Tips for Traveling Zero-Waste

I have been extremely fortunate to have been able to travel so much for my age! Whether that has been overseas or road trips up the coast with the family! Either case, I make a point to reduce my garbage impact as much as possible. Zero-Waste travel doesn't have to be a hassle, all it requires is thinking ahead a bit! Here are my tips for when I'm on the road

The Basics
  1. Reusable Water Bottle/travel container/ coffee mug

I can not stress this enough. Always always always bring a reusable water bottle no matter where you are going! Invest in something good quality that meets your needs. I tend to carry a large reusable jar with a crochet cozy because they have a wide enough top that I can dual purpose it for as a food container, store food scraps to compost, or coffee mug.However my favorite is a reusable red medical grade water bottle! 

reusable water bottle

2) Reusable Straws

3) Reusable napkin/ handkerchief

4) Or just get yourself a ZippNada travel kit…

# selfpromotion, but for real, if you are like me and just want everything in one place that doesn't take up space and that can be thrown in your car. This kit is for you. It comes with a 12 oz container for food or beverages, a reusable napkin, not one but TWO stainless steel straws a cleaner and travel bamboo utensil kit. Plus it is small enough to be put into a bag/backpack/drawer or can be worn as its own bag, making it a no-brainer to brings for all of your adventures!

zero waste kit


Ah, toiletries… a bunch of miniature plastic bottles. Well, not today here are some zero waste swaps!

  1. Shampoo Bars- a three in one alternative to shampoo, conditioner, AND body wash!
  2. Coconut oil- There is a joke that coconut oil can fix anything- okay maybe not EVERYTHING but most things. Coconut oil is an amazing multipurpose tool great for oil pulling for oral health, hair oil, makeup remover, you name it!
  3. Bamboo toothbrush
  4. Reusable washcloth- This can be used to wash face or body and can double as makeup remover wipes!

Road Trips

My parents LOVE caravaning, summers consisted for the four of us and a Great Dane packed up like sardines wondering around, camping, and stopping at interesting roadside attractions. That must of been what sparked my enjoyment for “van life” this cramped lifestyle can be a zero-wasters heart attack! With fast food, event ticket/ bracelets/ water bottlers and plastic toiletries , the struggle is real. Don't fret, whether you are in a 22-hour car ride or long-term nomad this is what I use on the road:

van life


Snacks are the bomb! My favorite memory was getting the peanut m&ms from the gas station, ugh so good. Gone are those days but I still indulge in yummy travel snacks. Being frugal I favor making my own trail mix, energy snack balls, and granola bars that don't need to be refrigerated in addition to package free fruits like apples, bananas, nectarines, pares. The bulk section often has delicious snack foods that aren't necessarily healthy if you're picking up what I’m putting down. You can get trail mix, crackers, candy, and dried fruit- just be sure to use reusable produce bags!

bulk food


One can only eat so much fruit before the tummy begins to rumble for some real food! Unfortunately when traveling fast food is the prominent option. If time and budget permits opt for a sit-down restaurant or dinner. If not, fast food like subway is a great alternative, just ask for no plastic bag and use your own drink cup.

My favorite, however, is Chipotle, I can eat 100% zero-waste by getting the kids box. The kids' box option is tacos or quesadillas with sides, a drink, and chips or fruit for a whopping $ 4.00! The boxes themselves don't have plastic lining and are able to be composted along with the chip bag or the orange peels, the aluminum foil is recyclable, and I use my own cup and eating utensils. Chipotle is the best!  


Um, compost? But we're traveling here that's not available. I keep a big jar or paper bag that I will fill with food scraps and paper until I return home to compost it in my own bin- or find an area that offers composting where I can properly dispose of it.

Prepared like boss

Pack your basics (cough, cough ZippNada travel kit) as we talked about above. Be prepared to conquer!  

How to clean reusable gear when on the go

When I travel one of the things I always pack is a little thing of dish soap so I can sanitize my reusable water bottles/ utensils/ container. I do this in the hotel and public bathrooms (no shame) and have even asked a Starbucks to rinse once! Wherever there was water I was rinsing! If water wasn't available, I would simply wipe out the container or utensils with a cloth or (gasp) paper napkins until I was able to clean properly.