Back in 2019, when traveling was just as simple as choosing a destination, buying tickets, and getting to that place, I used to travel a lot as part of my job. However, I had no idea of my travel’s negative environmental impact.
Fast forward to 2021, and I’m now very much aware of how important it is to travel consciously. This means taking steps to reduce my carbon footprint as much as possible – from packing smartly to choosing responsible transportation options.
One way I’ve been able to cut down on waste when traveling significantly is by packing my essentials in reusable containers and bags. If you’re looking to do the same, here are some of my favorite zero-waste travel tips!
Pack your toiletries in a reusable container
I like to pack my shampoo, conditioner, and soap in a reusable metal or glass containers rather than a plastic one. This saves me from using plastic bottles or packaging while on the go. Plus, it’s excellent for reducing wastefulness.
The downside to this is that it can be tricky to find travel-sized containers that fit all of your essentials. However, plenty of online retailers sell reusable toiletry containers, so I’d recommend doing some shopping around before your trip.
Switch to bamboo toothbrush and solid toothpaste
I live by my bamboo toothbrush, which is sustainable, biodegradable, and made of 100% natural tree fibers. Additionally, this vegan-friendly alternative is great not just for the environment but also because it’s better for sensitive teeth.
Bamboo toothbrushes are easy to find, so I’d recommend buying one before your next trip if you don’t already have one. However, other eco-friendly alternatives are available for purchase online should you want them.
Solid toothpaste is another great way to reduce your waste when traveling. This type of toothpaste comes in a small, travel-sized container and doesn’t require any packaging. Plus, it lasts longer than traditional toothpaste, so you don’t have to worry about it running out while on vacation.
Bring a reusable water bottle and coffee mug
I never go anywhere without my reusable water bottle. This is especially important when traveling, as you’ll likely be doing a lot of walking and need to stay hydrated. Plus, it’s great for avoiding those pesky plastic water bottles.
Similarly, I always bring my own coffee mug with me on trips. Not only does this save me money, but it also helps reduce waste. Most coffee shops now have ceramic cups available for use, so there’s no need to worry about finding somewhere to drink your morning caffeine fix.
Use a menstrual cup instead of disposable pads or tampons
I’ve been using a menstrual cup for years now, and it’s one of the best zero-waste travel tips I have. The benefits of switching to this eco-friendly alternative are numerous – not only does it reduce waste but it also saves you money in the long run.
The downside is that some people find them difficult to use, but I’d recommend doing some research before you hit the road. There are plenty of resources online to help you figure out how they work so that it’s not a problem when you’re on vacation.
Take reusable bags with you everywhere
For this tip to work correctly, make sure they are as accessible as possible. Please keep them in an easy-to-find place in your luggage, such as the top pocket. Also, avoid keeping them inside a bag that you will need for other items.
This way, you’ll be more likely to use them when you go shopping or need to pack snacks. And, if all else fails, most stores will happily provide a reusable bag for you—just ask!
How to pack your clothes
There are a few different ways to pack your clothes when traveling, but my favorite method is packing cubes or tote bags made from natural materials like cotton.
This way, I can fit more clothes in my luggage without wasting space or using plastic bags while packing. Plus, it’s easier for me to unpack when I get to where I’m going. If you’re looking for a great deal on cubes and totes that also support the environment, check out stores like UNIQLO or Patagonia.
Miscellaneous tips for zero-waste travel
- Bring a small bag for your dirty clothes so you don’t have to use plastic bags when packing.
- If you’re going to be doing a lot of cooking during your trip, bring reusable containers and utensils instead of disposable ones.
- Try not to buy any souvenirs that come in plastic packaging (bonus points if they’re made from sustainable materials).
- If you’re staying at a hotel, be sure to reuse your towels and sheets during your trip. If they don’t provide reusable ones for you, ask the front desk if it’s possible to get fresh ones each day.
I hope these tips help make your next trip more eco-friendly! If you have any other suggestions, please share them with me and other readers in the comments below.