Zero-Waste Traveling Tips

As Tim and I get ready to travel to El Paso, I’m starting to think of ways I can reduce my waste throughout our trip. When we last went to London, I produced more waste than I wished, but I took note of ways I could avoid that waste in the future and now I’m sharing that list with y’all. I hope you find these tips helpful!

For minimalist packing tips, check out this post!

1.Plan Ahead!

This is the first and foremost important part about reducing your waste on the go. For me, I have to imagine myself throughout every process of the traveling experience to see when and where I might encounter a “wasteful” situation.


  • Will I want coffee on our way to the airport?

  • Will I want water once I’m past security?

  • Will I want snacks or a meal during our commute?

  • Will I need toiletries once I arrive?

2. Use up all your food before you travel.

If you can’t eat all your food before you travel, give it to someone who will, or compost it. This will help keep from wasting food and keep your fridge from smelling sketchy! lol

3. Unplug all your electronics before leaving your home.

Have you ever heard of vampire energy? It’s a real thing – it’s energy that’s used from electrical plugs and outlets when they’re left plugged in (even if they’re not in use or “off”). In my city, it’s estimated that 20% of household’s annual electricity usage is simply vampire energy. That means 20% of your electricity bill is literally going no-where.

Before you leave, unplug your TVs, cell phone chargers, Microwaves, and basically everything except your fridge!

4. Set your thermostat.

Another way to save on electricity while your away is to set your thermostat to 50 degrees F (if it’s cold outside) or 85 degrees F (if its hot outside). That way your AC isn’t running 24/7 for an empty home.

50 degrees is cool enough to not waste electricity, but also not too cold for your pipes.

85 degrees again is warm enough to save, but not too warm to melt everything in site or damage instruments etc.

5. Bring a To-Go Coffee Mug.

As mentioned above, people frequently want to sip on something warm whilst traveling, or even once they’ve arrived to their destination. Say no to single use cups and instead, show off your sense of fashion and love for the environment and use your own adorable mug.

6. Bring a Reusable Water Bottle.

Staying hydrated while traveling is essential! Bringing your own water bottle is a way to ensure you have water with you at all times. Just remember it has to be empty before you go through airport security, but you can refill it again once you’ve passed security.

TIP: I make it a challenge to myself to fill up my water bottle before leaving for the airport, and drink the whole thing by the time I reach the security. That way I know I’m staying hydrated 

7. Pack Snacks.

Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like road trips or plane rides just aren’t complete without some good snacking involved. However, air plane snacks are usually in small plastic baggies and aren’t always tasty… So forgo the wasteful snacks and bring your own! Stuff them in a mason jar (which can double as your coffee/water bottle after you’ve emptied the snacks), or throw it in a tin container or some Pyrex, or even a reusable zipper pouch. There are so many creative ways to bring your own snacks!

8. Bring your toiletries in reusable TSA approved travel size containers.

As I mentioned earlier, bringing your own containers with your toiletries is not only a great way to reduce your waste, it’s a great way to save money!

9. Skip Liquid Shampoos & Soaps and Use Bars.

Try using shampoo & conditioner bars, and soap bars, to save on packaging and to save on packing space. The quart size cosmetic bag can only fit so many liquids after all.

10. Bring layers or a blanket for the plane ride.

Airplanes are always cold! They do offer blankets for cold passengers, but they’re wrapped in plastic… So to save unnecessary plastic usage, bring your own blanket or warm layers.

11. Say no.

Say no to freebies on the plane or in duty free shops.

Example: a lot of airlines will give away earphones and other random utilities in small plastic baggies. If you don’t really need it, just say no 

12. Bring a light-weight, fold-able shopping bag.

This is definitely a plug for Tab N Shift bags (an ethical & eco-friendly company I’m working with!), but I’m not lying, these bags are ideal for traveling because of how lightweight they are. They’re also really easy to fold up into your suitcase or purse, and you can use them later instead of accepting plastic bags when you’re shopping. When I went to London, I found myself on several occasions, wishing I had a bag like this.

You can pre-order one here!

Happy Travels!