Packing Tips for a Eco Friendly / Green and Zero Waist Vacation

Riding a bike on a trail in the mountains

Packing for your green vacation should involve giving some thought to the luggage you will use, how much you really need, and what will make it easier to be greener while you are away. It involves thinking about what not to take, as well as what to take, and a little foresight about items you could pack to ensure that the positive effects of your green vacation last for a very long time. To help you decide what to take with you, here are some packing tips for a green vacation.

Choose Sustainable Luggage

The first thing to think about when packing for a green vacation is what luggage you will use. Of course, how much and what type of luggage you will need will depend on the type of vacation you are taking. For example, if you are traveling by bus or train, a backpack might be easier to transport, but a wheeled suitcase might be better if you will not need to lift it on and off various vehicles along the route.

If you are hiking, a lightweight pack will be the order of the day, but panniers might be better for a long-distance cycle.

No matter what type of luggage you need, however, you should think about what it is made of, and the true cost to the environment of creating and using the item. It can also help to think about what will happen to the luggage at the end of its useful life – will it decompose (natural materials) or stick around to create a waste problem for years to come (synthetic/ plastic fabrics)? Try to choose a durable, long-lasting option and, if you cannot find a suitable option that is fully natural and organic, consider choosing a second-hand item in order to reduce your impact on our planet.

Less is More – Pack as Light as Possible

The weight of your luggage will have an impact on how much energy is required to move it from A to B. So even if you are not planning a hiking or cycling slow travel adventure, you should still always try to pack as light as possible. Even if you are avoiding air travel, the weight of your luggage can have a small but relevant bearing on the fuel/ energy required by the bus, train, or car in which you are traveling.

In any case, we should all of us be trying to reduce our consumption, and learn how to live with less. So packing light for your green vacation could also be a way to prove to yourself how little you really need to live a happy, green and ethical life.

Pack For the Weather and Conditions You Expect

When packing for your eco friendly vacation, it is important to consider not only the type of vacation you are planning and how you will be traveling, but also where exactly you are going. If you re going somewhere tropical, for example, you would obviously not pack the same as if you were heading for the chilly north.

Packing clothing and other items appropriate to the weather and conditions at your destination can help you reduce your energy use while you are away. By dressing in layers, that can be added or removed as and when required, you might be able to reduce the need to heat or air-condition your room or a vehicle. Reducing energy use should usually be one of your goals on a green vacation, especially where renewable energy is not yet in common use.

Pack For a Zero Waste Vacation

When packing, it can be helpful to think about how the items you pack could help you make sure that you move as close as possible to producing zero waste:

  • Things that you should consider packing for a green, waste free vacation include:
  • Plastic-free bathroom, health and beauty products.
  • Natural rather than synthetic clothing/ bedding etc..
  • Ethical, non-synthetic accessories (sunglasses, belts, jewelry etc..)
  • Non-plastic reusable food and drink containers.

Remember, less is more, so don’t be tempted to pack tons of lotions, potions and unguents. Stick to a simple, natural cleaning and beauty regime.

Keep Gadgets and Devices to a Minimum

One of the best things about eco travel is that it allows you to get up close and personal with the natural world. You can get out there and literally smell the flowers, soak up those sunsets and gaze out over a range of beautiful vistas. While there can, of course, be a place for technology on your green adventures, often it is a good idea to think twice before packing those electronic gadgets and keep your use of gadgets and devices to a minimum.

Pack A Travel Journal To Learn From Your Green Adventures

There are plenty of small items that you could consider packing to enhance your green vacation but perhaps one that really stands out is a simple travel journal. A travel journal using paper from sustainably managed forestry, or made from recycled paper, is a great thing to bring on your adventures.

A travel journal will allow you to take notes or document your green vacation. The act of writing it can encourage you to stop and truly appreciate where you are and what you are doing. It can make it easier for you to learn the lessons that travel can teach, and can also give you something to look back on and remember in the years to come.

Author of our ‘green’ articles is Elizabeth Waddington – a professional writer and a consultant on topics related to permaculture, sustainability, green living and eco travel.

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