Thursday, 13 April 2017

Tips for Plastic-free Travel

If there's one thing I've learnt during my journey away from throw-away plastic consumption, it's that at least a little bit of effort is required, and in fact, sometimes a bit more than that. But you do need to care, you need to prepare, and sometimes, for your sanity, you need to cut yourself some slack!

Some things are so easy to give up, like plastic shopping bags, easiest thing really it's surprisingly simple, you just have to remember. However, other things require a bit more thought and planning.

On a recent trip home to New Zealand I learnt a thing or two on how to avoid single-use plastic when travelling on long-haul flights. Here's what I prepared on my Air NZ flight with two rugrats in tow:
  • Trusty insulated travel mug
  • Drink bottles for the kids
  • Antibacterial wipes
  • Reusable cutlery (of the non-lethal kind)

As you go through security you will need to open all the drink bottles/mugs to show that they are empty (or if it's a small child's bottle, that the contents are indeed just water/consumable liquids). 
For this reason it pays to have all bottles easily accessible in or on your hand luggage to save a lot of rummaging.

The drink bottles were by far the best thing to take as it meant no spills, and the kids had plenty of water to keep them hydrated during the flight. My mug was also well used, but there were a few times when it wasn't accessible (sleeping kiddies are good like that). I was still able to ask for a reusable cup though. If you take notice, they have two options for cups on Air NZ flights, and the reusable cups are a bit bigger so that's an extra bonus. It pays to ask, sometimes you'll be surprised that there are alternatives available.

If you forget your cutlery or just can't be bothered, don't fret, you can use one set of plastic cutlery, then use the antibacterial wipes for cleaning or wash them in the bathrooms to reuse for your next meal. The cutlery is pretty good quality, so you can take it home to reuse again, or use this ingenious idea to stop cat's from crapping in your vege patch!

I'll be honest, travelling with kids on my own was exhausting and towards the end it all became a bit 'too hard basket'. I did succumb to accepting a takeaway cup for my cup of tea on the last leg back to Japan on a domestic flight. Hey no one's perfect. Missing out on my fix because my travel mug was in the overhead locker was NOT an option by this stage!

One final tip, to avoid a drenching, remember that the air pressure on planes creates a bit of a vacuum when opening drink bottles with straws! Ehem....I managed to do this more than once.

My top tip for avoiding messy surprises in your luggage when you reach your destination: 
  • Ditch liquid hygiene products and go solid.
You can get shampoo, conditioner, hair styling products, sunscreens, and moisturizers in bar form that require no plastic bottles. Currently I'm in love with Ethique, but my all-time favourite shop is Lush, who have a heap of scrumptious solid products to indulge in. The extra bonus with solid product is that you don't have to worry about the restrictions for carrying liquids on flights either. Win win.

Bon voyage :)

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