Lightweight, airplane-friendly items to pack for low-waste travel.
(This is not a sponsored post, but some of my travel expenses were paid for by Hofsas House.)
I'm not okay with the fact that so much of our trash ends up in the oceans (18 billion pounds of plastic annually by one account), so I decided to pack a few extra reusable items in my bag when I flew to California last month.
I know some people think the impact of bringing your own utensils isn't really going to make a difference, but this way of thinking is kind of like the all-or-nothing mindset that makes dieting so ineffective.
My philosophy—for both nutrition and sustainability—is that no action is too small and doing what feels right for you is what really matters.
How to Use This Low-Waste Travel Guide:
I share a few of the reusable products I packed in my bag, but your situation might look a little bit different.
Try to consider where you're going and when you might be forced to use single-use plastic if you don't have another alternative.
Other considerations include whether you're flying,
You don't need to buy anything new. Look out for reasonable substitutes that are already in your kitchen.
What to Pack for Low-Waste Travel:
They could be bamboo or a regular set from your kitchen drawer. (You can also easily find silverware at most thrift stores.)
I travel with a bamboo utensil set that has a knife, fork, spoon, and chopsticks.
I like my bamboo set because it's lightweight and the knife is relatively flat and dull (meant for lighter cutting and spreading jobs). I haven’t had any issues getting it through airport security.
I never want to feel forced into choosing between the overpriced plastic water bottles at the airport or the tiny cupfuls they hand out on the plane.
Bringing along a reusable water bottle is one of the easiest ways to use less plastic (and stay hydrated) when you travel.
This one is a no brainer, but it had to be said.
Travel coffee mug
Beyond a reusable water bottle, I’ve also started traveling with a second travel mug for coffee and tea.
You can have your own mug filled at most coffee shops. I've also used mine in hotels that only have paper or styrofoam cups in their rooms.
If you have space, it's also nice to bring along a few tea bags or loose tea and a diffuser from your regular kitchen stash. It's like the instant comforts of home. You've got to try it.
Clear storage bags
I first wrote about silicone storage bags in my Reusable Kitchen Products post, but there are a lot of reasons to love them for low-waste travel, too.
I like Stasher brand for toiletries and snacks, but you're really just looking for any clear bag that zips shut. You want to be able to see what's inside, and you don’t want to worry about any suitcase spillage.
Plastic Ziplock bags can be okay for this, too. I like to wash and reuse them whenever possible.
Stainless steel straw
There’s been a lot of talk about single-use straws recently.
I think packing a stainless steel straw could be a good idea if you routinely order drinks to-go from coffee shops or restaurants when you travel.
Or if you just happen to already have one.
It's small and lightweight so why not?
I stuck a reusable straw in my utensil bag in case I had the need for it, but usually, I just opt to go straw-less.
(There are times when plastic straws are medically necessary, and of course, that's a totally different circumstance.)
Reusable shopping bag
These are nice if you're staying somewhere that has a kitchen and plan on cooking during your trip.
I like the reusable shopping bags that roll up and cinch closed so you can easily pack them in your suitcase.
Bring extra for non-food items like souvenirs and dirty laundry!
Would you add something to this list?
Share your best low-waste travel tip in the comments.
California in Photos
A few highlights from our trip to California in case you're interested!