Easiest Sustainable Travel Tips

Easiest Sustainable Travel Tips

This page contains affiliate links to products and tours that I have used for my own travels, purchased & enjoyed. Clicking these links does not cost you anything, however doing so will support Blue Eyed Compass and allow the site to continue.  THANK YOU!

Ready for the top 12 EASIEST sustainable travel tips?

        We’ve all heard the term of sustainability, and we’ve all seen the images of the burning Amazon rainforests, plastic-filled oceans and abuse towards animal videos.

        The turning point in all of this comes from your acknowledgment that it exists to actively doing something about it.

        There is a sliding scale for sustainable travel, and I don’t expect anyone to ‘cold turkey’ change their lifestyle. So to start I’ve put together my easiest and most useful tips and tricks for you. These will help you on your path to making a difference in the world.

Top 12 EASIEST Sustainable Travel Tips & Tricks

(1) Research!

This is so so simple to do. You don’t need to research every small detail about the destination, but you can easily research:

  • Which hotels have sustainable policies
  • How to get from the airport to your lodging using public transportation
  • The best local eateries
  • If the destination isn’t vegetarian-friendly or readily acceptable of your preferred diet needs (so you know you need to pack some healthy snacks)

By doing research, you are ensuring that when you arrive you are prepared and not resorting to less sustainable methods. Because if you’re jetlagged, you’ll be more likely to go the lazier route, which trust me, is rarely a fun, or affordable option.

(2) Don’t Litter

I don’t think this needs a further explanation, other than don’t be that a**hole who lazily let’s go of their garbage when walking around. Feel free to go one step further and pick up garbage if you see it to bring to a waste bin.

(3) Be Prepared

Always carry with you a reusable water bottle & cloth bags with you. This way you won’t need to purchase plastic water bottles or use the plastic bags so many vendors use worldwide.

(4) Avoid purchasing or eating unique species of animals

For example: crocodile handbags, kangaroo steaks.

While it may sound cool, most of the time these ‘local delicacies’ are born out of tourism and aren’t actually foods that locals are eating. And you never know (1) what conditions the animals are raised in for consumption and/or (2) if the hunting of these creatures is leading to extinction.

(5) Eat Locally

While Subways and McDonald’s can be quite convenient for travelers, they are also major polluters. By eating locally, you’ll be enjoying food that is much fresher and have an authentic travel experience, all while helping the environment and the local economy.

Did you know that sustainable travel is more than carrying a reusable water bottle? Learn what sustainable travel is here]

(6) Purchase Locally

This can mean purchasing local groceries at farmers markets or souvenirs that are handmade by locals. By doing this you’re supporting the local economy and avoiding mass-produced, poorly managed exports that are bad for the environment.

(7) Take Public Transportation

Public transportation is great because as a traveler you can learn about the destination even more. It’s also a challenge that every traveler should experience. You can learn a lot about a place by its public transportation system. Bonus is that it saves you a ton of money. 

You can also WALK! Not only is this a stellar way to keep in shape while traveling, walking helps eliminate transportation carbon emissions. Plus you’ll see so much more of your destination than you would from a car.

(8) Ask Questions

A wonderful aspect of traveling is learning something new. Whether it be about the destinations history or a local custom, like how to order at a coffee shop. Being inquisitive shows that you are respecting the place you are visiting.

*Another great way you can ask questions is asking your hotel staff what their plastic use, water, and food waste policies are. Being a curious traveler at the very least plants the seeds of these issues, which can provoke change. I’ll often leave these questions in my end of stay review or surveys.

(9) Offest your Flights Carbon Emissions

For every plane, you board there are carbon emissions that coincide with your flight. You can cheaply and proactively offset your carbon emissions to reputable groups that use the funds to help the environment in other ways. You can check my favorite places to do this here.

(10) Lose the Weight

I don’t mean your body weight, you’re beautiful just the way you are 🙂 What I mean is pack less. Packing less lightens the load on airplanes and energy in taxis (if you take one) which leads to lower fuel usage. Plus you’ll save money on luggage fees and won’t need to strain yourself lugging around heavy suitcases.

 

(11) Connect with Locals through Experiences & Excursions

There are so many fun excursions you can do and what better way to do them than with a local who knows the hidden gems of your destination and can answer any of your questions. You’re also most likely helping support them by giving the money directly back to them. You find great ideas with Walks and AirBnb Experiences.

 

(12) Raise the Bar

Hold yourself to a higher standard and be the most respectable version of yourself when you travel. I say this as an American, but multiple times I have had people from other countries quietly ask me if all Americans are the same; using not-so-great words like pompous and arrogant… and if we all wear cowboy hats and eat cheeseburgers every day.

Our international image is not the best, unfortunately, but you can be the person who changes someone’s negative preformed ideas to positive remembrances based on the way you carry yourself and how you respect the place and people you are visiting.

 

You can find more easy to do sustainable travel tips and travel guides here OR subscribe below to receive a monthly newsletter with travel updates!

Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger & photographer, sharing real and honest information about travelling & how to do so sustainably

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What is Sustainable Travel

What is Sustainable Travel

This page contains affiliate links to products and tours that I have used for my own travels, purchased & enjoyed. Clicking these links does not cost you anything, however doing so will support Blue Eyed Compass and allow the site to continue.  THANK YOU!

        There is no better feeling than touching down in a new exotic location for a well-deserved vacation. I thrive off of that feeling of exploring a new place. And after many travel adventures that blissful feeling slowly fades away when considering the damaging mark, I may leave behind after all of my fun.

        This negativity doesn’t have to be the case though. Impactful, positive change is possible on an individual level, and it’s possible through sustainable travel.

Included in this post is:

  • The breakdown of popular environmental buzzwords
  • A description of what sustainable travel is
  • What sustainable travel is NOT
  • Why sustainable travel is important and
  • The benefits of sustainable travel

        There are a lot of buzzwords surrounding sustainable travel – climate change, environmentalism, green living – it can be difficult to understand what they all mean and how they play a part in our travels.

        So, what does sustainable travel mean?

        Well, it can mean many different things for many different people (sorry, you won’t find one singular clear answer here- but you will find a ton of easy to digest information)

I would like to start by thanking you for choosing to help make an even better and healthier planet. Even just by showing interest and reading this article is a wonderful start. Change doesn’t happen overnight, but if we make small adjustments and pursue personal growth then we can have an impact on an individual scale.

So, let’s get to it!

What is sustainable travel?

        As stated previously, sustainable travel has many names connotated around the subject. However, the basic premise of what sustainable travel means is to leave behind a positive impact, smaller energy footprint and influence progressive change before, during and after you travels in the environment, culture and location of your travels.

        Yowzahs, that’s a mouthful.

        And this mouthful is because sustainable travel doesn’t mean just one ‘thing’. It doesn’t fit into one definitive definition. It means something different to everyone. So I’ll do my best to break it down for you.

        We live during a time where many of the determining factors of our lives reside on a sliding scale; our sexuality, religion, political views, so it makes sense that our environmentalism and sustainable travels live on a sliding scale as well.

        Our focus for sustainable travel is on long term perseverance, avoiding harm, reducing our negative environmental impacts and utilizing replenishing resources.

UNWTO defines sustainable travel as “Tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities”

Terms you may recognize:

SUSTAINABLE

ECO-CONSCIOUS

ENVIRONMENTALISM

GREEN TRAVEL

Aren’t these terms all the same?

No!

        Collectively they are similar, but side by side they are different. The four terms you may see most often are:

  • Green Travel: green travel means focusing your travel efforts on ways to leave as minimal a carbon footprint as possible.

Example– walking instead of taking a taxi.

  • Responsible Travel: responsible travel means holding yourself and others accountable to respecting locals, destinations and the environment when traveling.

Example– not defacing historical landmarks by scratching your initials in.

  • Eco-Conscious Travel: eco-conscious travel means making economically conscious choices for the environment. It’s comparable to green travel.

Example– purchasing locally made souvenirs instead of something from a souvenir shop

  • Sustainable Travel: sustainable travel embodies all of the above terms and more while traveling in a way that doesn’t take away from the destination.

Consider sustainable travel as three passageways coming together:

  1. The Environmental Pillar: the Environmental pillar focuses on nature & wildlife we impact while traveling. It includes things such as our carbon footprint, water usage, waste (plastic and others) and respecting & maintaining natural habitats of wildlife.
  2. The Social Pillar: The Social pillar focuses on our impact to local people & their cultural communities. As travelers this means supporting locally owned businesses, NGOs and charities, and researching to make sure that wages are fair and work environments are safe.
  3. The Economic Pillar: The Economic pillar focuses on travelers spending money & supporting businesses during their trips for positive outcomes. By supporting locally run hotels, tours and restaurants we can uplift the local economy.

In short, sustainable travel is valuing mother nature, history, culture and respect above our own desires. It’s not just doing good, but also helping to educate others.

What sustainable travel is NOT:

        People tend to feel that sustainable travel means having to sacrifice parts of a vacation or their enjoyment. Or that it implies everyone should stay home and never travel. Neither of these are the case at all.

        Many destinations rely heavily on tourism cash flow. In fact, 1 in 12 jobs are based on tourism WORLDWIDE! And staying put at home only blocks personal growth and cultural understanding.

        Sustainable travel is not about limiting your vacation or trip to accommodate sustainable tactics, it’s about adding greater value. To you and those around you.

Many are quick to point fingers of blame at social media ‘influencers’ and blame them for overtourism (learn what Over Tourism means). And while some ‘influencers’ may need to absorb a lesson about respect and self-control, much of this issue is solely ignorance – ignorance means a lack of knowledge or understanding – they lack the know-how of not walking through unpaved areas, or climbing on roofs for that perfect shot.

Don’t be quick to place blame, instead be swift to help educate.

Unfortunately, there is a strong mindset that many feel, which I’ll call ‘just because I can/want to, I will’ (or I deserve to) 

  • Just because I’m able to flit from one destination to the next, means I will do so (at the expense of flight carbon emissions)
  • Just because I want to eat meat from the menu, I will (and not concern myself with it’s potential to endanger species and deforestation)
  • Just because I have the money to dish out, I will spend it wherever I feel is most convenient (instead of researching a more ethical option)

        Sustainable travel is not a poor man’s way of traveling, it can be whatever you want it to be.

        I’ve enjoyed traveling more luxuriously in nice resort hotels, and I sought out ones that focus on sustainable lodging tactics.

        I’ve treated myself to meals out at fancy local restaurants, and I researched ones that cook with their own fresh and local ingredients.

You don’t need to choose between one or the other.

Why is sustainable travel important?

        Or what I like to say, why should you give a crap about it?

        Sustainable travel is important because planet earth only has a finite amount of resources. As a species, humans have become accustomed to convenience. And this convenience has led to microplastics being found at the depths of our oceans, deforestation of one of a kind ecological systems (like the Amazon), air pollution and more.

        We’ll be leaving our homes in an unrecognizable planet for future generations

Find more of my best sustainable travel resources here!

        Does tourism change a place? Yes. But that is inevitable. If a location is not a sought-out destination yet, it most likely will be at some point no matter what sustainable travel choices we make. It’s up to us to ‘vote’ on how those destinations are built up with our spending habits.

        With an uptick in visitors, comes with it new hotels, tour buses, restaurants catered to the tourists, and much more.

        Most travels are not sustainable; airfare releases carbon emissions, all-inclusive resorts are built on natural habitats, money is the main focus not the longevity of the destination.

        Yet, if we choose to only stay at local residences (if you haven’t checked our AirBnb yet, here’s a discount code for you!), or hotels that focus on sustainable efforts, and only eat at local establishments, then we are voting in support of those ethical practices.

        Like I stated earlier, tourism can provide an annual living for many. So while it can bring with it a lot of destruction, tourism also has the capability to bring a lot of wonderful things as well.

Become a stellar sustainable traveler by following these TOP 12 Sustainable Travel Tips!

What are the benefits of sustainable tourism?

        What I love most about sustainable travel is that you can see the ripple effect of ethically spending your money.  Plus there are so many fun, plastic-free, gadgets that you get to tote around!

        One of the best benefits of sustainable travel is the understanding that you ARE making a difference. Your small steps to travel improvements are seen by those around you, even if you don’t notice it.

        We are gifted with the opportunity and options to protect the planet. So instead of acting without concern, let’s travel with purpose and enjoyment.

Heading for a LONG flight soon?

Check out these carry on items to ensure a comfortable flight

Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger & photographer, sharing real and honest information about travelling & how to do so sustainably

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The Best Carry On Essentials

The Best Carry On Essentials

This page contains affiliate links to products and tours that I have used for my own travels, purchased & enjoyed. Clicking these links does not cost you anything, however doing so will support Blue Eyed Compass and allow the site to continue.  THANK YOU!

        Mastering air travel is one of the best feelings a traveler can have, and can be a difficult task even for the most avid traveler. We want to feel comfortable (especially if on a long haul flight) and also not feel weighed down by bringing too much and feeling squished in our seats.

        After years of trial and error I have finally built out a standard Carry On Essentials pack and checklist. Successfully packing just the correct amount and quality of items into my carry on purse or backpack, while also maintaining a sustainably positive impact.

        My carry on essentials include a mix of ‘things to do’ and comfort items – this way there is a provided distraction from the uncomfortable airplane seat and a feeling of ease knowing I’m treating my body with my health in mind. Every item on here has been tested by me or a close friend whose opinion I trust, and many are good for your health and the environment.

Carry On Essentials

For the Sustainable & Savvy Traveler

This page contains affiliate links to products and tours that I have used for my own travels, purchased & enjoyed. Clicking these links does not cost you anything, however doing so will support Blue Eyed Compass and allow the site to continue.  THANK YOU!

Toiletries

These toiletries are a wonderful combination of basic needs, a well maintained beauty routine, and a spa-like experience – because you might as well make your flight as conveniently fun as possible… without having to hire a massage therapist as your seat neighbor.

Chapstick / Lip Balm

Airplanes are notorious for making our skin dry. Think about it – hundreds of bodies are squished into a tiny space and the air is recycled over and over again to keep it breathable for those on board. A basic need for your toiletries bag should be chapstick.

Not all lip balms are created equal, and while I am still searching for THE perfect combination of quality versus sustainable (sustainable ownership and ingredients), I would suggest trying these out.

Facial Cleanser Wipes

It’s important to not wear makeup while flying. Having a fresh face prevents clogged pores, so start fresh when you board with these compostable face cleansing wipes by the brand Yes To..

SPF moisturizer

Sun exposure can be much greater when flying, so it’s important to keep your skin protected and prevent aging. Many make ups have some spf in them, but I always think it’s best to have a clean face, aka NO MAKEUP, when flying. I really enjoy Mario Badescu’s spf moisturizer, as it protects my skin, while moisturizing and doesn’t clog my pores (my skin leans towards an oily complexion). Plus! It comes in a travel compliant size.

*I have reached out to Mario Badescu about using less plastic for their containers. You can help sway opinions too as a valued customer to brands like this. Email them here!

Facial Spray

It’s good to refresh the moisture your face receives during a flight, so I often use one of these facial sprays from Mario Badescu every hour or two

Aloe, Cucumber and Rosewater Facial Sprayhttps://www.mariobadescu.com/product/facial-spray-trio-travel-edition

Jade Roller

When jade rollers first came out there was a mad rush for everyone to purchase one. While the trendy rush has died down, the value in using one hasn’t diminished. Using a jade roller while flying is great for allowing skincare products to absorb into your skin and it helps to eliminate puffiness (when your skin dries, your body tries to retain water, so it bloats). It’s like giving yourself a mini spa treatment and massage.

Lotion in Resuable containers

If your face needs moisture, so do your hands. Call me crazy, but I hate having dry, cracked hands, so I always try to bring lotion with me for flights. While there are small plastic lotions you can buy, I would suggest packing your preferred brand in a reusable container, like these silicone ones!

Lavender Oil

If you have anxiety or stress while traveling and/or difficulty trying to get some rest while flying, I would highly suggest utilizing the lulling power of lavender oil. Not only does lavender calm the nerves, it is a proven sleep aid (I use it at home regularly to calm down before sleeping).

*DoTerra is a stellar essential oil brand that Dr. Mariza Snyder recommends. Dr. Mariza wrote the book The Essential Oils Hormone Solution and she also recommends this brand for their sustainable efforts and quality of oils.

Deodorant

If you think you won’t smell after a flight you need to check yo’self. I’ll give you a statistic of which I’ve done my own personal research – 100% of the people flying on a plane will smell of body odor upon their exit of said plane. So packing deodorant in your carry on bag is a necessity.

And while we’ve all become accustomed to the major brands scents, many of those name brands are actually leading causes to breast cancer, so using a natural, aluminum free brand is vitally important.

I’m in the process of testing out multiple different brands, but so far have LOVED Lavanilla’s (especially their passion fruit scent, so unique!) It lasts for hours, unlike a few of the other all natural brands, and is conveniently sized for ease of traveling.

Here are a few other brands you could try out that I’ve heard great things about:

Corpus Third Rose – vegan, natural, no coconut (some people are allergic to coconut based deodorants) if you use this link you’ll receive $5 off your first order!

-Tarte’s Clean Queen Natural Deodorant

-Ursa Major Hoppin’ Fresh Deodorant

Comb

Keep your mane looking classy and comb it out using one of these shower combs. Just be sure not to toss your loose hairs on your neighbor.

Toothbrush & Paste

While mints are great for in between meals, if you’re on an overnight flight its a good idea to keep up your normal routine as much as possible, such as brushing your teeth. I really like the sustainable brand, Dirt Don’t Hurt Me, that also happens to be female owned AND in San Diego (hitting all of my happy points for supporting local businesses)

 

A totally compostable toothbrush (minus the bristles) and the tooth powder lasts forever and no TSA issue with liquids.

Blossom Cup

This one is for the ladies. Even if I’m not on my period, I always pack my blossom cup with me … because you never know. Just like you would pack extra tampons, but this is totally sustainable! Blossom Cups are awesome and while it takes a hot second to adjust they are way better for convenience overall.

Mini perfume

Step off your flight feeling fresh & frisky with some light perfume that you can spray as your leave the plane.

Hair clips

I use a basic brand of hair clips from Sally Beauty Salon, which I cannot find online. I love the claw clips I use, and as someone with thick, long hair, these hold my hair back no problem.

Hand sanitizer

Did you know your tray table is the most bacteria filled space in your airplane area?

Use hand sanitizer to prevent picking up anything icky from your seat.

Find more of my best sustainable travel resources here!

Electronics

Laptop (& Charger of course)

This is the exact Asus laptop that I own and I love it. I sought out a laptop that was light weight (for travel), could handle a lot of programs running at once, and would have excellent screen quality for photo editing. This laptop met all of those needs. And Yes, I ordered it on Amazon so I didn’t want a store clerk to try to sell me what he needs to get off of the sales floor.

For each flight, I try to have a course downloaded, some work to complete or photos to edit. So, find what would work best for you without having internet access.

Camera Gear & Cushioned Case

I always pack my camera gear with me as a part of my carry on because I don’t trust airline employees not to toss my bag to destruction (witnessing someone pull a bag so hard on a baggage conveyor until the bag tore into pieces was convincing enough).

I use the Sony a7 series mirrorless camera and I love it! I love the Sony brand for multiple reasons and will eventually put together a blog post with all of the reasons why, but just know that it’s great for both beginners and advanced photographers.

I also always pack my camera and lenses in this stellar shockproof padded case. Not only does it make it easy for me to see what I’m grabbing, but I feel comfortable knowing that it’s padded for protection.

Headphones

 Headphones are best chosen based on your personal preference – if you want the long string, in your ear style, or over the ear style like these Bose headphones. I’ve always enjoyed the over the ear type of headphones, and am in love with this cute color. Plus they last for awhile as opposed to those string ones (which are also easily lost).

Extra Charger/s

An extra charger should be a part of your regularly packed items regardless, but having one in your carry on is important if you need your phone fully charged as soon as you deplane.

The Mophie external charger is great for a smaller charger and fits in most purses, while this solar powered charger is perfect for many fitting inside of larger bags and is sustainable (solar!).

Travel Adapter

I’ve had my fair share of travel adapters, and I love the compactness & ease of use with the Castris Universal Adapter.

Plus you can use this to charge your laptop in a car with a cigarette lighter charger if you have a USB cord.

Entertainment

Movies & TV Shows downloaded

This isn’t exactly an item so much as something that is really smart to have saved onto your laptop

Sudoku or Puzzle Book

Having a small puzzle book is great for those moments where you don’t have the mindset to sit and read and can’t use your laptop. I love sudoku and this travel sized sudoku book.

Lightweight Book

Keeping our travel items on the lighter side, aim for smaller paperback books

Interested in learning more about Sustainable travel? Check these out

Comfort

Change of COMFORTABLE Clothes

I don’t understand how anyone can dress in professional attire when flying. At the very least you can dress nice for the airport and change on the plane.

Most likely your outfit will not help you be upgraded to first or business class. Those upgrades are reserved for those status holding flyers.

I have officially found the most comfortable outfit to wear on a plane – this cotton jumpsuit. I cannot recommend this jumpsuit enough. You can style it to look cute, and feel like you’re wearing pajamas. I have it in two colors and have worn it on my past few flights, and will probably continue to do so.

Foot Rest

This is THE best travel related purchase I have ever made (next to this jumpsuit), especially for overnight travel. If you have short legs and a red eye flight having a foot rest comes in clutch. It allows more comfortable rest and prevents lower back pain.

Extra Socks

Just as your skin bloats to retain moisture while flying, your legs will bloat from lack of movement and the air pressure, so compression socks are key for preventing blood clots and avoiding swollen ankles when you land.

Even if your flight isn’t too long, I would suggest packing a pair of warm socks for the flight. For every flight I take I always put on wool socks to keep my tootsies nice and warm. And please don’t be that person that puts their barefoot on the chair in front of them! Just wear socks.

Slide on Sandals

If you’re like me, and you stand up every 2-3 hours on a flight to move around. If you wear sneakers or boots you’ll have to gear back up each time you stand up. Which is why I love these sandals – you can easily slide into them. Plus they’re cute and comfortable for everyday wear.

*These aren’t the exact sandals that I have, as they don’t carry them anymore but I like this Dolce Vita brand. There sandals have always been comfortable for me.

Extra Undies

 Do I need to explain this? Change your undies after a few hours. Hello hygiene.

Eye Mask & Earplugs

These bad boys are always in my carry on bag because you never know if you’ll need them at your destination. What’s great about this eye mask is that it’s contoured so they won’t squish your eyes or lashes, and they come with ear plugs.

Travel Pillow

I’ve had my travel pillow for years & can’t find it online, but if I needed to purchase a new one, I’d go with this- its versatility means you could use it as a mini body pillow for when you arrive

Comfy Scarf

Airplanes range in cabin temperature, so it’s best to prepare for this by wearing a cozy scarf. If it’s large enough it can function as a blanket or bunched up pillow. And if it’s too hot on the plane, you can easily store it in the overhead bins.

Reusable & Collapsible Mug

I love these collapsible silicone to go mugs. They’re small enough to fit in my purse and are super easy to clean, so when I finish my drink I can quickly rinse it out and fold it back up.

Reusable Water Bottle

Most airports now have water bottle filling stations, so pack an empty reusable water bottle and fill it up once you’re through security. Not only will this help you from spending money for water bottles at the airport, but you’ll also be participating in the number one way to reduce single use plastics!

(Because you won’t need to use the dang plastic cups airlines give out for their beverages. I’ve never had an issue asking a flight attendant to fill up my water bottle when I ask during those beverage carts run throughs.)

The bottle linked is a pricier water bottle and if you are prone to losing things maybe purchase yourself a less expensive one. However, I’ve had friends use this water bottle brand and love it. Larq uses UV light to clean any water inside of it of 99.9% of any chemicals or bacteria.

Cup Holder

If you’re like my boo, you have a lot going on at your tray table – laptop, headphones, books, hot coffee, etc. These cup holders are fantastic for creating a more convenient space without the potential of spilling hot coffee on all over your items. Since we’ve purchased ours they’ve upgraded the item to be able to support small devices for screen watching too!

Reusable Tote Bag

Pack one to two cloth bags into your carry on bag. You never know when you might make a purchase while wandering through airports. I almost always use these for food that I pack with me or buy at airports instead of using a dreaded plastic bag.

Snacks & Meals

If you’re looking to save yourself some money while traveling then pack some of your own food. Airports are known for having pricier than average food options.

And while sometimes it’s unavoidable to purchase food at an airport (ever experienced 30 hours of flying with layovers at random times of the day? Sometimes to survive those crazy travel days you need to treat yo’self to some yummy goodies.)

Here are a few items I typically pack for myself and for Marcus:

  • vegan protein bars; Lara bars
  • fruit (if not international)
  • pb&j sandwich
  • subway sandwich
  • dried fruit
  • pretzels
  • peanut butter stuffed dates covered in dark chocolate (homemade)
  • dark chocolate

Medical

I have a small tupperware container where I pack different medicines for my trips. Keeping these with you on the flight is convenient in case you suddenly feel a migraine coming on or the start of a cold.

  • ibuprofen; I’m not a huge fan of taking medications (unless I’m crazy sick) but you never know when a bug will perk up or a migraine may hit)
  • dayquil
  • melatonin; A great sleep aid for those who can benefit from it. I personally can’t use Melatonin as it gives me vivid dreams that I cannot wake up from.
  • traveler’s probiotic; since I can’t bring kombucha on planes, I pack a traveler’s probiotic. I pack one to take every other day during my travels. And bonus points because this brand comes in a glass bottle!
  • Visine
  • band aids

Misc & Good to Have’s

  • Reusable Tote Bag
  • Pen & pencil
  • Business cards – You never know who you’ll meet while traveling
  • Passport – Duh… haha
  • Screenshots of your reservation info for flights, transport & hotel/lodging

Breath Mints

Find a mint brand that you like and keep some in your toiletries bag. Your seat neighbor will be happy they aren’t sitting next to anyone too smelly (more anti-stank items are below haha)

Blue Light Glasses

These are the blue light prevention glasses that I have and I love them. I’ll be honest, I initially purchased three different pairs from different companies so that I could see how they looked on my face, and these were my absolute favorite.

Bonus- Amber Eyewear comes with a nice sturdy case and cleaning pad for their glasses. 

Bonus #2- If you have an HSA, these glasses can be reimbursed through it!

*They had some plastic packaging that I emailed their customer support about. Their response was quick and I was told they are currently working on transitioning from plastic. If you purchase glasses from them and see they use plastic, email them. The more valued customers who raise their voice on sustainable efforts will make an impact on their corporate decision making.

This page contains affiliate links to products and tours that I have used for my own travels, purchased & enjoyed. Clicking these links does not cost you anything, however doing so will support Blue Eyed Compass and allow the site to continue.  THANK YOU!

Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger & photographer, sharing real and honest information about travelling & how to do so sustainably

Follow Along!

Start your own blog today!

Set up your blog today by using my discount code for Bluehost – Click the image to get started.

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Eight Reasons why you NEED to visit Interlaken

Eight Reasons why you NEED to visit Interlaken

Many travelers tend to stay put in the major metropolitan cities of Western Europe, which do indeed offer many breathtaking sites. Yet if you step outside of those major cities you will often be greeted with charming towns. Just a short two hour train ride outside of the major cities of Switzerland lies just one of those places, called Interlaken. Interlaken is a namesake town in Switzerland and for good reason, with the best part being that it hasn’t become over crowded with the buzzword term we call ‘over tourism’.

Here are EIGHT reasons

why you need to visit Interlaken:

(1) The Adventure

Interlaken is one a world favorite adventure capital! Many visitors flock here for extreme sports such as skiing, snowboarding, skydiving, canyoning and more! With a mix of mighty Swiss Alps, low lying lakes and everything in between, it’s no wonder this area sees it’s fair share of adventure seekers and dare devils.

(2) The Hiking

Interlaken’s centrally located setting between the Swiss Alps and lakes makes it a perfect setting for beautiful hikes. We loved how the hikes ranged in length and difficulty so that anyone visiting Interlaken would feel comfortable getting outside and hiking.

(3) The Natural Beauty

There is a reason the Swiss Alps are internationally known. The natural and pristine beauty that accompanies the reputation of the Alps will leave anyone speechless. And Interlaken has a wonderful combination of lakes and mountains, with idyllic swiss homes nestled in between.

(4) To feel on top of the world

We’ve been mentioning seeing the Swiss Alps in Interlaken, now imagine being able to go up to the top of them and see below. There are cogwheel trains that take visitors to the top of the Swiss Alps, such as Jungfrau and Neiderhorn. And once at the top you’ll feel as if you’re on top of the world looking down on the valleys and surrounding mountains.

(5) The Castles & Legends

There are a handful of beautiful castles near Interlaken. Few can compare to the breathtaking Oberhofen Castle curled up on the coast of Lake Thun, except for maybe the Thun Castle, which is settled high up in the town of Thun, Switzerland. Both are filled with lots of history and beautiful views. There is also the legendary St. Beatus caves in between these two castles. Visitors can visit inside the caves where legend tells of a saint defeating a dragon who once inhabited the area.

(6) The Central Location

The convenient location of Interlaken is stellar for those who want the convenience of being near a city without the hustle and bustle. Interlaken and its surrounding lakes are close to the country’s capital, Bern, only a two hour train ride from international hub, Zurich and the up and coming city of Basel. You would be hard pressed not to find time to visit Interlaken if you are staying in one of these nearby cities.

(7) Perfect for Day Trips

While Interlaken is conveniently close to the major cities listed above, it is also great for exploring even further into Swiss country. There are hotels, AirBnbs and more in the surrounding areas of Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen, and Thun.

(8) It’s self contradicting

Interlaken’s activities are known for having variety and contrast – casual hikes along Lake Thun to skydiving thousands of feet above. Yet, it’s landscape is also vastly unique from one end to the next. With bright turquoise water lakes to white snow-capped mountains, and vibrant green forests in between. And of course it’s colorful small towns with picturesque Swiss chalet homes and storefronts.

People from all over the world flock to the Interlaken area to soak in its beautiful scenery and marvel at all of the possibilities for outdoor adventure. If you’re considering a trip to this area of Switzerland check out this ultimate guide to Interlaken.

Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger & photographer, sharing real and honest information about travelling & how to do so sustainably

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Best Tips to Beat Jet Lag

Best Tips to Beat Jet Lag

For when you first arrive to your destination AND when you return home from a trip

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Jet-lag can be a serious challenge, even for avid travellers. To my fellow Californians who to fly to Europe – west to east – we know that flying is much more difficult going east than it is west. This is because flying east shortens the day (or you lose time, depending on how you look at it). I’ve personally done this type of west coast to Europe flight a handful of times and have felt, first hand, the effects of jet lag (even after I denied it to be a real problem for years).

Your body wants to eat when you tell it to sleep, and it wants to sleep when you tell it to walk around the city for 10 miles. Your time is precious when you’re traveling as you most likely have a limited number of days at your destination and are using well-deserved vacation days. So, there is no time to be wasted on coddling your jet lag. Keep reading to learn what jet lag is and why we get it, hilarious stories of others trying to power through jet lag and my best tips for how to beat jet lag.

What is Jetlag & why do we ‘get’ jet lag

        Understanding what jet lag is can help us better deal with the problem. As airplanes are a fairly recent modern form of transportation, so is jet lag a newer modern term in our vocabulary. Our bodies are built on a 24 hour time clock and when we throw that off, our bodies are trying to re-correct an error in their natural clock. This is the basic explanation for jet lag.

        Jet lag is considered to be a chronobiological problem. Chronobiology examines the cyclic phenomena in living beings and their ability to adapt to solar and lunar rhythms. And medically, jet lag is called Desynchronosis, which means that your circadian rhythm, or body clock is out of sync. We get jet lag because your body thinks, and therefore feels it’s in one time zone, but it’s physically somewhere else. For example, in May 2019 my body felt like it should be asleep while I was walking around Budapest, Hungary at 11:00am, because it was 2:00am where I’m from, in San Diego.

        Your body needs to adjust from the time zone it was in, and catch up to the time zone you’ve traveled to. It’s important to ensure your body has a smooth adjustment and transition from any jet lag symptoms as our bodies and brains use their natural body clock to communicate to ourselves how the organs should act/react and is based on light exposure.

        How long does it take to recover from jet lag? There is no one answer unfortunately. So, it’s best to have as many tools in your tool belt to help combat it. Keep in mind, our bodies tend to have an easier time adjusting when we fly west, versus when we fly east. Because we can adjust to longer days (flying west), as opposed to shorter days (flying east). Here’s an example: when flying from San Diego to Philadelphia, a 6 hour flight – your flight departs San Diego at 7am, and your land in Philadelphia at 4pm, so a 6 hour flight, now feels like a 9 hour day. Whereas when flying from Philadelphia at 7am to San Diego you would land at 10am.

        People often ask how long does it take to get over jet lag, and it depends entirely on how far you travel and the times of your travel. You can use this program to help you understand the length of time it will take to adjust to a new time zone based on your personal trip details.

Symptoms & Effects of Jet Lag

  • Groggy
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Weight gain
  • Change in body temperature
  • Hormone regulation issues
  • Increase in blood pressure (as can flying in general)
  • Change in appetite
  • Indigestion
  • Lack of concentration and
  • Impaired decision making skills

Everyone is affected by jet lag differently. Any number of the symptoms and effects listed above can cause health issues and none of which I personally enjoy dealing with while traveling as it takes quite a bit of time away from enjoying my trip. In fact, here are a few ways that other travelers have made some (pretty funny) mistakes and mishaps while experiencing jet lag!

    The things people have done while feeling jetlagged

    The stupid, the funny and the embarrasing

    “After traveling for over 20 hours, I wanted to wash my hair. Instead I poured my shampoo from the bottle over the drain, only to be confused why it wasn’t in my hair”

    -Laura (me!), Blue Eyed Compass

    “When I flew back from China last October I was so jetlagged that I went all the way into work only to find that the office was closed…it was Sunday. I thought the commute was kind of quiet!”

    -Hamish, My Travel Fix

    “On the balcony of my hotel I proceeded to take a single drag of my cigarette and drop it inside my coffee.. I stared aghast at my still-hot cigaccino for a full minute before calling it quits and going to bed.”

    -Bradley, Winged Writer

    “The most expensive goof I’ve made whilst jet lagged is forgetting to check out of a hotel in Bali. I was so foggy headed I was convinced we had an extra day so returning from exploring and finding our room key didn’t work I was forced to have a pretty embarrassing conversation with hotel staff and pay top rates for our extra night!”

    -Karen, Are We There Yet Kids

    “After I landed in China, I woke up a half an hour before I had to leave for a tour, and thought I was awake. The next thing I knew, the tour was calling my room to see where I was. I guess I just collapsed back asleep.”

    -Kimberly, Panali Travels

    “The night before a cruise we left our passports with hotel reception in Venice Italy.  We only realized we didn’t have them at the cruise terminal, coughed up all of our euros for a water taxi to the hotel and then ran through the city back to board the ship just in time!”

    -Gwen, A Broad Reach Travel

    “After 24 hours of travel, I went outside in below freezing weather with just a t-shirt, to the shock of the locals, and claimed I was plenty warm…that didn’t last long.”

    -Chelsey, The Ninja Gypsy

    “After a restless night in the Paraguay airport, I agreed to go to a Radiohead concert in Lima. With barely two hours of sleep I made it to the concert. I fell asleep about 10 minutes into the concert and was woken up when it was time to leave. I’ve still only ever heard Radiohead’s song Creep.”

    -Katie, Just Chasing Sunsets

    “We spent 3 weeks in an RV in California, filling it with petrol every three days. On returning to the UK &  work the next day, I filled my beautiful new BMW with $100 of petrol… except, the car was diesel!  Four hours later, orange cones around my car & totally humiliated, I was towed away to be drained and re-filled, which cost another $200….pretty expensive jet lag!”

    -Izzy, The Gap Decaders

    The Best Tips to beat jet lag

    These are my personal best tips for how to combat jet lag. It is NOT a list of doctor recommended remedies. What works for me may not work for you, but I’m sure a handful of these just might do the trick for you.

    • The best way to beat jet lag is to quickly and effectively provide your body and mind the information it needs to know about its new time zone by providing proper sunlight, sleep and nutrition at the right time/s. Keep reading for how to do this:

    Before your flight:

    • Strategize your flights

    Choose your flights so that you arrive in the early evening. That way you don’t have to force yourself to stay awake all day. Of course this is dependent on where you are to and form.

    • Be organized and calm

    Feeling stressed prior to your trip will leave you with poor sleep before you take off, so your starting point for a trip will immediately be poorly off center. Aim to prepare for your trip a few days before your take off, so that your last 48 hours at home or at your destination are enjoyable and stress free.

    I’ll often start bringing out my travel items and outfit ideas a week before I depart, so that I know in advance if I need to purchase something and/or do laundry and not needing to do so the day of my departure.

    • Get a great night’s sleep the night before you fly. Even if your flight is an overnight trip

    If someone suggested you stay up or sleep less before you take a red eye is providing poor advice. It is physically impossible for your body and mind to sleep as well when you are flying, so boarding a plane already sleep deprived will not help you sleep better when you take off. EVEN if you can sleep easily on a plane. Your brain will not turn off completely and your organs react differently at 35,000 feet.

    Unless you’re flying business class with lay-flat seats, don’t start your trip feeling sleep deprived. Stick to your regular nighttime routine, or better yet, head to bed even earlier the night before a flight and gift your body an extra hour of rest.

    During your flight:

    • Acclimate to your landing time zone as soon as you board the plane

    Meaning, if you’re flying from New York to Poland, when you sit down in your seat tell yourself it is Poland time and act accordingly. Another example is from a personal flight – I was flying from San Diego to Paris. We departed San Diego airport around 7:00pm, and were slated to arrive in Paris around 2:00pm. So, I needed to tell myself that it was bedtime and rest/sleep as much as possible, and then wake up and do something active an hour before landing to pretend I had my morning routine.

    Do NOT state your previous time zone to yourself or anyone else around you. Keep your mind focused on the time zone you are aiming for.

    Drinks lots of water and avoid booze & caffeine. Both are stimulants and prevent proper sleep

    If you’re trying to sleep on the planebring items that will help you do so and stick to your nighttime routine. In fact, pack supplies so that you can mimic your evening routine in the plane bathroom. I typically pack the following with me and do my routine in the bathroom, including changing into pajamas

    • Pajamas & fresh undies (don’t judge, no one should be wearing the same skivvies for long haul travel haha)
    • Tooth brush & toothpaste
    • Face wipes or wash
    • Nighttime serum
    • Moisturizer & face spray
    • Jade roller

    I’ll also pack…

    • An eye mask
    • Ear plugs
    • Travel pillow
    • Thick scarf or sweater
    • Fuzzy socks
    • A strapable foot rest

    If you’re trying to stay awake on the plane :

    • Stand up and stretch every two hours. Walk to the bathroom area (where there is more room) and stretch out your body from top to bottom.
    • Drinks lots of water and avoid booze & caffeine. Both are stimulants and prevent proper sleep
    • Bring something to do besides watching movies – I almost always pack a small book, sudoku puzzles and a bit of work with me that excites me (like editing photos or watching educational courses)
    • *Note- in order to easily stand up every two hours aim to book your seat in an aisle seat. If that’s not possible, I will politely notify my seat mates that I have to stand up every few hours (I have prior injuries where I do physically need to do this). Gentle courtesy to your seat mates can go a long way.
    • Pack your own meal/s and snacks. Doing so will help you avoid the time settings the airline sets for the meals and maintain your own personal timeline depending on the time zone you are acclimating to. You’ll also avoid highly salted and processed foods, but that’s a discussion for another time.

    (Personally, I get a high from packing stellar food and snacks for my flights, especially because it gives me something to look forward to.)

    Your first day back home (or at your destination)

    • Workout!

    Your body may demand sleep, but stay strong and follow through the time zone with some sort of physical activity. Even if it’s just a simple brisk walk followed with some yoga stretches. This will help tire your mind and body for a better nights sleep, and provide endorphins to help heal your body from traveling

      • NO Naps

      I know crazy, because naps are amazing. But avoid them at all costs.

        • Sleep

          How counterintuitive of me to list these next to each other, but it really depends on when you land and how sleep deprived you may be. Make sure you time your first nights sleep accordingly. For example, I flew/traveled for 33 hours and landed in San Diego at 2:00pm in the afternoon after two weeks of feeling sleep deprived. So, I scheduled my bedtime for 7:30pm (I’m typically in bed around 9pm, with lights out by 9:45/10pm, so 7:30pm isn’t that much earlier)

          *If you think you’ll have trouble falling asleep you can always try a light dose of Melatonin – a natural hormone that tells your body when it’s time to sleep. Personally, I’m not a big fan of melatonin (it has led me to have very vivid dreams that I can’t wake up from), but it’s much more natural than a Tylenol PM and I know others who swear by it. PLEASE check the MG dosage as many over-the-counter melatonin pills have a much higher dosage per pill than is necessary. We only need 0.5mg per dose, many bottles boast a 5-15mg dose.

          • Prepare your bedroom

            Tying into how to have a great night’s sleep when jet lagged, you want to make your room isas dark as possible – close any blinds, face screens away from you and turn your thermostat down. You can also try this- take a warm/hot shower and step out into a cool room.

            Adjusting light and temperature will help manipulate your body’s natural sleep clock

            • Avoid blue light

              Adjust your phone to night shift mode (apple) or use the twilight app (android), or purchase blue light blocking glasses

              • Unpack right away

                Get your routine back into action and avoid any lingering to-do items by unpacking as soon as you get home

                • Soak up some sun

                  As I mentioned under the sleeping tips, light and temperature will affect your mind’s capability to rest. So, if you need to stay awake, be sure to take a walk outside. And of course, put on healthy sunscreen too

                  • Stretch

                    Stretching will alleviate those post-flight aches & pains from sitting upright for so long

                    • Shower & Pamper yourself

                      As a female, I find that if I shave my legs, do a nice face and eye mask (maybe even treat myself to a massage) I feel uber refreshed and recharged for the next day. It’s like hitting a reset button!

                      • Avoid heavy meals

                        • Don’t Succumb

                          Don’t succumb to the fact that you’re going to be jet lagged regardless of what you do. Your mind is a very powerful thing, and negative talk will absolutely reflect how your body reacts. If you put your mindset towards feeling jet lagged it was naturally occur. If you land in the morning and immediately take a nap, then your body’s clock will be off for far longer than you’ll want it to be, and you’ll have difficulty getting back on track.

                          Instead, create an easy to follow plan and tell yourself how great you’ll feel when you follow through!

                          How are you feeling?

                          Jet lag isn’t permanent, but it can make you feel like time is moving in slow motion, and can really damper your epic travel adventures. Being prepared! By utilizing the jet lag tips above you should be able to help prevent your jet lag from feeling worse or hopefully prevent it all together!

                          Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

                          Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger & photographer, sharing real and honest information about travelling & how to do so sustainably

                          Follow Along!

                          Start your own blog today!

                          Set up your blog today by using my discount code for Bluehost – Click the image to get started.

                          Get $15 OFF your AirBnb!

                          Follow Along