Tips for travels – how to remain plastic free abroad.

We are just coming out of the wonderful summer holiday season, the time of year when families, friends and couples set off in search of sunshine and beaches.

For many of us this means packing your bags, catching a plane and jetting off to somewhere a little more tropical. I am an advocate of holidaying in the UK, we have some fantastic countryside and beaches with plenty to see and do, but even I wasn’t going to turn down a friends offer of a place to stay in Portugal for a few nights. So as it was, I booked myself a cheap flight, carry-on only, and prepared for seven whole days of sunshine!

This was also the first time that I had travelled as a plastic conscious citizen, so I found myself wondering just how easy it would be to travel without plastic, particularly through the airport.

For the sake of keeping beaches like these clean though, it’s surely worth the effort.

Bar soaps and shampoos – Greener, cheaper, incapable of bursting and they last way longer too!

The first issue for many of us when choosing carry-on only luggage is what to do about those pesky liquids. 100ml or less people! Having always had hold luggage I have never had this issue before now so when I went to put the newly purchased sun-cream in my bag my first thought was “Oh, crap”. My mind flitted to images of tiny plastic bottles in the miniature travel sections of supermarkets and drug stores, such a waste of plastic and yet every year I see more and more options line the shelves!

I felt a bit sad at the prospect of this until I remembered, I have no need for them! I realised instead that yet another plus side to ditching liquid soaps and shampoos is the fact that I can carry them on a plane with no issues whatsoever. What is more, I don’t have to worry about them bursting all over my clothes. Winning! The only issue was the sun-cream – I haven’t been able to find a plastic free alternative and ditching the cream altogether is not really an option if you care at all for your health. I figured I will buy it over there instead.

Don’t ditch your water bottle at security – take it through empty or better yet take a reusable one with you.

This was something I actually only learnt whilst on my way back from Portugal and I was quite annoyed at myself that it hadn’t already crossed my mind. Still, it was brought to my attention by a friend and now I get to share it with you guys too.

I had always just presumed that when they said no water and liquids less than 100ml that this would apply to the bottle sizes too. There is never any attempt to make you think any different and so like everyone else I was reluctantly downing my water and discarding the bottle before heading through security. Let’s face it, you don’t really want to give them any reason to pull you aside. The departure lounge shops then held the monopoly on where I would purchase my next drink, something I also found incredibly annoying.

It was to my surprise on the way back then that my friend suggested I pour away the water I couldn’t manage to drink and just take my empty bottle through with me. I was told it had never been an issue for her before and that hopefully there will be water fountains at least somewhere on the other side.

Sure enough it was no problem at all, except that we failed to find a water fountain. That doesn’t mean there weren’t any, it just means that they were few and far between, probably to try and get you to spend more money. Really, as a friend of mine suggested, they should just have sinks on one side of security and a water fountain station on the other. Maybe one day…

Despite being unable to find a water fountain in time I am glad I took my bottle through. As many of you know, budget airlines are loath to give out any complimentary food or drinks, and this goes for bottled water too. One thing they tend to keep secret is they have tap water on board the plane that is free to all. There was no hesitation whatsoever to fill up my bottle and the water tasted absolutely fine, even better in that it was free!

So lesson learned, I will henceforth carry a water bottle through security and the departures lounge will no longer see my pennies for bottled water.

Glass straws are not a security threat so take them with you!

I found myself thinking about my glass straws, could these be seen as a weapon? If so they would surely be taken off me and then that is money down the drain. Do I risk it? I did some reading online and found mixed reviews on the matter, which didn’t help. In the end I looked over and over the list of restricted items and decided that if you are allowed to take a small pair of nail scissors in hand luggage, then surely you can’t begrudge a person a couple of glass straws.

It annoys me that it isn’t made clearer but then I suppose they are not yet a common item worthy of listing. I opted for trial and error and fortunately it paid off.

Unfortunately for me, the use of said straws whilst abroad was not always as easy as I had hoped, but that is a story for another time.


Plastic free, guilt free..yum!

Try Toothie Tabs! Like with bar soaps these aren’t classed as liquid so feel free to take as many as you like!

Personally I didn’t take these with me as I am yet to purchase any, but as an alternative to toothpaste they have the same benefits as bar soap in that they won’t leak, they are in recyclable packaging and my friend swears they are much better for teeth whitening too. The texture might not be to everyone’s taste but the environment with thank you for trying!

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