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There is nothing better than a weekend road trip! Whether it's camping under the stars in a national park or heading to San Diego for the weekend, there are many ways to make your road trip ZERO (or very little) waste! 

Before we get into the list, the most important thing you can do is to plan ahead. When it comes to being a responsible human, always, always, plan ahead. Make a list of your meals and potential activities. Think about everything you may need. My next tip: do not worry about perfection. If you are considering being zero waste or just lowering your waste, congrats! You're taking an amazing step for our planet.

Now, on to the list:

Toiletries

  • Shampoo Bar 
  • Dr. Bronner's products (Their soap can be used as shampoo, body soap, and detergent)
  • Zero Waste Safety Razor 
  • Cloth Handkerchief (tip: turn old sheets into napkins and handkerchiefs)
  • Coconut Oil (I use it as a makeup remover and lotion)
  • Homemade Deodorant and chapstick
  • 100% Recycled Toilet Paper
  • Bamboo toothbrush
  • DIY Sunscreen (https://www.goingzerowaste.com/blog/diy-mineral-sunscreen)

Truth is, you can make everything you need. If you are in a time pinch, here are some great zero waste brands: Dr. Bronner's, Lush, Wild Minimalist, and Meow Meow Tweet. If you are staying in an Airbnb or hotel, bring your own eco-friendly products!

Reusables + Things for Meals

  • Cutlery Kit (@sustainableduo has a great set)
  • Cloth Napkin 
  • Mason Jar (They are super versatile. I use them for to-go cartons and as a cup.)
  • A Cooler (for all your meals!)
  • Reusable Bottle
  • Stainless Steel Straw
  • Produce Bags (for grocery stops)
  • Dish Soap/reusable sponges (Well Earth Goods has a great dish soap block)

Food + Snacks

Below are some ideas for snacks and meals on the go! Everything can be found in the bulk section of your grocery store OR be made before your trip!

  • Granola 
  • Snap peas
  • Roasted chickpeas 
  • Nuts
  • Homemade Bread
  • Nut Butter
  • Dried Fruit
  • Canning

If you're taking a short road trip, you can pack all of your meals in a cooler. For emergencies or longer trips, opt for restaurants who use sustainable practices. You can research different spots before your trip! Look for restaurants with vegetarian and vegan options using Happy Cow app. Always ask for no straw and to use your own container for to-go food. At gas stations look for hot food without packaging and produce by the register.

Composting can be a bit difficult while you're on the road. I recommend searching for composting facilities beforehand. You can keep a sealed small bin or bag that can be composted when you get home. If your road trip is longer and there is no other option, you can bury natural waste at a rest stop or secluded area.

Transportation + Entertainment

  • Electric/Hybrid Car (rental if needed)
  • Amtrak and local transportation (many big cities have bikes for rent)
  • Rent books from your local library
  • Listen to podcasts or audiobooks!

Miscellaneous 

  • Second-hand clothes or do a clothing exchange with friends!
  • Menstrual cup/underwear (Diva Cup or Thinx underwear)
  • Borrowed Camping Gear

Good luck and safe travels!! Just remember, the most environmentally friendly product is the one you didn't buy! Check your local thrift stores and ask friends and family first before making a purchase! Like I said before, don't focus on perfection. With practice, all of your waste-free dreams will come true!

Thanks for reading! My name is Courtney, "Courtney The Explorer". I've been living as a nomadic human for the past 5 years or so wandering mostly in Latin America because salsa dancing is life. I enjoy writing about embarrassing travel stories, rare vegan finds, and sex/relationships. My next adventure is teaching English in Busan, South Korea! If you have questions or would like to chat about traveling or life, let's connect! DM me on Instagram: @courtneytheexplorer (link: instagram.com/courtneytheexplorer) or email at hello@courtneytheexplorer.com AND check out my blogcourtneytheexplorer.com (link: courtneytheexplorer.com)!

Special thanks to WearMePro for allowing me to share my passion for travel! 

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