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6 SIMPLE PACKING TIPS TO REDUCE SINGLE-USE PLASTIC ON YOUR NEXT VACATION

Belize San Ignacio Market Reusable Bags Zero Waste Travel

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Have you ever tried to go zero waste on vacation? We just did it on our trip to Belize and it was freaking hard but we made it work thanks to some zero waste essentials we packed! Now we’re sharing with you the packing checklist that helped us avoid single-use plastics while on the road.

And before you roll your eyes and think, “where will my snorkel gear and blow-up donut floatie go with all this zero waste stuff?!” Well, we’re also giving you a list of lightweight and easy-to-pack options! We are living proof that zero waste products and pool floaties can co-exist in a carry-on!

Reusable bag ✔

tip:

  • Are you planning to do any shopping at Duty Free or the local markets? Headed on a shopping spree in New York City? Bring a reusable bag (or 5) to avoid single-use plastic bags. Plus, if you’re going to certain countries like Australia, they are banned anyway!
  • Planning to buy produce on your trip? Take a few Sol + Spirit organic cotton produce bag* with you. Get 15% with code: ECOTRAVEL15

products we’ve travelled with:

 

zero waste travel tips wellness travelled produce bags
Using Sol + Spirit produce bags to carry some tropical fruit
zero waste travel reusable cloth bag
Zero waste duty-free shop with our cloth bags!

Reusable straw ✔

tip:

  • whenever you go to a bar, restaurant, or order a coconut off the beach – always preface you have your own straw when you order – and if there is a language barrier, show and point to the straw or get out the Google translate app!

products we’ve travelled with:

 

zero waste travel reusable bamboo straw

 Reusable water bottle ✔

tips:

  • Get the flight attendant to fill up your bottle on the plane to avoid plastic cups
  • Bring your bottle on day trips to avoid the need to purchase plastic water bottles

products we’ve travelled with:

  • Life Factory glass water bottles
  • If you’re somewhere with limited clean drinking water, we recommend the Wayfarer or the Berkey Sport, which both have built in water filters.

 

zero waste travel reusable water bottle travel mug food container
no plastic on the plane for us with these zero waste travel essentials!

 

 

Travel mug ✔

tips:

  • Get the flight attendant to fill up your travel mug with coffee/tea on the plane to avoid the paper cups
  • Bring your travel mug with you when you know you might want a caffeine boost to get you through that jetlag or busy day walking on the beach 😉

products we’ve travelled with:

Food containers and cutlery ✔

Short Haul Flight Tip:

  • Pack a meal for the plane to avoid the single-use plastic packaged food available for purchase. I don’t even accept the free food anymore! As long as you’re not packing liquid, snacks are generally fine to clear security, but check with your airline in advance if you’re unsure.

Long Haul Flight Tip:

  • If you are taking a long haul flight, select no meal when you purchase your ticket – and if this isn’t an option on the booking site, consider calling the airline to get them to void the meal. If it is impossible to NOT get a meal, then it’s better to just eat it, otherwise you will be wasting the plastic AND the food as the airline will not re-serve your meal to someone else.

products we’ve travelled with:

  • StasherBags (packed dry cereal, also good for snacks and sandwiches)
  • Abeego Wraps (packed dry snacks with these)
  • Minimal Bento Box – comes with utensils! (lightweight material, packed a salad in this and ate on the plane)
  • LunchBots small round containers (leakproof, perfect for salad dressings, hummus dip, etc.)
  • ToGo Cutlery set (comes with bamboo fork, knife, and spoon and a carrying case)

 

zero waste travel product cereal stasherbag
We used StasherBags for our cereal

Reusable toiletry containers ✔

tip:

  • Instead of buying small single-use travel containers from the drug store – put your favourite toiletry products into reusable containers. For the most part, we put our toiletries into 100ml silicone or stainless steel containers, i.e. shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, body wash, and toothpaste.

products we’ve travelled with:

Now, before you stress over space and weight – know that we carried ALL of these items and still had room for camera gear (including a drone), snorkel gear, laptop, clothes, shoes, etc. etc. We did not check any bags – we did all carry-on. And if you’re really struggling to fit everything, maybe pack one less pair of shoes to make up for it. I promise you won’t miss the shoes but you will feel amazing when you look at an empty waste basket in your hotel room each day.

zero waste product image 3
Abeego Food wrap kept these snacks fresh all week long in Belize

SIDEBAR: No matter how prepared you are, expect the unexpected. On our Belize trip we both ran into feminine hygiene issues. In future we will pack a “Diva Cup” to cut back on waste from tampons and pads. Also, Belize doesn’t have the same septic system as in North America and as such we had to throw our toilet paper in the garbage. We also had one restaurant that gave us straws even though we showed them our bamboo straws and said, “no straw please, we have our own.” We also ordered a tea and realized after it was individually wrapped. Don’t beat yourself up when things don’t go to plan, just do the best you can with the resources you have.

Do you have any zero waste travel tips or stories? Let us know in the comments below!

*This post may contain affiliate links. These links offer us a small commission at no extra cost to you. 

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