Zero Waste Travel: How to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle While on Vacation

While people around the globe have taken big and little steps to reduce the amount of waste they produce in their daily lives, fewer think about ways to reduce waste while traveling. Making ecologically responsible choices is just as, or even more, important when you’re a guest in another city. Whether you can follow one or all of these tips, each step you take adds up to make a big difference.

1. Bring a Reusable Water Bottle

Most people use reusable water bottles in their daily lives, and traveling shouldn’t be an exception to this practice. Once you’ve passed through airport security, fill up your bottle, and you won’t have to take a plastic cup on the plane. As you tour your destination, carrying a reusable water bottle wherever you go is one of the best tips for how to travel zero waste that will save you money too.

2. Take a Reusable Shopping Bag

Collect souvenirs and not plastic bags as you travel, and taking a reusable shopping bag is also a great way to carry your reusable water bottle with you wherever you go. Since reusable shopping bags are lightweight, there’s no reason not to pack one. 

3. Use Zero Waste Toiletries

One of the best ways to reduce waste while traveling is through your toiletries. Instead of grabbing a plastic bag, invest in a TSA-approved reusable bag, and rather than buying individual mini bottles of your favorite products, put some in reusable bottles. Another tip for how to travel zero waste is to take solid bar soaps and shampoos.

4. Don’t Print Your Boarding Pass

While boarding passes are small slips of paper, they all add up over time. Download your boarding pass online or on your airline’s app, and you’ll contribute less and less paper waste each time you fly. With a mobile boarding pass, you also won’t have to worry about losing your ticket before take off.

5. Use Reusable Luggage Tags

At airport check-in desks, you can pick up a paper tag for your bag, but purchasing a proper luggage tag is one of the simple ways to reduce waste while traveling. Personalizing your luggage also makes it easy to spot your suitcase on the baggage claim carousel. 

6. Pack Your Own Snacks

Whether you’re headed to the airport or out for a day of sightseeing, packing your own snacks not only reduces waste but also saves you money. Throw some carrot sticks, chips, or a sandwich into a tupperware, and you’ll have a quick snack for later on. If you’re passing through customs, be sure to eat any fresh produce before you land.

7. Get Around on Public Transport

No matter where you are in the world, public transport is the best option for keeping the air clean and creating less traffic. When you travel, hopping on the bus also lets you experience the city like a local. Most major tourist destinations have easy-to-use busses, and your resort’s concierge can help you figure out the system.

Figuring out how to travel zero waste keeps the places you're visiting clean and healthy, preserving them for future generations to explore. Each of these tips may seem simple, but over time, they can make a big difference. On your next vacation, make conscious and ecological choices that will save you money and save our environment.

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