Plastic-free travel: holidaymakers relaxing in a hammock and drinking out of enamel mugs.

Minimalist travel: packing your suitcase for a zero-waste holiday

Disposable crockery for camping holidays or travel size toiletry products generates a lot of plastic waste, but such waste can easily be avoided. Instead try and choose environmentally friendly alternatives, which will last you for many years and help you to save money. By adopting this method, you will be able to travel (almost) plastic-free. In this article, you will read about what you need to be mindful of when packing your suitcase to make your holiday more environmentally friendly.

Travelling plastic-free: eco-friendly toiletries

Even whilst on holiday you don’t need to do without your everyday toiletries. The following toiletries and cosmetic products are everyday essentials, which you will find in every suitcase such as shower gel, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, and toothbrush. Packing your suitcase with all your toiletry products, which are in bottles and tubs can of course add unnecessary weight to your suitcase. Therefore, some space-saving and eco-friendly alternatives are needed.

By following some of the tips below you can travel plastic-free without compromising on your daily beauty routine:

  • Put some of your skincare products into refillable travel-size bottles or tubs. This will give you a more environmentally friendly alternative to mini travel size items from the chemist. This will also help you to save weight at the same time.

Zero-waste holiday:  travel plastic-free with eco-friendly toiletries products.
  • In case you need a travel toothbrush try to make sure you get one made from wood. They are made from renewable resources, and they are usually completely compostable except for the bristles.

  • Make sure to pack solid shower gel, shampoo, or deodorant these low or zero-waste alternatives in comparison to conventional toiletries eliminate any unnecessary packaging waste. They also save space and are better value than buying liquid toiletry products.


If you are travelling with other people, you may end up having some of the same items on your packing lists. A good idea would be to reduce the weight of each suitcase by sharing some items such as sun cream, toothpaste, and travel adapters.

Zero-waste holiday: eco-friendly crockery, net bag, and stainless-steel drinking straws.

Zero-waste holiday: eco-friendly crockery & water bottle

When out and about on holiday and you are exploring the region, you will always need to have a drink with you and something to snack on. You should pack an eco-friendly water bottle and some reusable Tupperware to avoid using plastic bottles or wrapping sandwiches in cling film.

By using the following eco-friendly tableware, you are going to be well equipped for a zero-waste holiday:

  • Water bottles made from glass, stainless steel, or BPA-free plastic

  • Tupperware made from stainless stell, glass or wood

  • Tote bags or reusable net bags for shopping (also practical for souvenirs)

  • If needed, a reusable Thermo mug for coffee "to go"

  • If needed, beeswax cloths for wrapping food to keep it fresh

  • For activity/camping holidays: reusable travel crockeries such as a fork, spoon, or knife made from stainless steel or wood and a pan made from stainless steel

Eco-friendly travel packing tips: packing light

Travelling light not only protects your back, but it also helps to keep your holiday eco-friendly the higher the weight in addition to the passengers onboard the given mode of transport the higher the fuel consumption will be. This also means that more emissions are going to be emitted. Reducing the weight of your baggage, therefore, reduces the number of harmful emissions.

Here are a couple of tips on how to travel as a minimalist:

  • Make a list a couple of weeks before your holiday: this way you won’t forget anything and this will also help you to avoid packing unnecessary items that you won’t need.

  • Whilst packing think about the local climate of the region and what activities you plan on doing during your holiday. You should also consider- is it going to be very hot or have you got a lot of sports activities planned because you will need a fresh change of clothes more often than if the weather is pleasant or cool.

  • Think about which items you really need for your holiday: if you’re planning on going on a cycling and walking holiday you can probably leave your tie and handbag at home.

  • Before going on holiday find out about what facilities the accommodation offer: if they offer enough towels then you don’t need to pack any. Ideally, you will be able to do your washing whilst on holiday.

Minimalist travel tips: two holidaymakers carrying a rucksack and eco-friendly water bottles.
  • Take a couple of snacks with you for the journey: you can also buy food for the following days from local markets. If you stroll through the local regional markets, you might discover some fantastic local cuisine, which you would have otherwise missed out on.

  • Try to limit yourself even when shopping locally: if you consciously limit the space in your suitcase or backpack you will be less tempted to make unnecessary purchases when you get there. You should only really buy souvenirs if you really like them, and you think they will come in handy.


If you enjoy reading whilst on holiday then an eReader is a good alternative to book as it will help you to save space. However, you should only get an eReader if you are a keen reader and you often enjoy reading books. If you only read a book every now and again then a normal paperback book would be a more suitable choice.

Eco-friendly luggage: information on sustainable luggage

If you want to travel more environmentally friendly, then it isn’t only the contents of your suitcase that matters even when choosing your suitcase or backpack you can still look for more sustainable products. Below are a couple of tips on which features you should look for:

  • Buy suitcases from manufacturers who already pay attention to sustainability during production. In addition, try and look for manufactures’ who, for example, have set themselves the target of manufacturing suitcases that are low in emissions and help to conserve resources.

  • Choose high-quality products, which will last you a long time. Some manufacturers also offer a repair service or spare parts for their suitcases such as telescopic handles or replacement wheels for suitcases.

  • Choose an eco-friendly piece of luggage, which has been made from recycled material. Many manufacturers now use recycled polycarbonate, PET, or polyester for the outside or for the inner lining of the suitcase.

If you rarely need a large suitcase whilst on holiday you can also consider borrowing a suitcase from family or friends.


If you already own a suitcase then you should keep using it so long as it is functional. If you are looking to buy a new suitcase or backpack, make sure to choose one that is made from environmentally friendly material.

Conclusion: travel more environmentally friendly by travelling light and plastic-free

Even whilst packing your suitcase you can reduce your carbon footprint and take a step towards a zero-waste holiday. Instead of buying disposable travel-sized products, choose plastic-free reusable alternatives that will last you a lot longer. This will help you to save money and protect the environment. Also, make sure to only pack things that you will really need so that you can reduce the weight of your luggage and thus help to reduce your carbon footprint for that journey. Travelling like a minimalist is not only more convenient for you, but it is also more environmentally friendly.

Discover more articles:



(accessed on 25.04.2022)

(accessed on 25.04.2022)

(accessed on 25.04.2022)

(accessed on 25.04.2022)

Image sources: Peshkova Siiankovskaia