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Taking a gap year is all about gaining new experiences and a new perspective on life. When you choose to take time off from work or school, you know that your lifestyle will change and you may gain a new appreciation for the world around you.

There are many sustainability issues to consider when planning some extended travel but one you can influence very easily, is what kit you travel with.  It may seem easier or cheaper to choose single-use items instead of their more sustainable options, however there are plenty of eco-friendly essentials to challenge your preconceptions about what to pack.

  1. Clothing & travel bags

Before you leave for your gap year, you should consider the clothing and accessories you’re taking along with you. Are you choosing options that are sustainable? Or fast-fashion items that might need to be replaced while you’re away? Packing essentials that can be re-worn without washing and that are bought from sustainable brands is the best way to pack for a year away. Minimalist ways of shopping, like capsule wardrobes, have become more popular and you can apply this to travelling too

When it comes to your travel bag, there are lots of options and prices so do your research as your backpack should be your best friend on your travels.

  1. Soap and shampoo

While on the go, bulky bottles of soap, shampoo, and conditioner won’t be convenient to carry with you. Not only are they not approved in your carry-on, but they can also be heavy and take up space too. If you opt for small bottles, you will find yourself creating tons of waste in the course of just a month. Instead, choose to buy bars of shampoo and soap for an eco- and travel-friendly option. These will be light to carry, no issue when flying, and create no waste when you’re done using them.

  1. Contact lenses

Wearing daily contact lenses saves you from carrying around a lens solution bottle, which is helpful for travel and the environment! However, many contact lens brands still use a lot of plastic to create their lens packs. Choose to shop from innovative brands instead that strive to make their daily contact lenses with less plastic packaging and take up less space in your bag.

  1. Toothpaste

Toothpaste is another daily essential that can create a lot of waste over time. When you choose to buy toothpaste that doesn’t come in a tube, you’re eliminating the plastic waste and chemicals that are used in traditional toothpastes. Just like bottles of shampoo, toothpaste can be inconvenient to fly or travel with. When you’re done with this pack of toothpaste tablets, you don’t need to worry about throwing away the packaging because it’s completely compostable.

  1. Deodorant

Even deodorant can be purchased in an environmentally-conscious fashion. From sticks to creams, the options are endless for zero-waste deodorants in 2020. You can find them in reusable glass jars or biodegradable paper packaging, both of which are perfect for travellers like you.

Not only are these options more eco-friendly, but almost all of them are more convenient for travel too! This will make it easier on you to tackle your time exploring new locations and not have to worry about if you’re not treating the planet well in the process.

Author bio – Theo Stone is a content creator for a certified B-Corps company. He is enthusiastic about caring for the environment but also likes watching basketball and enjoying craft beer.

Gap Year Guidance