Hip Hip Horahh! We are three months into our year-long trip abroad! In case you missed the back story, you can head over here to where it all started. The Green Series is back! Leaving you last was part 8 with tips on how to help you travel more ethically by avoiding the top five common mishaps. But let’s get into some sustainable packing hacks!

This post is essentially a check list of all the things you should add to your short or long (near or far) packing list if you’re hoping to travel more sustainably. We are all about ethical travel, whether it be; applying slow tourism principles (e.g.: I decided to walk from Hungary to Italy) to plastic free alternatives (from leak proof undies, stainless steel straws and bamboo toothbrushes) and ethically sourced clothing (second hand or organic, Australian made.)

sustainable packing

Before leaving Australia, I wanted to make sure we weren’t forgetting the simple items that make our lives equally more convenient and less wasteful. I had to seek out the best (and sometimes, the more expensive) ethically made products, you can read which ones we chose here.

Below is a list of absolute essentials I believe every ethical traveller should pack:

Water bottle

We’ve used our water bottles throughout, it’s a shame that so many people in Europe prefer bottled water (purely on taste, I can’t quite figure out why.) We’ve refilled throughout on our travels to prevent us adding to plastic pollution. Unfortunately, we were required to purchase a staggering amount of plastic water bottles in Italy due to the unavailability (or should I say, reluctant servers) of tap water and supposed unreliable sanitation.

Reusable tote

reusable tote

This has been the most valuable and most used item we’ve packed (other than undies) and it’s also arguably the smallest. Groceries, dirty laundry, day bag – the list goes on – we use it for everything!

Menstrual cup

Invaluable & priceless. I use Juju.

Period proof undies

Invaluable & priceless. Probably my favourite sustainable packing hack are period proof undies. I use ModiBodi.

Reusable panty liners

Super handy and certainly helped when I’ve been in a bind whilst out and about. I use Hannah Pad.

Cloth napkin

This is a great paper (and often plastic lined) napkin alternative. Can also be used in emergency situations as hand towel, toilet paper or face washer – although honestly – that would be awkward if it were used for all three.

Metal straw

Admittedly, we haven’t used the straws all that much, as it turns out, I don’t actually drink many beverages that require one. However, in Greece, where ‘café freddo’ (iced coffee) was the preferred drink, I did save a few plastic ones. Plus, they weigh nothing! Pack em in!

Bamboo cutlery

Bamboo Cutlery

Unfortunately we haven’t used these all that much, possibly because we are eating a lot of sandwiches, pizza slices or self-catering in Airbnbs. However, these were great on our flights over to Europe! If you’re travelling for business and you’re likely to have take away meals, definitely pack these!

Bamboo toothbrush

Admittedly, it took me a few brands to find one I liked, but I’m SUPER happy with Go Bamboo.

Shampoo & conditioner bars

Seriously – these are GREAT! They take up minimal space, are no effort at airports and do the job. The trick is finding one that suits your hair type. It’s taken us a few to find a good one. I highly recommend pairing them with either a leave in conditioner or dry shampoo depending on your hair type.

Soap bars (encased in a reusable soap container)

I’ve really enjoyed sampling all the local olive oil blends we’ve found throughout Europe. They’re definitely better than lugging around liquid soap. Plus! It makes airport experiences a lot easier.


One might debate that a kindle creates more waste than 16 + books (I’ve already read 17, you can read which ones here) but I do ultimately believe it’s more sustainable.

Ethical clothing

So far, so good. We’re certainly not sick of our clothing yet – but I am a little worried that we won’t be warm enough here in South Africa. You can read more about what brands we’re travelling with here.

Ethical footwear

So far, so good – however – I am a little concerned about one pair of shoes in particular (*cue super glue!!!), but other than those, everything else seems to be holding up with the constant use.

What sustainable packing items do you carry with when you travel?

Join me next week as I continue our travels throughout Italy, in Procida!

Until then xo

Let me know what you think....