Traveling Internationally as a Zero Waster

Eco-Tourism Travel Zero Waste

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Photos by Bobby Boone

Long flights, quick layovers, time changes, poor Wifi and dead electronics; are every travelers' nightmare.

Flying internationally can be a nightmare all in itself, but imagine having to travel abroad without consuming an ounce of trash. That would have to be hard, right?

Well, luckily I have taken a couple of international trips as a zero waster, and can give you the perfect tips for trash tree travels.

Pack Snacks

Even if you eat shortly before arriving to an airport, by the time you drag your luggage across a major city,  check-in and check bags, make it through TSA hassle and walked down one of those never-ending hallways to get to your terminal; you're going to be hungry. Bring snacks.

Pack Your Zero Waste Utensils

Not sure if I needed to state the obvi, but just in case. Bring your zero waste essentials: a food container (larger size), a reusable cup, silverware, cloth napkin and reusable grocery bags.

Grab Your Flight Meal at the Airport

Have you seen a flight meal lately. EVERYTHING IS PACKAGED! Avoid an airborne trash fest by ordering food from a dine-in restaurant at the airport. I recommend sitting at the bar, because it eliminates the whole dine-in theatricals. You can order immediately and have your food packed-up before it's time to board.

Arrive Early

There is nothing worst than getting to the airport too late to grab food and water, trust me I know from experience. So get some cushion time for settling down in the airport. If not you will not be able to eat for six or more hours.

Inform Your Steward(ess)

Tell your steward(ess) about your zero waste lifestyle and ask that they accommodate your zero waste requests. For instance, when the drinks start rolling in, ask that your steward(ess) pours them into your reusable cup.

Decline Stuff

Your going to be pushed with so much crap that you could easily travel back home with a full carry-on of unintended trash. Say no to the international headphones, the eye mask*, the flight blankets and pillows. Also avoid airport maps, brochures from tours and hotel toiletries.

Download Airline Apps

Go paperless with your boarding pass by downloading the mobile app for each airline you will fly with. Most airlines allow you to use mobile check in and boarding passes. You must download the app and check-in via mobile prior to arriving at the airport (it takes a while).

Think Ahead

Downloading, packing up and everything in between is not for the faint at heart. Do some pre-planning to make your trip zero waste friendly.

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