When I turned eighteen, I moved from a small town in North Carolina to a big city in Ontario, Canada. Needless to say, it was a bit of an adjustment. And when you live in a different country from the rest of your family, you have to travel often. In the first few trips I realized I was creating a lot of waste, from the coffee cups to food packaging to simply not being prepared.
I don’t like to say reducing your carbon footprint or even going zero waste is easy, because it isn’t easy for everyone. But if you take a few minutes to prepare yourself before your travels, you can stay green and eco-friendly while traveling.
PACK LIGHT BUT DON'T FORGET YOUR ZERO WASTE ESSENTIALS
Extra weight requires more fuel no matter how you’re traveling, so packing light is always best for the environment. If you’re flying, you’ll avoid extra costs for checked luggage. This is easier said than done, but if you pack just the essentials, you can do it.
And instead of purchasing travel sized containers to decant your personal care products, you can save small glass jars and bottles (like our mini sizes) and use them for traveling. It saves so much room in your bag and you’ll still have all of your products with you.
While you’ll want to pack lightly, there are a few zero waste essentials that will help you create less trash. Start with bringing your own coffee cup, water bottle, and reusable utensils. You can still get your caffeine fix, stay hydrated, and enjoy your food without creating unnecessary waste. You’ll also save money on purchasing bottled water.
If you’ve got room for a little extra, think about bringing a couple of reusable produce bags and shopping bags to make grocery shopping at your destination a lot easier.
You can also bring your own home made snacks and meals to cut down on packaging and food expenses. This is one of the easiest ways to cut down on waste (and costs) when flying.
I like to pack plant based, nutrient dense snacks that will fill me up so I don’t need to buy anything along the way. Trail mix, roasted chickpeas, and even whole pieces of fruit are my usual go-tos.
USE PUBLIC TRANSIT, WALK, OR BIKE
Once you’ve made it to your destination, think about taking a bus, walking, or renting a bike instead of renting a car. You’ll cut down on travel costs, get some exercise, and reduce your carbon footprint.
We do understand these options may not be available in every destination, so if you have to use a car, think about renting a hybrid or using a rideshare service. You’ll still get around town but you’ll use less fuel. Making choices for the environment isn’t about getting it all perfect, it’s about doing what you can with what you have.
One of my favorite ways to stay green while traveling is to eat local. Try to find a local grocery store or farmer’s market where you can get fresh, unpackaged foods. Traveling is hard enough on your body and the environment, but eating nourishing foods can help you feel like yourself without hurting the environment. It’ll also help you avoid packaging waste.
Aside from preparing your own foods, you can eat at local restaurants instead of the big chains. You’ll probably discover amazing food and you’ll support the local economy.
With a little preparation, staying green while traveling can help you reduce your travel costs and reduce your carbon footprint.
Sarah Price is a green beauty and self care writer with an obsession with holistic skincare. She writes about natural beauty, DIY recipes, self care tips, and more on her self titled blog.