Learning From My Mistakes

Zero Waste Traveling 2.0


My husband and I just got back from a wonderful 4-day trip to Portland, Oregon. Typically, when traveling, I need to be as comfortable as possible. Meaning- not too hot or cold, not hungry, hydrated, etc. If you saw my older post (read HERE) about our successes and failures with zero waste travel I was determined to reduce my waste this go around. That meant being really intentional and planning out our travel and also our time in Portland.

Read below to hear about our successes this time and one or two of our slip-ups.





1.       Getting an air bnb vs. a hotel

This for sure allowed us to reduce our waste a lot. By renting an air bnb vs a hotel room we were able to save money and live more like we do at home as opposed to out of a hotel room. Our air bnb had a mini fridge, coffee maker, toaster, and a set of dishes. Our first day in Portland we bought a box of cereal and a cardboard milk container and that was our breakfast for the week. Breakfast foods, the on the go kind, are typically packaged with lots of waste so we eliminated this by eating at our air bnb in the mornings. It also allowed us to have slower, more intentional mornings, instead of having to get up and out right away. It also allowed us to store some fresh produce as snacks!

2.       Packing snacks in stasher bags for the plane

This was a big are of growth for us. I don’t know what it is about being in an airport but it makes me want to eat like shit and basically behave completely differently than my normal self. And being vegan in an airport is no frickin joke, like your best bet is trail mix and that’s it. Instead, we packed our stasher bags with our remaining bulk snacks at home. This served so many purposes! It allowed me to be fed and therefore pleasant to be around, it eliminated our waste, and we were able to use the stasher bags repeatedly on our trip to pack day snacks as well! I cannot recommend these enough, I am officially obsessed!


3.       Re-filling our stasher bags at a local grocery store

See above on why stasher bags are better than everything. Basically, after we (I) devoured all of our snacks on the plane we (I) had to refill our reserves. When we went to get groceries our first day, we were sure to pick a grocery store with bulk foods as well. We refilled our stasher with snacks for the hike and for our return flight home!

4.       Bringing re-usable water bottles

This is an always one for us but I noticed how many people were buying water bottles at the airport so it deserves a spot on this list. BRING YOUR OWN WATER BOTTLE. This one just makes sense because 1) you aren’t contributing to plastic pollution and 2) you are spending literally thousands of dollars on airport water (ok not thousands but we can all agree its overpriced). Bring your own water bottle, just do it.

5.       Bringing a travel coffee mug

I packed my joco cup coffee mug and it was a great decision. One of my favorite things to do on vacation is try all the local coffee, this allowed me to do that waste free! No to-go cups here!


6.       Bringing travel cutlery, straws, and napkins

These are always in our backpacks so it didn’t take a lot of planning and foresight but it did allow us to eat from food trucks and ice cream stands without and packaging waste! See this POST about where you can get your own!




1.       Food truck packaging

All of our slip-ups involved food. A big thing in Portland is all of the incredible food trucks. I can honestly say if we lived there and had our own Tupperware/tiffins this would not have happened. But alas, we were traveling and did not pack Tupperware because you have to draw the line somewhere. We ate lunch at food trucks one day and unfortunately my husbands came in plastic packaging and mine came in cardboard. We took them back to the air bnb, washed them, and recycled, but still…. could have been avoided.

2.       To-go food in packaging

One of our days was spent hiking. It was incredible and beautiful! However, we knew we would be hungry after and bought a vegan breakfast burrito and essential a vegan lunchable box from the grocery store to eat post-hike. These both came wrapped and boxed in plastic. Another example of if we were at home this would have been avoided but sometimes you have to compromise!


Honestly, I feel like we learned a lot from the last time we traveled and did a really good job! I think it would be really difficult to travel “zero” waste and pack clothes to wear. What have you found success with when traveling and reducing your waste?