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Wanting to maintain a low-waste lifestyle can seem intimidating when you think about traveling. After all, can travel even be sustainable?

Travel is inherently bad for the environment but then again just existing on planet earth means that we have a carbon footprint of some kind. Before you book any flights, I encourage you to see what other means of transportation are available; travel by boat, train, and bus all have smaller carbon footprints meaning they are a bit better for the planet.

Sometimes travel is necessary. What’s important is that we all try to minimize the amount we travel and be conscious of the choices we are making. So, whether you are flying across the world, or taking a three-hour train ride, these tips will help you minimize your waste and lower the impact of your travel.


Water bottle: Seems like a no brainer, right? Bringing an (empty) water bottle not only helps you eliminate the need for a single use plastic one, but it also ensures that you’ll stay hydrated while traveling. Simply fill it up once you get through security so you’ll stay hydrated the rest of your travel and your trip. My top tip is to find a water bottle that you love. One that makes it easier to remember and that keeps you hydrated.

Thermos: Traveling can be exhausting, which usually results in more cups of coffee and tea. A thermos/ reusable coffee cup will allow you to indulge in that extra cup of joe without creating more waste. There are also many brands that carry collapsible cups so they take up very little space when they aren’t being used.

Stasher bags/ Tupperware: Stasher bags can be immensely helpful for reducing your waste when traveling. Not to mention that bringing your own snacks, rather than buying them at an airport, can save you a lot of money. But that’s not to say that you NEED one of these nifty bags. Using small Tupperware is just as useful. Also, if you already own plastic bags use them until they can’t be used anymore! Don’t just use them once and then toss them. Wipe them clean and use them time and time again, you may just be surprised at how long they last.

  • Tip: pack oatmeal, chia seeds, cinnamon, and some nut butter in a small Tupperware. Once through security, ask a coffee stand (or flight attendant) to fill it with hot water, close lid for a few minutes and waalaa! A delicious and filling breakfast, waste free…especially when you bring a reusable utensil to enjoy it with.

  • Tip: Check out my blog post below for sustainable snack ideas that you can pack in your reusable bags or Tupperware containers.

Spork: The trusty spork is a necessity for me when traveling. It can be all too easily to mindlessly grab plastic utensils when we are traveling just because they are convenient. A spork takes us a tiny amount of space in your bag, backpack, or purse and weighs practically nothing. I recommend leaving one in your bag at all times so even when you aren’t traveling you have a sustainable option at hand.

Straw: We’ve all seen the video of how plastic straws (and all other single use plastic) drastically effect our planet, wildlife, and sea turtles. The simplest thing to do? DON’T USE A STRAW. I mean…are they really necessary for most of us? If you do really enjoy drinking out a straw, purchase a sustainable replacement, perhaps made of stainless steel or bamboo. Like a spork, your straw can always live in your bag and is ready for you when you need it.

And there you have it. Simple swaps to that will help you become a more sustainable traveler. Never underestimate the power of collective small actions. Encourage your friends and family to make these swaps along with you and don’t be afraid to talk to others you meet about these tips. Living a low waste lifestyle isn’t about being perfect, it’s about continually aiming to be a conscious consumer, traveler, and steward of the earth.


Hydroflask water bottle

Miir coffee/tea cup

Stasher Bags

Sea to Summit Spork

Reusable Straw


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