Packing Tips For The Environmentally Friendly Backpacker

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Published 08th April, 2019
Article author - Katie Tiffin

Want to be eco-friendly as you adventure around the globe? Follow these simple packing tips to help reduce your plastic waste whilst travelling!

Pack Re-usable Cutlery

The single-use utensils you use to eat street food and airline meals whilst travelling are most likely contributing to the eighteen billion pounds of plastic waste flowing into the oceans each year. Carrying your own reusable cutlery is a simple way to avoid further plastic pollution. For those trying to pack light, a simple spork will do! Alternatively, you can buy mini cutlery sets, some of which include straws and chopsticks, that come in a handy little container so your used utensils don’t smear food on the rest of your stuff.

Beach Clean Up Small Change

Purchase Re-usable Food Wrap

If you’re planning on making a lot of packed lunches on your trip consider buying reusable sandwich bags or beeswax food wrap. Reusable food bags and wraps won’t end up in landfill like clingfilm as they can easily be wiped clean or put in the washing machine. These reusable items are also perfect for backpacking as they are much easier to slip into your backpack than lunchboxes, and you won’t need to look for clingfilm at every stop on your trip.

Swap Plastic Bags for Tote Bags and Packing Cubes

Like disposable cutlery, plastic bags have a devastating effect on the environment and wildlife. It has been estimated that 52% of sea turtles have consumed plastic waste , and the east coast of Australia is one of the most dangerous places for turtles to live due to this issue. To make sure your shopping bags don’t damage marine life, carry canvas tote bags for your shopping and use packing cubes instead of plastic bags to separate dirty clothes or shoes from clean things in your backpack.

Pack a Reusable Water Bottle

In Bali alone, over six million plastic bottles are discarded every month, and these bottles end up in the ocean or landfill. Although drinking tap water in South-East Asia is not usually recommended... hostels, airports, and other public spaces often have water stations to fill your bottle with clean, safe drinking water. You can also download the RefillMyBottle app which locates the nearest location where you can safely refill your bottle for free or a small fee. If you're on an INTRO Travel Tour you can purchase (or use your own) refillable water bottle at the start which you'll be able to fill up for free at most locations on the trip!

Small Change Drink Bottle

Re-evaluate Your Toiletry Bag

Some simple swaps in your toiletry bag can help reduce plastic waste. Swap mini-toiletries for reusable bottles that can be refilled in hostels that provide shampoo and body wash – a thrifty and eco-friendly solution.

If you’re worried you won’t be able to refill your toiletry bottles or want to eliminate plastic from your shower routine try using soap and shampoo bars. Shampoo and soap bars not only reduce plastic waste but are also a lot more lightweight and won’t leak in your bag – a win-win situation!

BYO Coffee Cup

You may think being environmentally friendly when it comes to coffee is as simple as putting your takeout cup into a recycling bin, but coffee cups are a lot more difficult to recycle than many people realise.  The mixture of paper and plastic in the lining of disposable coffee cups means they cannot easily be recycled, as a result, it is estimated that 99.75% of coffee cups in the UK are not recycled.

Packing a reusable coffee cup is not only a lot more environmentally friendly, but it may also save you a little money as many cafes offer discounts to those who bring their own cup. If you’re trying to travel light look for collapsible coffee cups that will easily fit into your backpack.


By attempting to travel a little more sustainably, we can all make a Small Change to help the planet we call home. For more tips about environmentally friendly travel, here are some of our other articles on the topic.

Now that you're clued in on how to be a more eco-conscious traveller, is it time to start planning your next adventure? Click here to check out INTRO's group tours in Asia & Australia !

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Packing Tips For The Environmentally Friendly Backpacker

blog image
Published 08th April, 2019
Article author - Katie Tiffin

Want to be eco-friendly as you adventure around the globe? Follow these simple packing tips to help reduce your plastic waste whilst travelling!

Pack Re-usable Cutlery

The single-use utensils you use to eat street food and airline meals whilst travelling are most likely contributing to the eighteen billion pounds of plastic waste flowing into the oceans each year. Carrying your own reusable cutlery is a simple way to avoid further plastic pollution. For those trying to pack light, a simple spork will do! Alternatively, you can buy mini cutlery sets, some of which include straws and chopsticks, that come in a handy little container so your used utensils don’t smear food on the rest of your stuff.

 Beach Clean Up Small Change

Purchase Re-usable Food Wrap

If you’re planning on making a lot of packed lunches on your trip consider buying reusable sandwich bags or beeswax food wrap. Reusable food bags and wraps won’t end up in landfill like clingfilm as they can easily be wiped clean or put in the washing machine. These reusable items are also perfect for backpacking as they are much easier to slip into your backpack than lunchboxes, and you won’t need to look for clingfilm at every stop on your trip.

Swap Plastic Bags for Tote Bags and Packing Cubes

Like disposable cutlery, plastic bags have a devastating effect on the environment and wildlife. It has been estimated that 52% of sea turtles have consumed plastic waste, and the east coast of Australia is one of the most dangerous places for turtles to live due to this issue. To make sure your shopping bags don’t damage marine life, carry canvas tote bags for your shopping and use packing cubes instead of plastic bags to separate dirty clothes or shoes from clean things in your backpack. 

Pack a Reusable Water Bottle

In Bali alone, over six million plastic bottles are discarded every month, and these bottles end up in the ocean or landfill. Although drinking tap water in South-East Asia is not usually recommended... hostels, airports, and other public spaces often have water stations to fill your bottle with clean, safe drinking water. You can also download the RefillMyBottle app which locates the nearest location where you can safely refill your bottle for free or a small fee. If you're on an INTRO Travel Tour you can purchase (or use your own) refillable water bottle at the start which you'll be able to fill up for free at most locations on the trip! 

Small Change Drink Bottle

Re-evaluate Your Toiletry Bag

Some simple swaps in your toiletry bag can help reduce plastic waste. Swap mini-toiletries for reusable bottles that can be refilled in hostels that provide shampoo and body wash – a thrifty and eco-friendly solution.

If you’re worried you won’t be able to refill your toiletry bottles or want to eliminate plastic from your shower routine try using soap and shampoo bars. Shampoo and soap bars not only reduce plastic waste but are also a lot more lightweight and won’t leak in your bag – a win-win situation! 

BYO Coffee Cup

You may think being environmentally friendly when it comes to coffee is as simple as putting your takeout cup into a recycling bin, but coffee cups are a lot more difficult to recycle than many people realise.  The mixture of paper and plastic in the lining of disposable coffee cups means they cannot easily be recycled, as a result, it is estimated that 99.75% of coffee cups in the UK are not recycled.

Packing a reusable coffee cup is not only a lot more environmentally friendly, but it may also save you a little money as many cafes offer discounts to those who bring their own cup. If you’re trying to travel light look for collapsible coffee cups that will easily fit into your backpack.


By attempting to travel a little more sustainably, we can all make a Small Change to help the planet we call home. For more tips about environmentally friendly travel, here are some of our other articles on the topic.

Now that you're clued in on how to be a more eco-conscious traveller, is it time to start planning your next adventure? Click here to check out INTRO's group tours in Asia & Australia!

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