As a family, we love going on varied holidays and trips. It is so important to us that we can explore the UK and beyond, give the children lots of new experiences and of course, make some amazing memories. Being eco-conscious, it can be tricky to always get that sustainability balance right – travel will always come with waste, a carbon footprint, things we cannot change (hello real life!) but that’s not to say that we cannot continue to try our best as we do daily at home. On every holiday we have had since starting on our lower waste journey (with cloth nappies), we have taken our favourite eco-friendly items with us and so I thought I would share with you how much that has accumulated to over the years and how we make it work.
I have talked about cloth nappies a lot in the past and do have other articles on going on holiday and also going abroad with them so I won’t go into too much detail here (just click those links!) What I will say is that previously, we have always chosen a holiday home that has washing facilities simply so that we could continue using them. I am very aware that if you go to a hotel, to large holiday parks such as Center Parcs or stay with other people, that washing may well be impossible during your stay so taking cloth nappies would be a no-no. And that is fine, like I mentioned above, some things are just not always possible when it comes to travel.
We have just come back from a holiday in a hotel and as William only now wears his nappy at night, I decided to still take our cloth ones and to hand wash any wet ones in the bathroom. This was perfectly doable for me, he didn’t wet often and as the hotel shop sold washing powder, I had all I needed. They also dried quickly due to us being in a warm climate. Having said this, I think if he was in them full time, I wouldn’t have kept up with this routine due to the lack of time. So, yes, cloth nappies are an eco-friendly item to take on holiday with you IF the accommodation situation works.
Oh and don’t forget a reusable swim nappy if you’re little one needs that protection in the pool.
Same as above really, reusable wipes are a big part of our daily life so they come everywhere with us. The only difference with washing these is that they are far easier to clean with a handwash than nappies so they shouldn’t impact your holiday too much. They are also super handy for a wide range of holiday situations – cleaning up hands and faces, brushing mud away, wiping clothing, nappy changes, and even for mucky paws on a Lake District trip!
Wetbags are bags that can carry damp or wet items without soiling other things within say your backpack or suitcase. These are essential if you use cloth nappies and wipes but we’ve also found them to be super handy for swimwear, messy, muddy or wet clothing.
We can’t always plan everything down to the last detail when it comes to going away and I always somehow manage to be at some stage of my period when we’re on holiday. However, with reusable products I know I can pack all I need for every day and my flow, leaving me confident that I won’t ever run out and will always be comfortable. We’ve had 2 holidays this year, one in the UK and one abroad and for both I took my Cloth Sanitary Pads, Period Pants and Menstrual Cup. The pads and pants are so easy to handwash and dry (they definitely don’t require a washing machine) and the cup just needs hot water for sterilisation which should be achievable in most situations.
For more info check out these blog posts:
- All You Need To Know About Using A Menstrual Cup
- 3 Ways To Have A Plastic-Free Period
- Review | WUKA Period Pants
- Review | WUKA Period Swim Bikini Brief
- Ruby Cup Review
- Making The Switch To Cloth Sanitary Pads
Shampoo and Conditioner Bars
We have all now made the switch over from shampoo and conditioner in plastic bottles to zero waste bars and the best way to have these travel with you is to place them inside metal tins that will protect them and all of your other items in your luggage.
Just the same as above really, bars of soap can travel well whilst helping to keep your plastic use down.
Washable, reusable, work well, so take lots of flannels for face and body.
A loofah is a plant – did you know this? It is 100% natural which means it will also 100% breakdown in your compost bin once you’ve finished using it. It is a great alternative to a (plastic) sponge. I purchased mine from Peace With The Wild.
Did you know that it is estimated that we bin around 2 billion disposable razors every single year?! A safety razor is far better for the environment because the whole razor is reusable and the blades can be returned to be recycled.
This is an obvious one to pack but I am adding it to the list because my years old brush was finally finished off by the dog which meant I had to shop around for a new, eco-friendly option. I went with a bamboo and natural rubber paddle brush from Peace With The Wild which I absolutely love.
Eco-Friendly Electric Toothbrush
Usually I would be talking about bamboo toothbrushes being the eco alternative but I have just discovered (and purchased) the brand new plant based electric toothbrush by SURI. Not only is it not made from plastic but you can also send the heads back for recycling plus it’s charge lasts 30 days. On top of this, it’s super sonic motions work amazingly on your teeth and I’ve seen an improvement in mine in just a few weeks. You can read my SURI review here.
Me and Rob are currently the only ones using an eco and plastic-free toothpaste because the children are, well, children and super fussy about change/tastes/textures so switching them over hasn’t happened yet. After trying several products myself including the tabs (which were a big no-no!) I now have one I love, Ben and Anna’s Whitening Toothpaste with fluoride which I get from It’s All About You Eco. You don’t have to use much, it tastes nice, works well and is zero waste (you can recycle or reuse the jars).
Plastic-Free Dental Floss
We have also switched over to a plastic-free dental floss and with this tiny, glass bottle, it can easily fit into your luggage.
My Skincare Products
My facial cleanser, moisturiser, foot balm, lip balm and healing b-balm all come from Beeutiful which is eco-friendly, natural and plastic free. I love the products this company makes and you can see which have been my previous travel essentials here.
Reusable Nail Varnish Remover Pads
If like me, you like to add a little bit of colour to your nails for holiday you can avoid the waste of cotton wool/pads by switching to eco nail varnish remover pads. They work brilliantly, so much better than anything else, there’s less mess/smear with them and you can simply rinse and reuse. I bought mine from Eco Coach House here.
(I am yet to switch to eco nail varnish remover as I am doing the eco thing and using up what I already have).
I have been using Wild deodorant for quite a while now which is natural, eco and comes with a handy reusable case but in my job I am often asked to try out other options and have been using a Love The Planet plastic-free, vegan and natural deodorant too. I really love both, they work well, smell great, reduce waste and are easy to pack.
Sun cream can be a tricky eco area to get right. I have found through experience and research that not all those claiming to be coral safe truly are, that some natural ingredients cause skin reactions and not all are proven to fully protect. I have recently been trying out Love The Planet’s sun cream and this has proven successful so far, easy to apply and plastic-free (although it isn’t available in Factor 50 yet which is disappointing). Eco sun cream is still something I need to test further but some favourites from others include Shade, Green People, Tropic Skincare, Jason and Toddle.
Reusable Water Bottles and Cups
Of course, we couldn’t ever go away without our trusty reusable bottles and cups. These can be used all over the world, on all holiday types, they are even allowed through airport security if empty (there are usually refill taps for water on the other side) making plastic reduction much easier these days.
Taking a picnic with you is the best way to keep your waste low (and small people happy!). We always take our reusable sandwich bags, reusable tubs/tins for snacks, a flask, reusable tea bags/strainers, cutlery (doesn’t have to be fancy, just the ones from your holiday home will do fine), straw, ice packs, beeswax wraps, silicone lids and stasher bags. There are lots of eco products like these over on the Regn website.
Find out more here:
- Stasher Bag Review
- Are Beeswax Wraps Really Worth It?
- Leave Only Your Footprints: Must-Have Reusables For The Beach
- 7 Top Tips For an Eco-Friendly Lunch On The Go
- Review | Reusable Tea Bags
No matter where you go on holiday you are bound to go food shopping, to a market, to small local shops and will definitely require a reusable bag to take your lovely purchases home in.
And I think that’s it covered… I hope. If you think I may have forgotten something let me know in the comments (I bet I have!) But that just goes to show how many options we have to be more eco-friendly now and how many brilliant products can be used both at home and away.
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