Rethinking the Convenience of Packing

Rethinking the Convenience of Packing

We admit – packing for convenience seems intuitive. When we’re preparing for a trek up a mountain or down a river, a day at the beach, or any offbeat adventure, it’s become automatic for us to reach for the easiest, cheapest, and lightest options. Things like plastic bags and water bottles, single use utensils, and disposable packaging like sachets are all widely available and can be discarded after use. The less we can be bothered about small things like snacks and shampoo, the more we can enjoy the adventure – right?

Wrong. That single use and disposable plastics are simply bad for the environment is not new information, so we won’t go into the details of how much trash we produce, where it ends up, how long it takes to decompose, and what happens when we don’t do anything about it. While stuffing our bags with single use and disposable materials is a convenience for us, it’s a real inconvenience for everyone and everything else in the long run. As we’ve heard asked before, “Why should the world suffer for your convenience?”

We’re not here to make you feel bad about the way we’ve all packed in the past. Instead we’d like to remind you of three things.

First, packing in a way that’s good for us and the environment does not take much effort and is becoming increasingly easy. More and more companies are making sustainable products like bamboo utensils and beeswax wraps. Not in the mood to shop? Look around your house for things like empty peanut butter jars (you know you have a lot) and reuse those.

Second, it’s not just about what you bring with you. It’s also about what you purchase along the way. The plastic bag that comes with your takeout from a gas station is every bit as inconvenient to the environment as any plastic bag.

Third, changing the way we pack can make real differences in the long run. If people buy less sachets, maybe companies will stop making them and get into refill stations instead. If a restaurant keeps getting customers who bring their own to-go containers, maybe they’ll charge those who don’t a to-go fee (thereby producing less waste, discouraging single use packaging, and encouraging sustainable movements like going Zero Waste).

The less waste we produce, the better the world will look, and the more we can travel and go on adventures. Below are some #SustainableSwaps to make the next time you travel– simple ideas we have for changes you can make to the way you pack. The list is short and by no means exhaustive, so don’t stop here. Write down the things you would normally buy and/or bring with you and identify where you can do nature some favors.

Bringing a bunch of soon-to-be-trash with you to your next adventure is a bit like taking trash from your home, dumping it into a friend’s home, and forgetting about it – except your friend is the planet you live in and the places you like to post on Instagram. Let’s be better friends.

Want to learn more about working with the environment for sustainable living? Join Life Stories in the City at Impact Hub Manila (BGC) on Feb 15 (Thursday) and get insights from Pocholo Espina of Sip PH and Bryan McClelland of Bambike. Learn more about the event here.

Romano Santos
Romano Santos

Romano is a project manager, content creator, and public speaker for MAD Travel. You may reach him through or on Instagram as @romanohimself

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