As a seasoned traveler, I’ve traversed bustling markets, climbed windswept mountains, and wandered through ancient ruins. Each adventure has been etched in my memory, a vibrant tapestry woven from experiences and encounters. But with every adventure comes a responsibility – the responsibility to tread lightly and leave a minimal footprint on the places I explore.

In the past, this often meant wrestling with flimsy plastic bags at souvenir stalls or grocery stores. The frustration of a ripped bag spilling its contents onto a cobbled street in Marrakech, or the guilt of adding to the plastic mountains plaguing Southeast Asia, were constant reminders of the environmental cost of travel.

However, over the years, I’ve discovered a simple yet powerful solution: canvas tote bags. These unassuming canvas companion has become more than just a stylish accessory – it’s a symbol of my commitment to eco-friendly travel.

The Plastic Problem: Why We Need a Change

The environmental impact of plastic bags is undeniable. Millions are used and discarded daily, choking landfills, polluting oceans, and harming wildlife. A 2018 study by Science Advances estimated that between 4.1 and 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic have been produced globally since the 1950s, with a significant portion ending up in our environment.

These plastic bags don’t disappear; they linger for centuries, leaching harmful chemicals into the soil and water. Marine animals often mistake them for food, leading to entanglement and death. As travelers who cherish the beauty of our planet, we can’t ignore this issue.

The Power of the Tote: How It Saves the Planet (and Your Back)

Enter the tote bag. This versatile companion offers a multitude of benefits for eco-conscious adventurers. Here’s why it should be your go-to travel accessory:

  • Durability and Reusability: A single, well-made tote bag can replace countless flimsy plastic bags. Imagine exploring the bustling markets of Istanbul, your sturdy tote effortlessly holding your purchases of Turkish delight and hand-painted ceramics. No more scrambling for flimsy bags at every stall – your tote is your trusty companion, ready for anything the adventure throws your way.
  • Eco-Friendly Materials: Choose totes made from organic cotton, recycled plastic bottles, or hemp. These sustainable materials minimize environmental impact throughout the production process. Unlike plastic bags, they’re biodegradable or recyclable, ensuring they don’t become a permanent addition to our landfills.
  • Reduced Waste Generation: By opting for a reusable tote, you’re actively reducing plastic waste generation. Picture yourself strolling through the vibrant streets of Antigua, Guatemala, your tote proudly displaying your commitment to sustainable travel. With each reuse, you’re making a positive difference, one bag at a time.
  • Convenience and Comfort: Let’s face it, lugging around overflowing plastic bags is a pain. A sturdy tote bag evenly distributes the weight, making it easier to carry souvenirs, groceries, or even your laundry while exploring a new city.

Imagine traversing the ancient Inca Trail in Peru, your tote comfortably carrying your water bottle, snacks, and rain gear, freeing you to focus on the majestic scenery around you. No more aching shoulders or struggling with tangled plastic bags – your tote becomes your best friend on the journey.

Selecting Your Travel Tote: Style Meets Sustainability

Choosing the right tote for your travels can be an exciting adventure itself! Here are some key factors to consider:

  • Material: Opt for durable, eco-friendly materials like organic cotton canvas or recycled polyester. These materials can withstand the rigors of travel while minimizing your environmental impact.
  • Size and Design: Consider different sizes for different travel needs. A spacious tote is ideal for weekend getaways or beach trips, while a compact one can be your trusty companion for day trips or exploring bustling cities. Don’t forget to add a touch of personality! Vibrant prints, intricate embroidery, or personalized designs can showcase your unique travel style.

Bonus Tip: Packing cubes or small pouches can help organize your belongings within your tote, transforming it into a portable packing system. This keeps your essentials readily accessible, whether you’re navigating airports or exploring ancient ruins.

Packing Hacks for the Eco-Adventurer: Maximize Your Tote’s Potential

Once you have your trusty tote, it’s time to unleash its full potential! Here are some packing hacks to streamline your travel experience:

  • The Roll and Tuck Method: Rolling your clothes instead of folding them saves space and minimizes wrinkles. Tuck rolled items around the edges of your tote for a secure and organized system.
  • Utilize Compartments and Pouches: Invest in packing cubes or small pouches to categorize your belongings. This makes it easier to find what you need, especially in a compact tote.
  • Embrace Multifunctional Clothing: As a seasoned traveler, I’ve learned the art of packing light. Every item in your tote needs to earn its place. Embrace multifunctional clothing – pieces that can be easily mixed and matched to create multiple outfits. This reduces the amount you need to pack, allowing you to travel lighter and utilize your tote’s space efficiently.

Beyond the Beach: Totes for Every Travel Adventure

While totes are perfect for beach getaways, their versatility extends far beyond the sand. Here’s how totes can elevate your travel experience across different types of adventures:

  • The Urban Explorer: Exploring bustling cities like London or New York requires a tote that can handle your daily essentials. Opt for a medium-sized tote with a sturdy shoulder strap. Pack your guidebook, reusable water bottle, camera, and a small pouch for your phone and wallet.
  • The Culture Connoisseur: Immersing yourself in the rich history of Rome or Florence requires a comfortable tote for carrying souvenirs and museum essentials. Choose a tote with a secure zipper closure to keep your belongings safe. Consider packing a small notebook and pen to capture your travel impressions and memories.
  • The Outdoor Enthusiast: Whether you’re hiking in Patagonia or camping under the stars in Joshua Tree National Park, a tote can be your go-to gear carrier. Choose a durable tote made from water-resistant materials to protect your belongings from the elements. Pack your sunscreen, hat, snacks, and a reusable water bottle for a day of outdoor exploration.

Beyond the Tote: Expanding Your Eco-Friendly Arsenal

The tote bag is a powerful tool, but it’s not the only weapon in your eco-friendly travel arsenal. Here are some additional tips to minimize your environmental footprint:

  • Embrace Reusable Water Bottles: Ditch single-use plastic bottles and invest in a reusable water bottle. Many airports now have water refill stations, so you can stay hydrated without generating plastic waste.
  • Utilize Public Transportation: Whenever possible, opt for public transportation like buses, trains, or subways. This not only reduces your carbon footprint but also allows you to experience a city like a local.
  • Support Eco-Friendly Accommodations: Research eco-lodges and hotels committed to sustainable practices. These establishments often use renewable energy sources, offer local food options, and minimize their environmental impact.
  • Shop Local and Mindful: When buying souvenirs, choose locally-made products and avoid mass-produced items. This supports the local economy and promotes sustainable practices.
  • Respect the Environment: Leave no trace wherever you travel. Dispose of waste responsibly, avoid littering, and respect local ecosystems.

Conclusion: Travel with a Conscience

Traveling is a privilege, a chance to connect with new cultures and explore the wonders of our world. By embracing eco-friendly practices and utilizing a trusty tote bag, you can ensure your adventures leave a positive impact.

So, on your next adventure, ditch the plastic and grab a tote. It’s a small change with a big impact, a symbol of your commitment to responsible travel. Let your tote be your travel companion, carrying not just your essentials but also the message of sustainability and respect for the planet we all call home.

Remember, every adventure is an opportunity to learn, grow, and become a better steward of our planet. Travel with a conscience, and together, we can ensure a future where exploration goes hand-in-hand with environmental responsibility.

Remember, never travel without travel insurance! And never overpay for travel insurance!

I use HeyMondo. You get INSTANT quotes. Super cheap, they actually pay out, AND they cover almost everywhere, where most insurance companies don't (even places like Central African Republic etc!). You can sign-up here. PS You even get 5% off if you use MY LINK! You can even sign up if you're already overseas and traveling, pretty cool.

Also, if you want to start a blog...I CAN HELP YOU!

Also, if you want to start a blog, and start to change your life, I'd love to help you! Email me on In the meantime, check out my super easy blog post on how to start a travel blog in under 30 minutes, here! And if you just want to get cracking, use BlueHost at a discount, through me.

Also, (if you're like me, and awful with tech-stuff) email me and my team can get a blog up and running for you, designed and everything, for $699 - email to get started.

Do you work remotely? Are you a digital nomad/blogger etc? You need to be insured too.

I use SafetyWing for my digital nomad insurance. It covers me while I live overseas. It's just $10 a week, and it's amazing! No upfront fees, you just pay week by week, and you can sign up just for a week if you want, then switch it off and on whenever. You can read my review here, and you can sign-up here!


So if you’re ready to…..

1) Change your life
2) Travel the world
3) Get paid to travel
4) Create a positive influence on others
5) Be free of offices and ‘real world’ rubbish

Then Sign Up Below and Let’s Get Started!

Follow me on Instagram @onestep4ward