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Heading to the beach on your next vacation? Make sure you pack for the planet with these sustainable travel essentials. From ensuring you have a reusable straw for your Pina Colada or reef-safe sunscreen for your snorkel outing, this robust checklist will ensure you’re prepared for just about anything the beach might throw at ya!
Drag and drop the Sustainable Beach Vacation Packing List to your desktop or save to your phone:
My hotel has recycling and garbage bins. Why should I pack all this extra stuff?
Unfortunately many of the worlds top travel destinations are still playing catch up with their boom in popularity. There simply isn’t the infrastructure to properly manage the amount of extra waste coming from tourists. Many cities and countries still don’t have recycling, let alone safe waste disposal. Also, they may not have the same high quality sewage systems that you may be accustomed to at home, meaning chemicals in your shampoo could end up in the ocean, rivers, and ground water. Even if you’re going to a seemingly developped major city, it doesn’t mean it can handle your trash. For example, New York City is the worlds biggest urban waster, creating 14 million tonnes of trash each year. Much of the waste is then sadly exported to China.
What’s in our toiletry bag?
Items in photo from left to right:
LunchBots containers – small stainless steel containers are great for liquids, i.e. toothpaste
Pure and Simple Toner + cotton rounds – the Pure and Simple brand uses TerraCycle to reuse their containers
David’s toothpaste – comes in a metal recyclable tube
Silicone travel tubes – we put shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, shave cream, etc. in these
DoTerra bug spray – no toxic chemicals
Stasher Bags – use these to keep wet items like soaps or leaky bottles so your whole toiletry bag doesn’t get nasty
All-Salve – first aid cream for cuts, burns, scraps
OrganiCup – mentrual cup, an alternative to pads or tampons
Dental Lace – compostable floss
Leaf Shave razor – high end stainless steel razor that can hold up to 3 blades
Meow Meow Tweet – plastic-free packaged deodorant
Raw Elements – plastic-free packaged sunscreen
Further explaining some of the items on the list:
biodegradable sunscreen: Recent studies have found that sunscreen chemicals in many popular products actually hurt corals. The main chemical culprits are oxybenzone and octinoxate. Not to mention some sunscreens have ingredients that can actually CAUSE cancer (don’t even get me started on the irony of conventional sunscreens).
non-toxic/natural toiletries: Not all countries and hotels are equipped to safely filter toxins that come from conventional skincare and makeup products. They could end up in local drinking water, ocean, lakes, and rivers. So it’s important to consider what is going down the drain or coming off your skin and into the ocean. It’s easier than ever to source non-toxic skincare and makeup products.
compostable hair elastics: hair elastics easily break or get lost. Best to know if this happens while on the beach, it won’t be left sitting in the ground for the next 400 years. Kooshoo is the worlds first compostable and plastic-free hair elastic brand.
“All Salve” cream by Fat and the Moon: this product is great for travel because it’s multi-purpose. It can be used as a lip balm or a healer of cuts, burns, bites, and scraps (similar to Polysporone).
natural motion sickness meds: Most natural motion sickness meds are made with ginger.
non-dyed aloe vera: for some reason, someone decided that aloe vera should look green and now all you see are fake dyed green bottles. Instead, buy an actual aloe plant or purchase a natural brand (the aloe should look clear).
waterproof bag for tech: I’ve had many close calls with tech getting wet on boats or at the beach. Keep your tech out of the landfill and protect them with a wet dry bag.
Quick-dry beach towels: Hotels use a bazillion gallons of water a year – and washing towels are a big culprit. Packing your own beach towel or simply opting to reuse your towel can help hotels save on water.
Where do we buy these items?
- The Bare Home
- The Pale Blue Dot
- Ahimsa Eco Solutions (10% OFF with code: ECOTRAVEL)
- Package-Free Shop
- Life Without Plastic
- The Detox Market (Canada)
- The Detox Market (USA)
- Eco & Amour
In-store – if you live in Ontario:
Where do you buy your sustainable, non-toxic and zero waste products? Tell us in the comments below. We’re always updating Wellness Travelled blog and would love to hear what our readers are using to stay sustainable on vacation.
Written by and packing list design by: Christine MacLean, Wellness Travelled Blog
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