Travel without plastic



“No straw please!”


Requesting a drink without a straw is an important phrase that many of us are now remembering to use, though I have to say that I have been impressed by the number of places I’ve been to recently that are no longer using the plastic variety, and the request is not required.

“Sin pajita, por favor”   (Spanish for no straw please)

Similarly, recyclable takeaway cups are appearing more frequently. I was delighted on a recent Easyjet flight to find that the cups they use are now made from plants, not plastic.



In addition, many airports, and other locations, are providing ready access to drinking water points where we can fill our bottles.

Now, we need to take advantage of these positive changes, and make a difference ourselves.  Packing without plastics makes a thoughtful and pro-active start to our travels.

Here are a few simple tips:

  1. Carry your own drinking vessels – for water and hot drinks (collapsible versions are available)
  2. Similarly, carry your own food containers, and take beeswax wraps if you’re likely to buy food on your travels
  3. Toiletries – carry in your own re-usable containers, and use soap bars and shampoo bars rather then the liquid variety
  4. Use a bamboo toothbrush (see here for recommendations on options available)  – it is estimated that 3.6 billion plastic toothbrushes are used worldwide every year and roughly 80 per cent of these end up in the sea
  5. Select your hand and face wipes carefully as the majority currently contain plastic
  6. Take a re-usable shopping bag or two (or buy a local version on your travels)
  7. If you’re like me and carry tea bags with you around the world, be sure to shop for plastic-free ones


After your eco-friendly packing, what next, you ask.

Top of my list, is don’t use the tiny plastic bottles of toiletries in your hotel room. If we don’t use them, they’ll stop providing them.

“Pas de paille, s’il vous plait”   (French for no straw please)

Next, try out the straw phrase, politely, and in the local language if you can.

“Kein Strohhalm bitte”   (German for no straw please)

When indulging in an ice cream, go for a tasty cone rather than a plastic coated tub.

And when you have a coffee, make sure you use your own travel cup, or take a rest, put your feet up and sit in the cafe – enjoy their crockery and maybe make a new friend by chatting with the locals.


Enough of my ramblings, for now – happy plastic-free travels.

If you have suggestions do please share them in the comments below.





Copyright Debbie Smyth, 11 October 2018

Posted as part of Cee’s B&W Challenge

16 thoughts on “Travel without plastic

  1. Wonderful! Yes, yes and yes. I love the insertion of how to say, “No straw please” in other languages (I am going to teach that in our spanish class tomorrow!) Thanks so much for that – !

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Plastic bottles and bags are my bugbear in Portugal, they are everywhere. We have reusable versions and are always at the market insisting we don’t need bags!

    Loving your other tips. Great post x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Excellent advice! I am feeling particularly overwhelmed by the scale of the problems facing the world right now, but figure doing what I can is infinitely better than ignoring it on the basis the problem is “too big.”

    Liked by 1 person

      1. That is true. Our supermarkets have finally stopped giving away single-use bags, and are beginning to address other disposable packaging. In some of the smaller places I shop my re-usable totes are still met with surprise, but less so than a year ago.

        Liked by 1 person

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