Thursday, June 20, 2013

12 Tips for Low Waste Air Travel

I love to travel and have always hated dealing with checked luggage even before airlines started charging for it. Through many trips for pleasure and business I have packing a suitcase down to a science. I can travel almost anywhere – including a week in England – with a carry on suitcase and a backpack as my personal item.


 Air Travel Packing Tips 




Believe it or not, focusing on and packing reusable items over disposables keeps my luggage light and it  helps with keeping airport security rules. Although I double check them every time I fly because the rules and security measures can change on a dime for obvious reasons.

I used to be a disposables on vacation kind of gal until the trip where I accidentally dumped a disposable cup of coffee down the front of my dress in the car on the way to the airport. I didn’t have my coffee while standing in line for a way too early for me flight (grumble, grumble, stupid me, grumble) AND I understandably went through an extra security screening, not to mention I had to sit in a sopping wet dress during  my flight – not recommended BTW.


1. Take an empty reusable water bottle and/or travel coffee mug and fill it on the other side of the checkpoint. I take the top off while I go through security. I can’t tell you how many TSA screeners tell me this is a great idea, especially since I am the “Queen of Spilling Drinks on Myself.” Consider investing in a durable stainless steel water bottle and coffee mug. I have a shelf in my kitchen full of water bottles and travel mugs I never use because they are cheap and dent/crack easily unlike my stainless steel water bottle. I can’t tell you how much money and shelf space I would have saved if I spent the little extra bit of money for a sturdy stainless steel water bottle first instead of last.


 

 Extra tip: Lighten your load by investing in an insulated Klean Kanteen reusable water bottle and a cafĂ© cap to use has a travel coffee mug and switch to the loop cap for the rest of your trip when you want a regular reusable water bottle.

2. Bring your own earbuds instead of using/buying/renting/ ear buds on the plane, if applicable.  Chances are your pair is better quality too.

 3. Bring a fold up reusable shopping bag. I can’t keep track of which cities have bag bans or charge for shopping bags that I’m going to toss once I pack my suitcase for the trip home. In a pinch, you can use it as a carry on bag on the way home when you buy tons of locally made treats for your doggie that don’t fit into your backpack, ahem.

4. Pack coordinating mix and match clothing, shoes, makeup, and accessories. If there is any tip to follow it is this one because it saves a ton of space! You can always buy an extra jacket or sweater at your destination if you need it. I haven’t had to do this but knowing I can keeps me from packing stuff I don’t use.

5. Use a reusable 1 quart see through travel bag for liquids. Fortunately, you can now buy sturdy TSA size travel bags are sturdier than zipper sandwich bags. I went that route after the sandwich bag I used and reused to death became a holy hot disposable mess.

6. Decant your shampoo, conditioner, etc. from the large bottle in your bathroom to travel size containers rather than buying a bunch of travel size toiletries each trip.

7. Use a travel size toothbrush and  toothpaste instead of disposable pre pasted toothbrushes.

8. Use reusable batteries for your camera and re-charger if your camera eats AA batteries like mine.   Husband puts a set of rechargeable batteries in his camera, a second set in his backpack, and a third set in the charger in our hotel room.

9. Consider packing double duty items as applicable. I use pine tar soap on my face to keep my rosacea in check and use it is as body soap when I’m traveling. I’ve used a shampoo bar the same way in a pinch and sometimes Husband uses his shaving brush on a bar of hotel soap to cut down on dealing with shaving cream because some airports have different opinions on whether it is a liquid or not.

10. Many men use shaving oil because it comes in a smaller bottle than travel shaving cream and lasts forever.

11. Borrow city guidebooks from the library, from a friend, or download them on your phone, tablet, or ereader rather than buying and tossing it because it is out of the date on your next visit. 

12. Decant laundry detergent in a travel bottle to wash simple things like socks, undies, hosiery, etc. in the hotel room sink and cut down on space.  I usually do this for longer vacation trips like England and not business travel where I might be sharing a room with a co worker and feel weird about them seeing my laundry hanging on the shower curtain rod.

How do you reduce when traveling? What are your waste-free traveling “must haves”?

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 This post is sponsored by Klean Kanteen and Green Sisterhood.