Eco Travel: Going Green on the Road
Got it together on the home front, but having difficulty maintaining your green boundaries once you hit the road? It's been a transition for us as well. While we're still working out a few kinks as we camp and travel our way down the eastern seaboard, several Earth friendly procedures have been implemented from the get go. Read on.
Transition is tough, and transition while mobile adds another whole dimension, believe me. There are new kinks to be worked out, and an entirely new mind set than when you are simply traveling for fun. So how are we keeping things green while getting things done? Following is a list of items we've either used previously, are using now, or about to implement as soon as time, location and schedule permit.
Solid hair care products.
I've reviewed some solid shampoos and conditioners previously on Wise Bread. So I won't repeat the information here. Suffice it to say that we are incorporating these into our journey, while still using some liquid versions as well to supplement and stretch the more expensive solid products as far as possible. We still may be getting on a plane to hang out in South America for a bit, so we will definitely need the solid product then. In the meantime, they are taking up way less space in our luggage / vehicle, and still getting the job done so to speak. These products use way less packaging and water, making them a great choice for tight space transitions and the planet.
Green, reusable feminine products.
These are compact for light travel and eco friendly. While I've written about their green benefits extensively before, I bring them to light here because they are super to have on hand while traveling. Factor in needing to function out of your car and tent for a few weeks, and their compact size and flexibility become even more important. My current problem? With everything being packed, unpacked and reorganized after the flood, my set seems to have been relocated to the land of “not to be revealed until completely unpacked in your new home”. So while I've always traveled with them before, I'll need to be looking for another set the first time I'm in striking distance of a Whole Foods. Oh well. I guess that just means that I'll have a travel set permanently packed. Eventually.
Available in many scents, I prefer peppermint and tea tree oil. This is the liquid one I'm supplementing with and also using to do dishes with on the road. Hey, when you need to conserve space, multi purpose products are what it's all about. This stuff works to get things clean and is friendly to the environment even in marine situations.
Water bottle, that is. (We'll get to our bar strategy in a bit.) We find the 32 – ounce Nalgene ones convenient. Drink two a day, and you know you have met your recommended hydration requirement. Bonus? This helps cut down on the number of bottled water bottles you use enormously. And since they are small enough to be manageable, yet a full thirty-two ounces in size, you are not constantly stopping to refill. We filled them before we left my folks' place and bought a one gallon jug of spring water at the grocery store. When we need to refill on the road, we use that. Before we leave the campground, we fill up all three bottles. So far, they are the only three bottles of water we've used. Way less waste, in my humble opinion. I realize this is way more convenient in some parts of the world than in others, particularly with varying access to healthy tap water. But for us, it's working here in the States just fine.
You'll use way less gas on a cross country journey. If you are on the road long term and internationally, this means you'll be able to incorporate more walking and share medium sized methods of transportation with less baggage. This makes it eco friendly as well as light and low budget.
Bring some bandanas.
Helpful on the road as well as around the house, we're currently using these on both fronts. Just today, we spread them out as an eating space for bagels and berries, after which I did dishes and washed my face. Then, I scrubbed them out with a scrub brush so they'll be fresh to start with tomorrow. They also make great napkins if you don't want to purchase paper ones, and dry super quick.
Green versions of old standby products.
If you're carrying your own toilet paper and baby wipes anyway, why not go with a greener variety? The last store we stocked up at didn't have Seventh Generation or an equivalent brand, so we went traditional. However, we're hoping to restock with eco-versions the next time. Sometimes you just have to make due with items you can find on the road and feel comfortable that you're making the effort on the green front in other areas when you're able.
Solid lotions and deodorants.
For similar reasons to the shampoo and conditioning products mentioned above, solid versions of these products can be the more informed eco-choice as well. I'm a fan of the solid mineral salt deodorants and am dying to try some of the lotions. I packed sample lotions to start the journey as I had run out of time to order ahead before we left. Once I find myself next to shopping option for such things, I'm definitely going to test drive a lotion bar or two. Again, less space, less packaging, and no liquid to leak out in your pack. Bonus? Airlines dig it.
Don't you just LOVE it when eco choice is also the way cool techie choice as well? Digital pictures mean less money on film, less developing products, and less paper to lug around. Gotta. Love. That. Another great perk is if that you can get them uploaded to a server or secure email program with loads of storage, you don't have to worry about losing them to a natural disaster or other tragedy on the home front.
Using less gas to cook with.
OK, this one's out of pure laziness and mental survival, but I'm still putting it out there. Because we still need to get things done while needing to make a certain number of miles each day, we've leaned more towards power bars, fruit and cheese, cracker packs, etc. We do have a one burner stove, a small steel pot and a French press. Why? Because life's too short for lousy coffee. That, and we really do need a fair amount of time to fire computers up and down, get things charged up for the next day, and not to mention the tent assembly and tearing down process. The detailed meals thing really had to go out the window, at least for now. When we get somewhere for more than a couple days or an overnight, we want to branch out and try some angel hair and pesto or maybe a batch of spicy Thai coconut soup. Until then, I'm just loving the fact that I can start every day without the coffee quality being a big mystery, which is so often the case on the road.
Grapefruit seed extract.
I love this product in general, and have been collecting info for a future post celebrating it alone, but for this post I'll just mention that it's great to add to the shampoo dish water for extra disinfectant, or to put a drop or two into drinking water to be extra safe and sure. Side note? It doesn't make a bad zit treatment. My favorite size and brand to travel extendedly with is the 8 ounce bottle of Nutribiotic. It's also available in bulk for home use and refilling smaller containers. Some folks like the 2 ounce bottle for shorter trips.
I only recently discovered these, but I am a huge convert and fan. We each have a set of the large and small bowl combo pack. They are reusable and prevent unnecessary plastic cup and bowl purchases. The large ones are great for cereal and smaller ones can be used for wine glasses. They fold up flat and can be stuffed in smaller sections of your backpack. Still looking for a similar solution for plates, so in the meantime, we're winging it. However, the last time we were at L.L. Bean, I noticed they were also making squishy shot glasses. Yes, we now have one and are carrying it with us. Was there ever any doubt?
Personal flatware on a snap ring or carabiner clip.
We each have a set, and they come in handy. Most come with a snap ring or carabiner, which makes them easy to hang off loops on the outside or inside of your pack. The green part is you don't have to buy disposable silverware. Green AND cheap.
Some other ways you can go green on the cheap and easy while you're traveling?
- Walking tours.
- Powering down your house while you're away.
- Judiciously choosing only those brochures and maps you know you need.
- Simply choosing an eco tourism destination for your vacation.
I'm sure more ideas will arise, but for now, this is how we roll. If anyone else is doing this, PLEASE chime in below with a comment and link. We're doing our best, but know there is more to learn and are open to any tips and tricks you all are willing to bring to our attention. Happy trails!
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