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Tips to lighten your footprint and be more eco-friendly while caravanning

Tips to lighten your footprint and be more eco-friendly while caravanning

We recently embarked on a two week motorhoming holiday travelling up the east coast from Brisbane and learnt lots on our adventure so, here are my tips and tricks for being more eco-friendly, generating less waste and using less plastic while caravanning/motorhoming around this beautiful country. I've also recommended which products I’d consider to be “must-haves” from the Little Eco Shop portfolio.

We recently embarked on a two week motorhoming holiday travelling up the east coast from Brisbane to Airlie Beach then inland to Emerald and then back down to Brisbane, stopping along the way. We hired the motorhome from Camplify which is arguably an eco-friendly alternative to purchasing our own but in all honesty, we also chose to hire because we wanted to test the waters first in case we hated it and never wanted to do it again!

Alas, I can confirm, we loved it! It was such an adventurous and fulfilling holiday and I can really see why so many Aussie’s choose this lifestyle. We can’t wait for our next adventure but will definitely still choose to hire rather than purchase our own.

So, here I am with my tips and tricks for being more eco-friendly, generating less waste and using less plastic while caravanning/motorhoming.

I know what you’re probably thinking…she’s travelled for two weeks and now considers herself an expert! Not quite! I’m acutely aware there’s a lot more to learn about travelling Australia by van but I AM an expert in the products we stock so I can confidently recommend which products I’d consider to be “must-haves” and which are not so helpful on a trip like this.

Products I could not live without while caravanning/motorhoming:

Wire laundry pegs – seriously these were absolutely brilliant not only for hanging laundry and wet togs/towels but because they are so strong, they are perfect for hanging privacy/shade cloths from the awning. I also used them for keeping food packets closed.

Laundry detergent sheets – I completely forgot to take laundry powder on our trip so was left with the choice of purchasing a box of powder that was far bigger than required or purchasing small plastic sachets of powder from the campsite. In hindsight I should have taken a box of our Lil’ Bit Laundry Detergent Sheets – they are perfect for the job because the box is small but also really lightweight. Not to mention they clean really well.

Sunbutter sunscreen – I particularly love this for the kids because it doesn’t sting their eyes when they go in the water but also it’s great for sensitive skin, doesn’t clog pores and it won’t stain your white clothes yellow like typical sunscreen does. It’s also reef-safe (perfect for holidaying on the coast) and SPF50 so you know your skin is protected in the harsh Aussie sun.

Shoo! Insect repellent – Midges were rife while we were away so we couldn’t have lived without this product. Midges, mozzies and flies can really increase the irritability of adults and kids alike while travelling, so spray your whole family from head to toe as often as you like with Shoo! without worrying about the plethora of chemicals that your usual repellents contain. And yes, it really does work!

Reusable travel cups – a necessity for those long drives. Our travel rCUP is perfect for the job because it’s lightweight, 100% leak proof, offers 360 drinking (ideal while driving as you don’t have to take your eyes off the road to find the mouth hole) and it will fit into any cup holder whether it be in your vehicle or your camp chair!

Bathroom products – space is limited in a motorhome or caravan so reducing what you take is sensible. I highly recommend using our 2in1 Shampoo & Conditioner bars rather than two large plastic bottles of shampoo and conditioner. Likewise, opt for a bar of soap (and store them in one of our Travel Soap Bags) instead of bottled body wash. I couldn’t travel anywhere without our Selkia facial gel cleanser (safe for the whole family) and luckily you don’t need to take the glass pump bottle with you because Selkia have handy refill pouches which are ideal for travelling as they won’t break. Our toothpaste tablets are also ideal as they are small and compact.

Kitchen products – I highly recommend taking all your usual reusable items like beeswax wraps, silicone pouches etc. so you can avoid disposable items, reduce packaging and reduce waste. But the three kitchen products I found essential during our trip were the round EcoCoconut Scourers made from coconut husk, our plastic-free dish paste and our compostable dish cloths. The round scourers are perfect for cleaning down the BBQ each day and work effortlessly with the dishwashing paste which is the ultimate grease buster! Retro Kitchen’s compostable dish cloths are not only plastic-free but are multipurpose as they can be used to wash dishes as well as wipe down all surfaces inside and out. They’re also machine washable. Tick tick tick.

Other tips and tricks to lighten your footprint:

Continue to separate your waste like you would at home and ensure you recycle what you can. If you stay at a site that doesn’t offer recycling, consider holding onto your waste until you get to your next destination. If bins are full, please don’t ever leave your bagged waste on the floor next to the bin (like we witnessed during our trip) because it’ll get torn open by wildlife and litter will blow everywhere.

When doing laundry at camp sites opt to air dry, if possible, rather than using the driers.

Consider using plastic-free and Australian made toilet paper such as About a Dog.

To remove risk of breakages and clanging around while on the move, most crockery in caravans is made of plastic. I therefore took a glass Tupperware bowl to heat food in the microwave instead of having to heat in plastic (which is known to have health implications as plastic leaches into your food when heated).

Try to pre-make snacks and meals so you’re not tempted to buy packaged snacks on the road, especially if you’re only going away on a short trip. I managed to make a big batch of biscuits and a few pre-made dinners which made life easier when we arrived late at some destinations.

Lastly, I often get asked if our Dunny Drops are safe to use in camper toilets. In short, yes they are. They will not do any harm to your toilet and are safe to be emptied into dump points but it’s important to note you won’t be able to use them to clean your toilet like you would at home because there is no water in camper toilets. They also will not aid in the decomposition of the contents of your toilet but they will provide help with neutralizing odours, especially our stronger scented drops; Australian Bush Flowers.

Please feel free to contribute below with your eco-friendly and waste reducing caravanning tips. Enjoy your next roadtrip, guys and remember ….Leave nothing but footprints. Take nothing but pictures. Kill nothing but time.

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