• Julia from Truely Life

A Guide to Plastic-Free Traveling

Updated: Aug 6


Grocery bags, food packaging, bottles, straws, containers, cups, cutlery, and plates - not a day goes by that we do not come across those single-use plastic items. Avoiding them in our daily life at home is already hard. When we travel, it seems to be even harder. After all, it is convenient. Everything we need, we can grab it there and then instead of carrying it around with us.


Now think about this for a moment. The time we are using those single-use plastic items rarely exceeds 30 minutes. Ok, maybe the bottle of sunscreen lasts a few days. The time that those items need to decompose, if they are not disposed properly, is decades or even centuries.


In this guide, we want to show you how you can easily travel plastic-free and maybe even spark some change along the way among your fellow travelers. takes is a few extra minutes of your time while you pack your bag and some small tweaks in your travel habits.


The time we are using single-use plastic items rarely exceeds 30 minutes. The time that those items need to decompose is decades or even centuries.

In this guide, we want to show you how you can easily travel plastic-free and maybe even spark some change along the way among your fellow travelers. Before sharing our tips with you, however, we would like to give you some facts about what plastic does to our environment. Just thinking about these facts made us want to reduce our use of plastic. 


The Uncomfortable Truth About Single-Use Plastic


Our throw-away lifestyle is harming our planet - big time. It is the responsibility of us all to reduce the amount of waste we produce and travel responsibly. #saynotoplastic



Our Tips To Travel Plastic-Free

Hygiene


Our Packing List

Bamboo Toothbrush

Toothpaste Powder

Natural Deodorant

Cotton Pads

Shampoo Bar


For the Perfect Smile


Bamboo Toothbrush & Toothpaste Powder: When we travel, Navvin and I like to pack our bamboo toothbrushes and toothpaste in the form of power. To use the toothpaste, simply transfer a bit of the powder onto a small dish and dip your toothbrush into the powder. Then brush until your teeth are clean.


To be completely honest with you, we were skeptical at first using this kind of toothpaste, turns out it works really well.


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Feeling Fresh


Shampoo Bar: Instead of a bulky shampoo container that risks laking into our bag or feeling tempted to use the little shampoo bottles provided by hotels, we have switched to shampoo bars.


We are also using it at home now too. Think about how many plastic bottles you can save each year with this? Every bit counts. This alone makes a huge impact. 

I bought my ingredients in a zero-waste store and mixed them at home in a matter of minutes. Having eliminated the plastic packaging of commercial deodorants together with compressed gases that are potentially harmful to the environment are amazing side benefits.in which I know the ingredients without having to study chemistry.


I bought my ingredients in a zero-waste store and mixed them at home in a matter of minutes. Having eliminated the plastic packaging of commercial deodorants together with compressed gases that are potentially harmful to the environment are amazing side benefits.


Another option would be to buy deodorant in a zero-waste store. They often sell solid deodorants made of natural ingredients that you can simply rub under your arms.



Beauty Routine

Our Packing List

Stainless Steel Razor

Bamboo Cotton Swabs

Natural Make-Up Remover

Cotton Wipes


Stainless Steel Razor


Remember that sad little seahorse clinging to a cotton swab in the ocean? Made out of plastic, they are detrimental to the environment. An easy alternative is bamboo cotton swabs. r. Consider switching to a stainless-steel safety razor. While the price of the razor itself may seem daunting at first but the blades are cheap.


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Bamboo Cotton Swabs


Remember that sad little seahorse clinging to a cotton swab in the ocean? Made out of plastic, they are detrimental to the environment. An easy alternative is bamboo cotton swabs.


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Facial Cleansing


I like wearing a little make-up. It simply makes me feel better. To remove the make-up in the evening, I switched to a plastic-free facial cleansing routine. Instead of using commercial wipes, I am now using washable cotton ones and instead of the cleanser from the drug store, I am now using a make-up remover made out of 100% coconut oil. It works so well and the bottle is refillable.


Street Food

Our Packing List

Lunch Box

Reusable Cutlery

Cotton Shopping Bag

Stainless steel Bottles

Reusable Straw


When we travel, chances are that we hit the local farmers and street-food markets. It is simply the best place to learn about local products and sample local dishes and drinks. Often, however, these markets generate huge amounts of single-use plastic trash.


So we equipped ourselves with stainless steel lunch boxes, straws, and bottles as well as cutlery made out of bamboo. We love using them. Not only can we enjoy the markets guilt-free, the containers also keep our food warm longer and our drinks cold for hours.


Ice, Ice Baby!  

Ice cream is as much a part of every summer vacation as sunbathing and swimming in the ocean. At ice cream shops you often have the option to choose between a cone and a cup with a plastic spoon. Opt for the cone instead of the cup and immediately you saved one spoon without having to forgo your ice cream.


Beach, Beach, Let’s Go to the Beach!

Our Packing List

Hat

UV Sunglasses

Natural Sunscreen

“Beach Blouse”

Did you know that many common chemicals used in thousands of products to protect against the harmful effects of ultraviolet light threaten corals and other marine life? Hawaii even banned sunscreen containing harmful chemicals including oxybenzone and octinoxate from its beaches. We hope many follow its example and we are saying that because there are so many alternatives to protect yourself from getting sunburned instead of sun-kissed. 


During our trips, we like to stay in a nice hotel every now and then - good food, super comfortable beds, swimming pools, and amazing spa facilities. This is all great. The hotel mini toiletries are not because they usually come in single-use plastic containers. Bring your own hygiene kit to create zero waste during your trip.



Say ‘No’ Every Once in a While

During our trips, we noticed that there are very few moments that we really have to say no to things to minimize the use of single-use plastic.



Say No to Hotel Mini Toiletries: We like to stay in a nice hotel every now and then - good food, super comfortable beds, swimming pools, and amazing spa facilities. This is all great. The hotel mini toiletries are not because they usually come in single-use plastic containers. Bring your own hygiene kit to create zero-waste during your trip.


Airplane Snacks & Drinks: While on the plane, we all like to snack a little. Consider buying some snacks before heading to the airport. Zero-waste stores have great snack options. For the drinks that are served on the plane, we bought two cheap metal cups. 


Plastic Bags: Bring your own bag to the bustling markets. This way you can simply say no to the plastic bag that the vendor wants to give you.


Do Your Part and Pick It Up

What I do is that I bring a bag with us when we go hiking or to the beach and pick up those items that others carelessly dropped on the hiking trail or that are about to be taken away by the waves at the beach.


I guess I have that from my dad who whenever he walks our dog, picks up what others so selfishly throw out the window when they drive through our neighborhood. Again, I believe every little action counts. 


Where to Stock Up on Your Travel Items?

Since Navvin and I are based in Kuala Lumpur, we have listed the names and addresses of our favorite stores in the city down below:

  • Unplug: It is the perfect address to stock up on your natural beauty products.

  • The Hive: The Hive is a zero-waste store offering a large variety of whole foods options, cleaning products, and home utensils. They also have a wide selection of eco-friendly personal care and lifestyle products.


Of course, you can also get them delivered to you from an online store. Then, however, they are often wrapped in layers over layers of plastic and that defeats the purpose of wanting to reduce plastic waste.



We hope we could inspire you by showing that you can make a real impact on the environment by saying 'Yes' to all these amazing environmentally friendly alternatives to single-use plastic. Simply making some small tweaks to your travel habits goes a long way and in the process, you can inspire others to do the same.



Please do leave some comments below and let us know which products you use or what are your plastic-free travel routines. We are curious!  



© 2020 by Truely I Proudly created by Navvin Kumar & Julia Christiaens 

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