Zero Waste Travel- Our Top 6 Tips

As I start to plan a spring getaway with my husband I have been specifically making our packing list and travel itinerary with our zero waste goals in mind.  Here we share some of our zero waste travel tips to help you on your next trip!

Spring always brings an itch to travel in me.  The hubby and I have not travelled over the last several years as much as we would have liked to, with him being in law school there just wasn’t a lot of time.  

But one of our main reasons for adopting a more minimalist lifestyle has been to spend less money on buying, and more money on doing.  

We both love to travel and get excited to exploring new cities, cultures and food!  

We are currently planning a trip to CO (so if you have killer vegan restaurant suggestions, please let me know 😉 ) and I am trying to plan our trip as sustainable and zero waste as possible!  

I am a big planner, my husband will say to a fault, but as a vegan you get very used to looking ahead for even the smallest event or destination, usually to make sure you won’t die of starvation from lack of plant based options.  

But now that has also come into our zero waste efforts as well.  This is the first bigger trip we are taking since making sustainability a mission of ours so I have been digging in and reading up on how to leave less of a footprint.  

Here are some things to think about next time you travel.  These work for anything from a small road trip to travelling halfway around the world.  

Watch Your Paper Wastes
I don’t know about you, but every time I travel I come home with a purse full of plane tickets, receipts, maps and so much more!  

Utilize your phone more.  Download boarding tickets and maps of the area to your phone or mobile device!  Not only does this help me keep all of my stuff more organized, it saves handfuls of paper.  

Almost every place will be mindful of skipping the receipt if you ask.  If you want to keep track of your travel spending, simply ask if they can e-mail instead, many places will!

Pack Well
Anyone else guilty of forgetting a sweater on vacay and buying a cheap, ugly, never going to wear it again one because you are freezing?  Yeah, me too.  

When I was minimizing my closet over the last couple weeks there were a couple items I bought on vacation because I forgot to pack them!  Flip flops, swim suits, etc.  

It may seem like a little thing, but taking a little more time to pack and PLAN what you will all need will save you from having to buy something fast fashion!

Bring Containers
This is one that I have not been the best with.  When I am home I always have a reusable coffee mug, water bottle and grocery bag.  I unfortunately usually forget these when I travel.  But definitely need to bring them, as I would use them.  

On our next trip I plan on packing all of these above, along with some food containers and mason jars too.  Reusable containers can be used for leftovers, the hot bar at the local Whole Foods or stocking up on some snacks from the bulk bar (granola and trail mix are my favorite travel go tos).  And mason jars are great for beverages, compost or even trash.  

Now that I am thinking about it, I’ll make sure to toss in a couple mesh produce bags to stock up on apples or oranges at the grocery store when we get there!  

This might just sound like extra bulk in your suitcase, but by packing just one of each you will drastically cut down on unnecessary travel wastes.  If you are really trying to travel light, bring one of each and share with your partner.  Eric and I will probably only need one coffee mug between us but know that our own water bottles necessary 😉

Bring Towels
Another thing that I started doing in everyday life was carry around a hand towel.  I drink a lot of water so go to the restroom, A LOT.  I was using way too much paper towel, so started carrying around a hand towel.  

I also have a cloth napkin in my purse and/or car at all times.  This is another super important one when you are travelling.  For our weekend getaway I am planning on bringing probably one per day, in case they get dirty.  GREAT way to reduce paper use.  

Pack Your Own Toiletries
Non-reusable mini containers are a big pet peeve of mine.  SO MUCH PLASTIC.  

So I bought a bunch of reusable containers to take with me while travelling.  I have ones for shampoo, conditioner, hand sanitizer, face wash and body wash.  You can buy them for super cheap, like $1 a piece and can easily find ones less than 3 ounces to bring in your carry on!  

I plan on filling mine up at our local co-op before we go, which is where I buy all our liquids in bulk!

Just Be Mindful
I don’t claim to be perfect, I am nowhere near completely zero waste, but every day I make an effort to be more mindful and I know that has made a difference.  

Travel can be even more tricky, as you are on the go, don’t have a lot of time and are usually less prepared.  But just being more mindful of the wastes you might produce goes a long way.  

Little things like eating your food in, versus taking it to go and utilizing your phone more instead of paper maps and brochures WILL add up a lot over your vacation.  

There will be times where it is near impossible to avoid some paper or plastic wastes, but making an effort is ALWAYS better than not at all.  

Doing little things every day adds up to make BIG differences! Make sure to share with your travelling loving friends and share any of your tips below!

with love,


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