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Eco-Friendly Travel Essentials: Our Top 5

Updated: Jul 3, 2023

Annabel Mulliner, part of the WILD Magazine team, runs through her top 5 must-haves for some eco-friendly travelling this summer.

When jetting off on our summer holidays, it can be easy to slip out of any eco-friendly habits we’ve formed at home. Being somewhere new and exciting is of course at the forefront of our minds, but it’s important to respect the environment of wherever we’re visiting. Popular tourist destinations are being put under increasing environmental pressure, as tourism is very demanding on local land and resources. This is only getting worse, with the number of tourist arrivals set to increase by 60% by 2020.

If you want to do your bit to save the planet, no matter whether you’re home or away, then read on to find out what eco-friendly essentials you should be packing in your suitcase this summer.

Reusable Water Bottle

Travelling can turn into an absolute minefield for plastic bottle consumption. It can be especially tempting in hot countries to turn to ice-cold supermarket water, or to head straight to Boots after airport security to re-hydrate. Making room for a reusable water bottle won’t just help save the planet, but could save you huge amounts of money!


Always pack a reusable bottle

If your destination country’s tap water is safe to drink, then an old reliable Chilly’s bottle will do the job, keeping your water cool all day (cheaper insulated bottles are available). However, bottles aren’t much use if you can’t refill them! Tap is a super handy app that allows you to find your nearest refill station when you’re in an unfamiliar city!

If you’re travelling someplace where the tap water isn’t safe to drink, then you’re going to need to purify it somehow. Check out this filter bottle developed by NASA which removes 99.9% of microbial contaminants from water. The LifeStraw® Go is another great option, claiming to reduce ‘bad taste’ and remove chemicals and bacteria.

Solid Toiletries

Not only are solid toiletries plastic-free, they’re also extremely compact and travel friendly. LUSH stock a wide variety of solid shampoos, conditioners and soaps for different hair and skin types. If you’re travelling hand luggage only and are struggling to fit all your liquids under the maximum amount, then packing solid toiletries can free up a lot of room.


Save on hand luggage restrictions and plastic

Packing them away while they’re still wet needn’t be a worry. LUSH also stock tins for £2.50 to £2.95 to stop your new products from melting everywhere. Plastic Freedom also stock a cotton soap travel bag, which can also be used to dry out your soap in between uses.

Plastic-free, Animal-friendly Sunscreen

Most high-street sunscreen brands come in big, chunky plastic bottles. What’s more, most of them contain nasty chemicals that aren’t too good for your skin. Titanium dioxide is super effective at blocking UVA and UVB rays, but most mainstream sunscreen brands contain titanium dioxide in nanoparticles, which can be harmful. Titanium dioxide nanoparticles are also thought to be polluting our oceans and damaging aquatic ecosystems.

Finding a more natural sunscreen will ensure not only that it’s not doing you any harm, but that it’s safe for aquatic life too. Sunscreens that contain zinc oxide and come in either cardboard or a tin are your best bet. Plastic Freedom sell a great range of eco-friendly, cruelty-free sunscreens. Most of these come as SPF30, but if you’re extra pale like me then Amazinc SPF50 Mineral Shield Suncream is a great option.

Reusable Makeup Pads

Step away from the disposable face wipes! Sure, they’re an easy, quick way to remove makeup when you’re travelling. But face wipes can take around 500 years to biodegrade, so using them is just as bad as throwing away plastic bottles. They can also make it into the oceans and have a negative impact on marine life. What’s more, most wet wipes don’t properly cleanse your skin. They merely remove the top layer of dirt, and leave your skin doused in alcohol and chemicals.

If you can’t bear to do away with wipes, then Beauty Kitchen have created their own compostable wipes, which are full of natural ingredients. But when you’re travelling, it’s not likely that composting is going to be high on your priorities list. Marley’s Monsters sell reusable cotton wipes and makeup pads, which come in a really cool range of designs. You simply use them as you would a normal cotton pad, but then rinse with soap and water, and machine wash as necessary (why not use your new soap travel bag to keep them all together in the wash?). Plastic Freedom are currently the only UK stockist of Marley’s Monsters.

Food Containers and Utensils

If you’re trying to save money when travelling, it’s likely you’ll still be doing some grocery shopping. So don’t forget to pack your trusty string/tote bags for fruit and veg, or Tupperware for other items. Tupperware could also be used for a cute beach-side picnic!


Reusable cutlery saves on plastic waste

Street food is often a cheap, tasty and convenient meal choice, but many vendors will supply you with plastic straws and cutlery. Thinking ahead and bringing your own can save a whole lot of plastic waste. This cute, cheap bamboo cutlery set comes with its own travel pouch. Globi’s stainless steel straws come with a cleaning brush and travel pouch, making them the perfect companion for your happy-hour cocktails.


Great example of a reusable straw kit

About the author: Annabel Mulliner is a student at the University of York. Alongside writing for WILD, she manages a student lifestyle blog,

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