If you want to reduce your impact on the planet while still visiting far off destinations, consider incorporating these zero waste travel essentials into your travel routine.
Whether you’re already on the path towards zero waste, or you’re completely new to the zero waste lifestyle, these zero waste travel essentials are easy enough for anyone.
In fact, you are probably already doing some of the things suggested below. Which is awesome if you are, please keep going.
But whether you’re just a beginner, or maybe more advanced, hopefully you can find something new on this list to incorporate into your travel routine and lifestyle.
Let’s get to it.
10 Zero Waste Travel Essentials
1. Reusable Water Bottle
One of the most common zero waste travel essentials is a reusable water bottle.
In my opinion, carrying a reusable water bottle is one of the most mpactful things anyone can do right now.
We all know there is too much plastic waste in the world. So individually eiminating single use plastic bottles is an excellent way for anyone to make a big impact.
Using a reusable water bottle not only reduces the amount of plastic waste we create, we’re also saving a ton of money.
This is especially true at the airport where bottles of water can cost anywhere from $2 to $7. Yes, I’ve seen bottles of water at the airport priced at $7.
Which is completely ridiculous by the way, but we’ll save that rant for another post.
But back to reusable water bottles. They are easy to find and are affordable items to purchase.
So I think switching to a reusable water bottle is one of the easiest first steps for anyone looking to inch towards a low waste or zero waste lifestyle.
2. Use Reusable Straws
Another of the easy to implement zero waste travel essentials is a reusable straw. This also helps to reduce one’s overall plastic consumption.
Fortunately, many businesses both big and small, have already begun to make changes away from plastic drinking straws.
In fact, you’ll often find restaurants and bars serving drinks with recycled paper straws or even bamboo straws. Some businesses have even opted to go straw free.
Reusable straws are naturally compact, so they are easy to pack and keep with you in your bag when traveling around. Just be sure to bring your straw cleaner so you can clean it when you need to.
3. Switch to Shampoo Bars
Switching to shampoo and conditioner bars instead of bottled products is an exellent way to reduce waste. This goes for everyday use too, not just for travel days.
There are many innovative companies and brands out there making some very high quality shampoo and conditioner bars these days.
I recently made the switch to a shampoo bar myself and use one from Lush.
Since these products come with no additonal packaging, they are far more sustainable than traditional bottled shampoo and conditioner.
I urge you to give these a try if you’ve been curious. I was skeptical myself, but finally took the plunge. In the end I’m really happy I did.
As an added benefit for us travelers, we’ll have fewer liquids to deal with going through security. They are also lighter in weight, which is awesome for saving on those hefty bag fees.
4. Use Reusable Containers
Another great way to incorporate zero waste travel essentials into your life is to invest in reusable and refillable travel containers.
Preferably these would be either glass or silicon, but don’t throw away the ones you have just because they are plastic. Use them until you can’t use them anymore.
Then recycle them if possible.
But if you don’t already have some reusable travel containers, pick up some to use for your next trip.
You can use these in place of purchasing single use plastic travel size toiletries, thus reducing your carbon footprint even more.
Just fill up your reusable bottles with the products you already have at home. Honestly, this has saved me a ton of money. Those single use travel products are way over priced.
I recommend getting a pack with several different colors. Sometimes our products all look the same, so it will be easier to tell them apart.
I may or may not have confused my tanning lotion for shampoo during my trip to Morocco. But that’s also a story for another time.
5. Switch to a Bamboo Toothbrush
Switching to a bamboo toothbrush over a plastic toothbrush isn’t exactly zero waste, but it is low waste, so I’ll mention it here anyway.
Using a bamboo toothbrush is a simple switch anyone can make. They are all the rage these days, so you can also find these just about everywhere.
These are just as affordable as any other toothbrush, but they are recyclable and not made from plastic. Once you make the switch, you’ll hardly notice a difference.
You can get bamboo toothbrushes with a variety of different bristles. So if you prefer a medium or soft bristle, both will be available to you.
Don’t forget to recycle these when you change them out.
6. Carry Bamboo Utensils
Bamboo utensils have also become very popular as zero waste travel essentials become more mainstream.
With their popularity, comes wide availability. You can pretty much find these anywhere.
Once you have a set, bamboo utensils are easy to take with you. They are light weight and easy to pack. After use, they are also easy to clean.
Be sure to select a set with a carrier of some type. This will keep your utensils clean when you’re carrying them around.
You don’t want anything dirty or unsanitary in your bag rubbing up on your fork.
7. Choose Photos over Souvenirs
One of my favorite zero waste travel essentials is not something you buy, but something you don’t have to buy.
I encourage every one of you out there, please stop buying souvenirs.
When I say this, I am referring to the souvenirs we buy that have no meaning for us, or the person we bought them for.
I am referring to the keychains, magnets, figurines, snowglobes, and pens. These are the things you buy last minute at the airport. Just stop buying these things.
I promise you, no one is going to be upset if you don’t bring them a piece of plastic trash molded into the shape of a starfish from your trip to Florida. Not one person.
Let’s all collectively stop buying these cheap, crappy, wasteful souvenirs. They are over priced and completely unnecessary.
Now if you want to buy a pound of coffee from the coffee tour you took in Guatemala, do that. Or the handmade Moroccan rug from Marrakech, yes do that too.
Reserve your souvenir purchases for things that matter, things that are special. If you’re looking for it at the airport, it’s neither of those things.
What you’ll remember most about your trip are the fun things you did. So take lots of pictures. You can keep those for a lifetime. And guess what… They’re zero waste.
8. Bring a Reusable Coffee Cup
While it’s a bit bulkier than some of the other zero waste travel essentials on this list, a reusable coffee cup is a great addition to your travel kit if you’re a daily coffee drinker.
You’ll save the planet from a lot of unnecessary cups, and many coffee shops and cafes will even give you a small discount for bringing your own container.
Also, once you get in the habit of bringing your own cup, you’ll find this it beneficial in other instances too.
Like when you’re wanting to find a way to smuggle the rest of your wine out of the restaurant you just ate at. Just sayin, it can come in handy.
9. Switch to Toothpaste Tablets
This is one of the zero waste travel essentials for the more advanced and ambitious traveler.
Toothpast tablets, instead of toothpaste, can be used when brusing your teeth in order to eliminate the plastic waste that is the tube that regular toothpaste comes in.
Toothpaste tablets work by just popping one in your mouth and chewing it until it foams up and becomes like a paste. You then use that foamy paste to brush your teeth.
The toothpast tablets come in a glass mason jar that can then be reused or recycled.
For travelers, toothpaste tablets are easier to travel with since you’re not carrying around another liquid(ish) product, and they are definitley lighter weight.
Now let me be honest with you on this one.
I recently purchased my first package of toothpaste tablets. So far, I’m not a fan. I find that they don’t foam up very well and taste very salty. They also don’t have the minty flavor I like.
I am however not giving up. The plan is to finish the package I have then seek out other options.
If you’ve found one that you like please, help a girl out. I really want to like these. Send me a message and tell me which ones to buy.
10. Carry a Reusable Bag
A list of zero waste travel essentials would not be complete without mentioning the most obvious, a reusable bag.
Reusable bags can help eliminate a signficant amount of waste, especially plastic bags.
Just about everybody who is traveling ends up making a purchase at some point or another, whether that be take out food from a local restaurant or something we forgot to pack.
So having a reusable plastic free bag on you will prevent you from having to use a single use plastic one .
Don’t overthink you’re reusable bag, just pick something you will actually use. This can even just be a regualar tote bag. Be sure to pick something sturdy with handles on it.
If you are planning a long term trip, you can even consider bringing reusable produce bags as well.
Produce bags will come in handy if you need to do grocery shopping during your trip. These are also very light weight and usually come in multiples when purchased online.
Having a reusable bag with you will come in handy more often than you think. Plus, they weigh almost nothing and can fit just about anywhere.
You don’t even need to buy one. Just look around your house, I know you’ve got one laying around somewhere.
I’m including a zero waste travel tips video here from one of my favorite travel vloggers.
Kristen mentions some of the items included on this list, but also goes a bit further. She mentions options like rechargable batteries and the menstrual cup.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about these 10 Zero Waste Travel Essentials and that you’ve found at least one thing from this list you can implement into your own routine. If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it. It really helps me a lot. Thanks for reading.
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Eden FitePart-time Traveler | Dog Lover | Avoider of Crowds
I help busy people find creative ways to travel more.