or sanitary napkins and producing tons of weight, I felt bad that I didn’t switch sooner. Also we all know the struggle, either you cannot find the products you’re used to or they are unaffordable. Make your life and traveling easier by getting a menstruation cup and fabric sanitary napkins.

Cloth Diapers

When Liam was born and we first started to use disposable diapers, we were shocked about the amount of diapers we were using and how fast our garbage mountain grew! We then started to informed ourselves about clothdiapers and completely switched. Especially after reading that there are millions of disposable diapers used every day and that they cannot be composted, we had no doubt anymore about using them! Also they are cheaper, we know what touches our child and don’t let him sit in chemicals and they are so cute that diaper changes actually become fun 😉

sustainable clothdiaper thirstier cheeky wipes

Traveling with clothdiapers is also really easy! we promise we will write a detailed article about that. So far we just want to encourage you to give it a try. For the light-weight travel version all you need are some muslin cloths, covers and wipes. To wash them and also your clothes we can recommend the scrubba bag.

Leave this world a little better than you found it

Robert Baden Powell

Sustainable Traveling with Children

25 Replies to “Sustainable Traveling (with Children)

  1. Those are really amazing and sustainable stuff for a hassle free travel! Very valuable list!

  2. I haven’t experienced travelling with toddlers but these are great and helpful tips. I love the zero waste hygiene idea

  3. We are consciously trying to move away from plastic, but never reached this level. We didn’t know about bamboo brushes and razors, so this is really a great informative piece. thanks for sharing.

  4. It makes me so happy to see posts like this! Personally, I always carry reusable cutlery with me (fork, spoon, knife, and chopsticks), two reusable straws, and a bottle.

  5. Sustainable travels should way more often seen and done! Great piece of advise for parents, it is not easy to think about kids products too

    1. Thanks a lot! So true but our child got us into this way of traveling. It’s so important to let our children grow up in a better world

  6. I think not with kids but when you are travelling, these basic stuff should be on the checklist. Isuffer from travel and motion sickness, so yes this list is super helpful!

  7. I am starting to use less plastic now too, I already purchased a stainless straw and avoid using plastic cups. In my province here in the Philippines, the government implemented a plastic ban and shops who get caught using plastic will be fined. Restaurants here use paper cups and paper straw. Instead of plastic bag, the shops here are using paper bags instead. I hope more cities in my country do this.

    1. We read that about the Philippines, such a great step! We also hope that other countries will follow this great example! We’re changing bit by bit 🙂 The Philippines are high on our travel list by the way 😉

  8. Great tips you gave here! I do not forsee myself traveling with children anytime soon, but worth sharing with some of my parent friends! 🙂

    1. Thank you! Most things every traveler can do 😉 We will be happy if you share this with your friends, let’s all make a change

  9. I didn’t think about needing the cutlery out there. But it does make sense eating at the out of the way places and just being prepared. Always good to be prepared.

    1. This sounds amazing! Tell us more about that resort, we love to visit places like that!

    1. Thanks a lot for reading! We think so too, some things seem maybe more expensive but you will have them for a long time.

  10. Haha! I laughed with the sustainable eating! Haha! Very true though. And I applaud you on the zero waste. Hopefully more families practice this.

  11. This is a great resource, really useful. I’ll be coming back to check it out in the near future. Thank you for sharing such valuable information.

  12. Nice reading about your tips on sustainable traveling with children, which will go a long way in preserving our nature as also would be educational for kids.

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