Packing for Eco Friendly Travel

Guest Post by Aaron Salyer


When we go somewhere, we’re usually staying in the most sustainable accommodation that we can find. That doesn’t have to mean “basic.” In fact, some of the most beautiful and unique destinations that we’ve ever travelled to have been an off grid eco resort. 


One of our favorite eco resorts, La Fortuna Guatemala


Eco travel is all about reducing your negative impact and increasing your positive impact. For example:


Reducing negative impact might be taking a train instead of a plane (if possible). If not, taking the most direct route to reduce the number of flights 

Increasing positive impact could be staying at an eco-accommodation that has direct financial benefit to the local wildlife or promotes education in the local community 

There are so many different ways to travel nowadays. We’re into the slow kind. That means going to less places and staying longer in one spot. Really getting to know the place, the people and develop a lasting connection with the area. This will naturally make your trip more conscious, as the decisions you make on a daily basis do have an impact on the area. 

We Travel Light  

If possible, we travel with only carry-on. Last year we did a 6-week trip to Guatemala with just one carry-on bag each. On that trip we got to see most of the country, stay in incredible places and meet amazing people. 

As travel bloggers we’re always documenting things, so we had to pack our photography gear too. This included our DSLR camera, Mavic Drone and Gopro (with the underwater dome). 

So, we need a good bag that can not only handle our gear, but be durable, user-friendly and practical. 


What is in our Pakt? 

Here’s an example of what our Pakt Bag would look like. This is typically what we’d pack for a trip (assuming the weather is relatively warm).


Reusable Items 

  • Insulated Mugs 
  • Water Bottle 
  • Mesh Bags 
  • Bamboo Cutlery & Reusable straws 
  • Reusable Lunch Box

Eco Friendly Toiletries 
  • Reef safe sunscreen 
  • Essential Oils 
  • Bamboo Toothbrush and plastic free Makeup 

  • Pack sustainable fashion brands (or items from second hand stores) 
  • Swimsuits
  • Laptop 
  • Book for reading 
  • Travel Documents 
  • Electronics (chargers, USB adapters, etc) 

You’d be surprised how little you really need when traveling 

As seasoned travelers, we’ve become pretty good at packing our bags. I don’t mean throwing things into your bag and closing the zips. I mean packing with purpose. One big mistake that we find so many travelers make in the early stages of their worldly explorations is overpacking. 

How many people have clothes stuffed into bags that never get used on a trip? So many! The same goes for shoes, scarfs, etc, etc. 


Some eco friendly toiletries we pack 


Here’s a quick packing tip that’s saved us space, and money (cutting down to just a carry-on bag). 

It’s a three-step process of elimination:

  1. Place the items that you want to take on your travels on your bed next to your bag 
  2. Start eliminating items until you’ve got only what you need 
  3. Walk out of the room, do something else, come back and look at the items again and get rid of more until you’re left with what you “really need” 

You’ll be surprised how little it is. 

Once you’ve eliminated everything down to what you really need, put it into your Pakt Bag, carry it on and enjoy not waiting in lines to find your checked baggage, not having to lug a suitcase up flights of stairs or lift it into the back of a taxi. 

In general, less stuff means less waste 

Living on the road has taught us a few things. One of the major lessons is that stuff is something you can do without. Travel is about making connections, absorbing experiences and really getting to feel alive. 


Aaron is one of The Dharma Trails co-founders. His background in marine eco-tourism and design has resulted in the online platform dedicated to eco-travel and sustainable lifestyle inspiration. He and his partner live in the Caribbean and strive to promote ocean protection through social media.