Eco-Friendly Travel Essentials

Ready to pack for your next surf retreat? Seeing as you are going to relish the joys that the ocean brings us, have you thought about what impact your trip has on the very thing that brings us so much joy? How eco-friendly is your baggage actually?

As a surfer, yogi or traveller, it’s so important to try and reduce our influence on the environment. While offsetting the carbon emissions of your flight would be a nice start, there are many other smaller lifestyle changes you could adopt that will have a positive impact on the world around you.

1. Take a re-usable water bottle (and/or coffee cup).

Stop buying plastic bottles, full stop! There is no excuse.
It’s very important to stay hydrated while surfing in the blazing sun. With a metal drinking bottle (ideally double walled, to keep it cool) you can take your water everywhere you venture.

Only taking hand luggage on your flight? Simply empty the bottle of its contents and no one will even blink an eye in security. Most airports now have bottle re-filling stations. So once through security you can fill it back up for free, rather than spending a ridiculous amount on a plastic bottle. With re-usable coffee cups, you might even get a discount in the coffee shops.

2. Use soap and shampoo bars.

Another culprit, the shampoo bottle… Long beach days, salty water and sand everywhere. Double surfs. I bet some have double, even triple showers on their warm water surf trips.
Before we even start talking about the waste of single use plastics, you might want to consider using less water. While it might seem straightforward in most European countries, the water keeps coming out of the tap. In more tropical locations your shower water will come out of rain tanks and when there is no rain, there is no water…
Ok, we don’t want you walking around with days of salt build up on your eyebrows and to be honest sand can get pretty itchy too. 😀
So, here’s how you can help the environment. Re-think shampoo and soap.
Time to head back into history and get those soap bars and cute little soap boxes out again.
Shampoo bars are developing quickly, and most are void of the many chemicals you’d find in their bottled cousins. Besides, you can even keep them in your hand luggage!
WIN-WIN

3. Reef and ocean friendly suncream

Not many people realise but sun cream really affects the oceans. Did you know 60 million bottles worth of sunscreen wash off into coral reef areas every year? The chemicals (oxybenzone & Octinoxate) used as UV-filters in conventional sun creams are extremely toxic to coral reefs and even affect personal health.
Luckily, marine biologists and dermatologists have been working away re-inventing sunscreens. There are more and more mineral-based products out there, that are safe for coral reefs, wildlife and us.
You might notice the natural skincare products will usually have an SPF30 rating.
This is because to reach SPF50, there will be a need for more chemicals, while only 1% more UV will be blocked compared to SPF30. So, to avoid unnecessary risk by exposing yourself and the ocean to damaging chemicals, most skincare charities recommend SPF15-30 applied regularly, rather than the false sense of security SPF 50 might give you.

Our personal favourite has to be Australian made P4O (People 4 Ocean), created from the combined knowledge of marine biologists and skincare specialist, for all skins (even pets), it is 100% natural, no synthetics, and cruelty free. What’s more, it smells amazing.

4. Pack light

Don’t overpack. Travelling light is a skill. Once you master it, you’ll never go back.
Take only the absolute necessary. Need to bring a towel? Why not use a super light weight hammam or travel towel? Nowadays you can buy packing cubes, helping you keep things organised, but also save space so you can opt for smaller luggage.

5. Take a canvas tote bag

I bet you’ll love to stroll around the local villages with its beautiful markets and coffee shops. You might want to pick up some of the local delicacies. It would be a shame to have to buy plastic bags. Some surf destinations might even have banned them totally.
That little canvas bag you got will sure come in handy.

6. Eco-friendly surf wear

Yes, of course they are in your bag. You are going on a surf trip. You’ve bought a new bikini, surf suit, maybe even some surf leggings especially for this trip.
But what happened in the production process? Are your new pieces creating havoc on distant shores? You should know most surf brands are producing their new collections with eco-friendly fabrics. Fabrics such as Econyl, made from regenerated nylon taken from old carpets and ghost fishing nets, or Repreve, made from recycled plastic bottles.
The fabulous Salt Gypsy combines sustainability with style in the line up, they’ll make you feel so elegant and fabulous in the water.
It really pays to research what your favourite pieces are made of.
The eco-friendlier options might seem a little more pricey (longer production times due to recycling/regenerating), but you are helping the ocean here. You’ll feel so much better and can surf with a clear conscience.

The list is long

There are so many small changes we can do in everyday life, which can also impact the way we travel. Have you thought about bamboo toothbrushes, menstrual cups, re-usable straws, cutlery, washbags, solar power banks, … as we said the list is long.
It’s time to give back to the ocean for the endless joys it brings us.
What will you change on your next surf trip?

Life is a wave, catch it :Katrin Flatscher