Low Waste Travel Tips!

It’s that time of year when we get excited for longer days that are perfect for camping, road trips, vacations to beautiful destinations, and if you have children, they are out of school!

When we travel, we try and leave as little trace of us as possible. It isn’t always easy but we plan ahead and do our best.

Low waste camping can happen! Did you know Sports Basement has all of the camping essentials you need for rent?  It’s a great way to try out products to see if you actually need it, then go buy it used or borrow it! Don’t forget to download your maps ahead of time so you don’t need printed ones!

For cooking, pack everything you can in reusable containers (hopefully ones you already have), take your cutlery from your kitchen drawer with you, pack the not paper towels, and don’t forget solid dish soap! Our favorite reusable is our Hydroflask wine cups with lids. Perfect for sitting and watching the sun set after a long day of hiking.

We did purchase a great camp cooking set that can go on the camp stove that nests inside itself but you can rent these or buy used or borrow from a friend! Pack up all of your cooking utensils and just wash as needed. When we would go camping for the weekend and wanted to be lazy with cooking because we knew we were hiking all day, we would cook ahead of time and save it in some Stasher Bags or other containers so all we had to do was heat it up and I brought extra utensils so we could pack the dirty ones in a bin to wash at home. Meal planning like this helps with reducing food waste too. Do what works best for your trip!

At night we use solar lamps that charge all day so we could play cards all night and had our chairs from when our son was in soccer to sit in. The key is to shop your closets, your friends closets, and get a little creative to avoid buying new things you may not need!

Camping and road trips allow us to take a little more things with us which can be great! But we still like to try and pack as few things as possible. After all, we have to pack it all up and unpack at the end…less is more!

When you plan your road trip with a zero waste mindset, plan your route to optimize gas mileage and make sure to prepare your vehicle for travel, look for hotels that lean toward being “green” , remember all of your reusable cups and cutlery, pack snacks in reusable containers, make note of any refill stores along your route in case you forgot something, and eat at the local restaurants when you can.

Souvenirs on trips can be exciting but try to limit what you don’t need and try to support local artists if you do want to buy something!

If you’re planning on flying, consider taking your reusable water bottle as a lot of airports now have filtered water available to refill, keep your boarding pass digitally, check out the airline to see what their sustainability goals are, opt for in-flight beverages from a can or glass bottle if possible, check out a book from the library ahead of time or have a digital one, and have all of your maps and passes stored digitally.

Don’t forget to pack light too! Refill stores are a great place to find things you need for travel in reusable containers and smaller quantities. You can take just the amount of toothpaste tablets that you need, just the right amount of lotion or a lotion bar, just the right amount of shampoo or a shampoo bar, solid serum bars can replace your liquid skincare routine, and grab just the right amount of sunscreen in a reusable silicone tube or pick up a sunscreen butter in a tin. It’s so much fun to try and travel without any liquids, refill stores like ours can help with this!

When you reach your destination, try and rent a hybrid and at the hotel opt to not have room service every day. Most of all, have fun!!!

Leave No Trace Principles are highly recommended to follow regardless of what type of travel you are taking. Plan ahead, stay on the trail or designated camp sites, pack it out, take only photos and leave the rest behind, be campfire safe, let the wildlife be wild and respect their space, and be considerate of others. This way everyone has a good time and nature is left the way it was.


All of these small changes add up and hopefully help you feel better about taking the trip! Travel is so important to see other cultures, visit family, get away from the daily grind and it can be done with less waste. Do what you can when you can. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

Have more tips? Drop them in the comments below!

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