When you’re trotting the globe, show her some love! Being mindful about the products you buy and your habits while abroad can have a big impact on fragile ecosystems. See our tips for helping to reduce your carbon footprint! While these are geared toward travel, most can also be applied to daily life as well.
Shampoo/Soap: Parabens are a common antimicrobial ingredient in shampoos, conditioners, deodorants, and makeup; they have also been shown to disrupt hormone functions in living creatures. What you choose to wash with can have a very real impact on the environment. It is getting easier and easier to go paraben-free, with many big brands such as Dove, Aussie, and Pantene offering lines sans parabens.
Staff Pick: “Dr. Bronners is my go-to because you can use it for everything–shampoo, soap, even laundry. No animal testing, and US-made.” — Rudy B; GLA Regional Director of Programs in South and Central America
Sunscreen: Marine ecosystems are some of the most delicate on the planet. Hawaii has banned sunscreens containing oxybenzone, which is known to cause bleaching, DNA damage and death in coral when they’re washed off beachgoers. Before you buy, take a look at the ingredients–the reefs in the Galapagos, Fiji, and Costa Rica will thank you!
Staff Pick: “Bare Republic sunscreen! Super good quality, made in San Diego, safe for reefs, AND easy to find.” — Carly S; GLA Director of Program Operations
Insect Repellent: The bug repellent ingredient DEET is a surefire way to deter pesky mosquitoes and other creepy crawlies from making you into lunch; however, it is also toxic to fish, birds, and aquatic life. If you do want to go the DEET route, opt for a cream vs. a spray, which will help keep the bug-zapping chemicals on your body and not in the air.
Staff Pick: “Badger bug repellent doesn’t feel greasy, smells nice, and actually works. It’s also cruelty free AND VEGAN!” — Heather H; GLA Travel Coordinator (Our local partner Travis, Costa Rica: Protecting the Pacific™ is also a huge fan!)
Bars vs Bottles
Swap those tiny 3 oz bottles of shampoo and conditioner that almost immediately wind up in the trash for packaging-free bar versions! Bringing bar soap, shampoo and yes, even conditioner bars is a great way to avoid the plastic and bulky bottles that come with traditional products. Bars weigh less, eliminate the risk of bottles exploding in your luggage, and tend to go further than the liquid variety.
Staff Picks: “Lush has a great shampoo bar— it lasts super long and smells amazing.” — Rachel B; GLA Travel Coordinator
Reusable vs Disposable
Carry-on Liquids Bags: When you’re loading up your 3.5 oz or less liquids into a clear half-gallon ziplock, opt for a sturdier clear waterproof option. (The cute sun bag in the pic above is TSA approved!)
Refillable Water Bottles: Swap one-use water bottles for a refillable choice. (It’s actually required for all GLA programs that students and staff bring two refillable vessels!) From bags to temperature-regulating Hydroflasks to expanding plastic-free bottles to the classic Nalgene, there’s something for everyone.
“Platypus water bags: I freaking love these things, so packable! So durable!” — Carly S; GLA Director of Program Operations
“I love Klean Kanteen. They’re a Certified B corp, a small business, and there are cool designs options that support local foundations. They’re a little pricier but last years and years.” — Heather H; GLA Travel Coordinator
Be A Mindful Guest
Many of GLA’s Home Bases are eco-lodges, which means that they are designed to have the least possible impact on the natural environment in which they are located. Home Base in the Amazon is an eco-lodge situated deep within a private conservation area and constructed from traditional materials and inspired by traditional Amazon design.
To do your part, aim for taking shorter showers, dishing up only the amount of food that you plan to eat, and limiting AC and electricity use (where available).
“To save water, turn the water off between shower activities–for example, while soaping up your hair–and back on again just to rinse.” — Jenica P; GLA Marketing Project Specialist
“I try to avoid buying souvenirs that are made of shells, fur, or other animal parts. You never know how they were obtained.” — Korissa Z; GLA Director of Admissions
For more tips and recommendations for eco-friendly travel, check out GLA’s Pinterest page!