Travel Tips for a No Waste Kitchen

Travel Tips for a No Waste Kitchen

Travel can make us reach for conveniences rather than continue our No Waste Kitchen journey. Try these ideas to reduce your waste on your next vacation.

Focusing on having a No Waste Kitchen is achievable even when you are traveling. Of course, some options may be easier than others, depending on where you go and how you travel.

No matter where you go, no matter what method of travel you use, no matter who is with you, eating while on a trip is obviously going to happen. When you aren’t at home, it’s hard to keep in line with your No Waste ideals.

There are a few things you can do while on a family vacation, or a business trip, or a girl’s weekend away to reduce your waste.

Overhead view of packed suitcase

Originally Published On: January 22, 2019

Last Updated On: May 11, 2020

Lodging: Book a Place with a Kitchen

If you are in charge of the travel details, try to find a place with a kitchen. Lately, if we are going somewhere for more than one night, and not staying with family, we have been looking at places on VRBO and AirBNB. It’s much more comfortable to have multiple bedrooms and a full kitchen.

Having your own kitchen will allow you to save so much money if you aren’t eating out at every single meal. It also allows you to do some basic grocery shopping and make the meals you know will get eaten so the food doesn’t go to waste.

When you have a kitchen at your travel destination, you are in control. Almost every rental with a kitchen will come fully stocked. That means no need for paper plates, paper towels, plastic cutlery, styrofoam takeout containers, and all of the other waste that often comes with eating out.

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Packing for a Trip

Bring your Travel Cups/Mugs

Whether you are traveling by plane or by car, bring your travel cups. I always have mine with me, and I bring one for my boys, too. My husband will often share mine if we are flying, but we bring our own if we are driving.

Travel by plane obviously requires security checks, so make sure the cup is empty on arrival. Every airport I’ve been through has a water bottle fill station or a basic water fountain. I fill them up at those before we get on the plane. It also saves me from having to buy water since we often fly on Spirit Airlines and it isn’t free!

If you are taking a road trip, then you have more leeway in what you bring and how much you pack. That’s when I make sure we each have our own travel cups filled with water before leaving the house and fill an extra or two to pack in the vehicle for refills. When we stop for gas, I’ll also fill any empty cups from the water fountain if I can.

For those who are coffee drinkers, bring your travel mug and ask for that to be filled when you get your coffee. You won’t have a wasted cup plus you already know it’s good for your drinks on the go.

Don’t Forget the Utensils

Cups aren’t the only waste that often comes from eating out while traveling. Think about all of the plastic forks, spoons, knives, and straws that most fast food places use. Having your own set of travel utensils won’t take up much space in your bag, and can cut down on a lot of waste.

My only word of caution would be to leave the knife at home if you are flying. No matter how good your intentions are, TSA may not approve of you bringing a knife on board if it’s made of metal. You may be able to get away with a set made from bamboo, though.

Pack a Travel Cooler Bag

Traveling with a cooler bag is a great way to keep your food and drinks cold. When driving, set this in a place that’s easy to reach and keep your water and other possible snacks in the bag to stay cool.

We had a crazy two-week-long trip in the summer of 2018 that took us to 5 different states and 7 national parks in that time. My mom brought the cooler bag so we were able to prepare sandwiches in our rental kitchen and keep them cool in the bag to eat for lunch at the parks.

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If you are flying, you probably can’t bring the cooler bag stocked, but it’s great to have once you reach your destination. Invest in one of the insulated tote bags because they can easily roll up to fit in the bottom of a suitcase to bring with you.

Cooking While Traveling: Get Spicy!

When we travel, especially to somewhere with a kitchen, I like to bring some of my own spices from home. We have a weeklong beach vacation at a timeshare that my family has been going to since before I was born. It’s our annual family reunion, and we each own our own condo there that comes with a fully equipped kitchen.

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Before leaving on vacation, I like to do a quick and basic meal plan. We look at what days we will be at the rental location for meals, and when we will be out, then work with that. I don’t make any complicated meals, but do want a few seasonings and spices.

Once I know the plan, I see what herbs and seasonings I’ll need and bring those from home. Rather than going out to buy a full bottle of parsley, I’ll use some mini mason jars to bring what I need with me.

Another option, if you have one laying around, is to use a weekly medicine container. You know, those ones with the day of the week on them? They are great for holding small things like the spices. Just make sure you find a way to label them. Before getting the mini mason jars, I tried this. It worked well, but I didn’t like using the plastic when I didn’t need to.

Your Turn

  • What other travel tips do you have for keeping your waste to a minimum?
  • Have you tried any of these ideas before? What worked for you?
  • How do you prefer to travel, by car or by plane?
  • Do you look for a rental with a kitchen in it? What’s your favorite place to book through?

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17 thoughts on “Travel Tips for a No Waste Kitchen”

  1. I’ve recently been trying to carry a set of utensils and a reusable coffee cup/ water bottle in my handbag – and it has been so handy! Not only do I not have to worry about creating waste, but it means I always have them when I need them! This is a great list of tips!

  2. These are great tips for minimising kitchen/food waste when travelling… we always take our travel mugs/water bottles and sets of travel knives/forks/spoons with us. I also like to stay places where there is a kitchen so we don’t have to eat out every day…

  3. We usually rent a house when we travel and it really does make a big difference! I applaud anyone who has committed to this life style!

  4. Absolutely with you on renting a home instead of a hotel room! Having a kitchen makes the whole trip so much nicer. Love the idea of bringing spices from home – the odds are slim even the most well-appointed kitchen would have what I’d usually cook with!

  5. Haha I do pretty much all of these! Good reminders for when we take a long-planned trip to Hawaii in about a month, where we’ll have a condo for home base. We will be packing picnic lunches with us every day, and I always bring some reusable containers from home for things like this to further save on waste. (since that is one thing that you almost never find in rental units)

  6. I agree that renting or checking into a place with a kitchen can be a money saver. When we made road trips back when my kids were younger, we packed as much as we could bring and it saved us some money.

  7. This is pretty cool and it seem so convenient, I don’t travel as much as I would like to! Hoping to change that. I usually travel once or maybe twice a year and we usually stay at a all inclusive hotel. But I would definitely consider taking our own kitchen utensils if we stayed at a place with a kitchen. These are great specially when traveling with children.

  8. I LOVE having a place with a kitchen when we travel. With two small kids it makes things so much easier!

  9. I would love to pack up my entire kitchen every time we rent a cottage for summer! But these will do for now lol…Thanks for the insights.

  10. Melanie williams

    Great tips here for sure, as we are keen on no waste. I do like the idea of getting spicy, as I love my spicy foods yummy xx

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