Reducing plastic and waste always becomes a huge pain when it’s time to leave home for more than a day! Suddenly the things which are becoming easier at home, become a whole heap harder when you travel. If you’re going abroad there may not be the same access to provision and you have weight restrictions. If you’re staying in the UK then zero waste can be slightly more cumbersome to carry on a train or may increase the extra shit you have to pack into a boot space.
I know that many experienced folks that have reduced their lifestyle choices will probably have it down to a fine art, but this blog isn’t about showing you perfection, it’s about helping you find ways along with my own struggles to reduce and do our bit.
If I’m honest I need to put my vacation issues into two categories: one is ‘my hair’ and the other is ‘my kids’. This simplifies the biggest problems for me.
My hair: is a huge issue. I have long, VERY thick hair and I love it. However, it splits and dries when outside in the sun and in and out of a pool or the sea. I like to use a really heavy conditioner as after *ahem* years of practice, thin ones just don’t really work. I have now found a fabulous one. BUT it’s in a glass jar. I can’t carry that for breakage issues. I could decant, but that’ll mean buying a plastic tube to put it in. I ‘hate’ conditioning and shampoo bars I’m really sorry they just don’t work on my hair! This year I’m trying a small glass vial with oil in to apply afterwards and then sun dry…let’s see eh?
My kids: Suncream, clothes, their toiletries, my eldest is asthmatic and has horrid excema so has creams in plastic containers. It’s all very well following zero wasters on Instagram with no kids who travel so lightly plastic free, but I just can’t do that. Each teen has their own thoughts on their skin and what they need, so I can’t even just take one bottle of shampoo as a job lot for all. Five family members = five shampoo bottles *rolly eyes*! It’s not as easy as telling them what to do or anything now. They are not even young teens, one is nearly 20, so it’s their choice.
So basically I pack for myself as simply as I can and then they pack theirs and I just hope that one day, all my efforts will have soaked in and they’ll begin to look for alternatives too.
This is what my own personal toiletry pack looks like:
The biggest difference and the simplest change has been soap. Soap smells divine and everywhere I go now if I see a handmade soap place I often buy a bar. I love the essential oils more than anything. In fact, this weekend the youngest teen and I headed to Om and Bass for a wet weekend of yoga and wellness. We went to a talk on one of the days regarding Young Living essential oils. I already own many oils and use them externally in my life and didn’t realise that YL was now in the UK, so I’m very smitten with looking further into their oils, especially those that have multiple purposes and can be substituted for all sorts in our lives. Shampoo and conditioner I’m going to struggle with for longer, although I did find a conditioner this year in Holland and Barrett in an aluminium pump action container that I can then refill.
Sunscreen is also a bit of a no go. I want to protect our skins, and even the ones with less chemicals come in plastic bottles. I’m not prepared to sacrifice safety for plastic here, so get onto it manufacturers!!
We also take ‘mosibands’ if we’re going abroad somewhere ‘bite-y’ and citronella incense and coils. The other thing I love is Avon’s ‘Oh so Soft’. It is used in the army for defense against mozzis, and I have used it for years, however, Avon…still plastic! However, I think, if I investigated it further, there are probably essential oils that we can use to detract the biters *note to self to look further into this*.
We always pack cloth bags for local produce shopping in markets when we arrive and take our water bottles empty in our hand luggage. The UK airports are making this so much easier now with refill points in either restaurants through security or even designated refill stations in one or two airports.
I am sure there will be those of you reading this who will be far better at this than I am and perhaps you can add suggestions, just as there are those who don’t fly for planetary reasons etc, but we do, once a year, we need to find some sunshine and adventure. However, for those of you who are new, starting out, looking for alternatives, i hope this entry has helped you look at travel with less trepidation regarding your love for the planet too.