UAE-based couples travel 4,000km through Europe using only public transport, no plastic

During their trip lasting 16 days through 10 countries, the families did not shed a single bit of plastic


Nasreen Abdulla

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Published: Mon 11 Sep 2023, 2:45 PM

Last updated: Tue 12 Sep 2023, 7:02 PM

When two UAE-based families were planning their “dream trip” through Europe, they had just one aim — travel as sustainably as possible in line with UAE’s Year of Sustainability initiative.

During their trip lasting 16 days through 10 countries, the families did not shed a single bit of plastic and tried to minimize their carbon footprint by travelling only using public transport.

Krishnaraj and his friend Shanid followed several steps to make sure their trip was sustainable and the most important thing to them was to send a message. “Both of us were travelling with our young children,” said Krishnaraj. “This earth is for them and their children to live in, so we have a responsibility towards it. We wanted to model to them how to travel sustainably so that when they grow up, they might also be able to do the same.”

Krishnaraj and family
Krishnaraj and family
Shahid and family
Shahid and family

A fair bit of planning went into making the trip a reality. “We carried with us foodstuff, which we cooked in our camper van,” he said. “With this we minimized the usage of wrappers, containers and food wastage. We also carried reusable cutlery, plates and glasses. For water, each of us had a flask so that we didn’t need to buy or use single-use plastic bottles.”

According to Shanid, the families would source fruits and vegetables from their local farmer’s market to compliment the food they carried with them from the UAE. “We bought items like potatoes, onions and tomatoes from there,” he said. “Also, we bought seasonal fruits and locally produced milk and cheese.”


While Shanid travelled with his wife and 7-year-old daughter, Krishnaraj’s family included his wife and two children, the youngest of whom is just a 1-year-old.

According to the families, one of the biggest challenges was waste disposal. “Even though we try to minimize our waste, there is some amount that is produced,” said Krishnaraj. “The only bits of plastic that we had as waste were food wrappers for my baby. We would carry biscuits or some such snacks for her, in case she felt hungry. These we would collect and drop it off at the recycling centres we found in these countries.”

Trip of a lifetime

During their 16 days in Europe, the families covered 4,000 kilometres across 10 countries including Germany, Switzerland, France and Netherlands. “We used only public transport during our sightseeing visits,” said Shanid. “Especially in the cities, the public transport system was very well connected. We also explored a lot of places on foot. It was only in the countryside and remote areas that we had to rely on our campervan.”

Shanid in Paris
Shanid in Paris
Children watching fireworks
Children watching fireworks

In order to spread their message even further, the families had the Year of Sustainability sticker along with a UAE flag on their van. “In some places, people asked us about the sticker,” said Krishnaraj. “We told them how UAE was celebrating the Year of Sustainability and how the COP28 was scheduled to take place here in November.”


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