With the temperature steadily rising and the first day of summer right around the corner, the Albatross Designs team has begun daydreaming about getting outdoors and making some summer travel plans. If you’re also finding yourself in summer trip planning mode, you may be curious about how you can both achieve your summer adventure goals and also travel sustainably. Between the carbon emissions associated with driving a car or flying in an airplane and the amount of single-use plastics that are typically needed while on-the-go, summer travel plans, while fun, can often be not-so-friendly to the planet. Luckily, there are a few simple swaps and adjustments you can make to not only lower the carbon footprint related to your summer travel, but to also integrate some environmental excursions or education into your trip! So if you’re planning on hitting the road (or the skies) this summer, here are 5 ways to travel sustainably:
1. Gear Up with Reusables
- We’ve mentioned it before, but it’s worth saying again, that one of the keys to living an eco-friendly lifestyle – and maintaining this while outside of the home to ensure you travel sustainably – is to be prepared. The best way to do that is to gear up with the eco tools that will help you (figuratively) fight off plastic waste. That’s where a plastic free toolkit comes in handy. A plastic free toolkit is a bag of essential, reusable items that help you reduce the need for using single-use products while on-the-go. The goal is to create a versatile “kit” that you can easily transfer to a new bag or suitcase based on your needs. Now is the perfect time to assemble all of your plastic free essentials into a kit for your summer travels! Plastic free toolkits are unique to each person based on their individual needs, tastes, and preferences. A good way to brainstorm the items that would work best in your toolkit is to mentally plan ahead and anticipate any needs you might have while you’re out and about. To get started, read our blog post on how to assemble a plastic free toolkit. And make sure to snag a set of our reusable travel utensils, called Take Back Ware, to always be prepared during your trips this summer!
2. Fill Your Own Travel-Sized Bottles
- Instead of buying mini or travel-sized versions of your toiletries (e.g., toothpaste, hair gel, lotion, etc.) go the eco-friendly route and fill up small, reusable containers using the full-sized versions of products you already have. As we mentioned above, a major reason why travel tends to not be sustainable is the need for single-use items, which are not only wasteful, they also typically come in plastic bottles or containers. One of the ways you can travel sustainably is by limiting the number of plastic containers you use. There are plenty of reusable travel dispensers you can buy, but you can also travel really sustainably by reusing small jars or containers you already have! Did your lip balm or eye cream just run out? Clean out that container, fill it up with some other product like face moisturizer or body lotion – whatever you like! – and stick it in your toiletries bag so it will be ready for when you travel sustainably. You can also skip the need for those tiny bottles of hotel shampoo and shower gel by packing TSA-friendly bar soaps instead! Our Conditioning Shampoo Bar can be used for both hair care and body wash, but if you’d like to keep these two separate you can also pack our Clarifying Face and Body Soap for a full body (face-to-toe) clean.
3. Book a Hotel with Eco Accolades
- Speaking of hotel shampoo, a lot of accommodations that are booked when traveling only offer single-use, disposable items, like wax-lined coffee cups and hand soaps packaged in plastic. Not to mention all of the unsustainable practices the establishments may be undertaking in their daily operations, such as the use of toxic laundry detergents and cleaning products. But, have no fear, because the demand for green hotels is on the rise, and there are now more options for you to travel sustainably! Some hotels are reducing the quantity of these single-use items, and there are even “a few independent newcomers [that] are demonstrating what net-zero carbon emissions and reducing waste looks like” for the hotel industry (source: The New York Times). Make sure to do a search for green accommodations or eco hotels when planning your summer vacation!
4. Add Environmental Education to Your Itinerary
- If you are still building out the agenda for your summer trip, consider adding some eco tourism stops. You can travel sustainably by frequenting places like parks, nature reserves, and museums, and learning about the local environment that you are visiting. There are many city parks, state parks, and national parks to choose from, and typically they will have at least some educational component to let you know a little bit about that habitat and plants and wildlife that are native there. Additionally, places like the California Science Center and the Oregon Museum of Science & Industry often have hands-on educational displays, which can include things like interactive games that teach people how to divert materials from landfill to recycling or compost. You could also check out an ethical aquarium, like the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Though, there is nuance here. We don’t believe in keeping healthy animals in captivity, however, there are zoos and aquariums like the one in Monterey Bay that do a tremendous amount in terms of conservation, education, and most importantly, rehabilitating injured animals for release back into the wild. And expanding the scope of your environmental knowledge by visiting a place like this is one way that you can travel sustainably!
5. Maintain a Clean (and Sustainable) Shave While Away
- Going back to the eco-friendly items to pack, safety razors are a great tool that will allow you to travel sustainably and still maintain a clean, smooth shave. If you’re driving or flying and checking a bag, the steps for traveling with a safety razor are super simple: 1) remove the blade from the razor and tuck it back into the envelope it came in, and 2) place the razor and blade into the hemp storage pouch, which is conveniently included with every Albatross purchase. Voilà! Your safety razor is ready to be packed into your toiletries bag for your summer travels. If your bag will be going through airport security (i.e., if your bag is a carry-on), we recommend traveling with just the razor handle (no blade). You can store your blades in the checked baggage during travel. We also recommend putting the handle directly into a bin when going through security, so it’s easier for TSA to check that there's no blade in it. We've found that the travel process with a safety razor in carry-on luggage goes the quickest if the razor handle is out of the bag already.