Sustainable travel: your packing list - socialbnb Travel Blog

Sustainable travel: your packing list

A guest post by our friends from Backpacker Trail

For a sustainable trip, it is worth making a packing list in advance. Sustainable packing is about choosing only the most necessary items and traveling with as little luggage as possible. However, this does not only refer to the weight and number of items, but also to the actual content. This means, for example, that you should try to reduce packaging already when packing and think about the stay in your destination.

For us at Backpacker Trail, it is also important to promote sustainable travel. We are a young international travel startup from Heidelberg, Germany, that aims to make planning your next trip easier. Our team consists of more than 20 nations who all share one passion: backpacking. In addition to our blog with articles from our own travel experiences, you can also find the WebApp on our website, where you can create your very own travel route.

For your next sustainable trip, we’ve put together a little packing list below so you can jump right into your next trip.

Picture by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

The preparation

Personal packing list

Before you start your personal packing list, you should always keep in mind where you are going, how long your trip will last and what kind of trip you are planning. This will make it much easier for you to create your own packing list, because then you will know what you need and how much you want to take with you. In addition, it is worthwhile if you find out beforehand at your accommodation, what is already available there. For example, whether the hostel provides bed linen or whether you have to bring it yourself.


After you’ve created your packing list, take an initial inventory and review the items at your leisure. It is helpful to spread out the items on the list on the floor in front of you at the same time. For a sustainable trip, it’s best to travel light and as compact as possible. Therefore, try to weed out inappropriate or duplicate items and reduce unnecessary packaging.

A sun hat is fine for a beach vacation, for example, but a cap makes more sense for a backpacking trip or hiking vacation in the mountains. You also bought a new toothbrush before your vacation, but it’s still in its packaging? Unpack the toothbrush, throw the packaging in the recycling garbage can and stow it in your toothbrush case. It will be used on the trip home at the latest and you can set off on your sustainable vacation with a clear conscience.

In addition, you should think about your luggage itself. For hiking vacations and backpacking, a backpack is your best friend; for a beach vacation, a suitcase is also fine. But just like with the contents, it’s worth keeping your luggage as small as possible. For example, if you’re traveling with a smaller carry-on suitcase, you’re most likely not taking any unnecessary items. The best is a piece of luggage with many compartments, then you can also store the things better.

Picture by Ian Dooley on Unsplash

Your packing list

Now that we’ve explained how to create your own personal packing list, we’ll tell you what you should definitely take with you on your sustainable trip.


When it comes to clothes, the basic rule is: as little as possible, as much as necessary. When choosing your clothes, consider the weather of your destination and the length of your stay. The most important clothes are:

  • underwear,
  • a fresh top for every day,
  • pajamas,
  • hoodie or light indoor jacket,
  • socks,
  • pants,
  • suitable footwear.

Depending on the country and time of travel, you may also need one of the following:

  • solid soap,
  • solid shampoo,
  • toothbrush,
  • toothpaste (also available plastic-free and in solid form as tooth tabs),
  • dental floss,
  • solid deodorant,
  • hairbrush or comb.

Optional, but quite helpful are the following items:

  • curd soap (functions as hand soap or as a laundry & dishwashing detergent substitute and stain remover),
  • moisturizer (especially for very dry skin),
  • small first aid kit (basic equipment: wound & healing ointment, tweezers, plaster, bandage, small scissors).

Important documents

No matter where you’re headed, these important documents should definitely be on your packing list:

  • passport,
  • ID card,
  • wallet (preferably with credit card and cash, as cards may not be accepted depending on destination),
  • travel insurance or international health insurance certificate,
  • possibly vaccination certificate.

Electronic devices

For a sustainable trip, it is of course best to avoid electronic devices in your packing list. However, you should always have a cell phone or smartphone with you just in case, so that you can alert the police or fire department and contact your family in an emergency. Optional here are headphones, if you like to listen to music.

Optional: Equipment & Hobby Items

Nordic walking poles or hobby items like yoga mats and camera. However, you should only take these items with you if you are sure that you will actually use them on your trip.

Picture by maxmann on Pixabay


In general, sustainable travel is quite simple. When creating your own packing list, keep the following points in mind: Adapt the list to your personal needs and the conditions in your destination country. Also, try to take as little luggage as possible, but everything you need. Then nothing can really go wrong. So, get going and enjoy your next trip to the fullest.

If you’re interested in a great backpacking route in Mexico, check out this blog post. Get inspired by our beautiful socialbnbs for your next sustainable trip and support the ecological or social project you are traveling to with your stay. Learn more:

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