Traveling Without Trash

“Waste Free, Travel Free.” That should be a mantra that tourists and travelers should live by, because it makes sense. If you avoid making too much waste during your trip, then you can travel relaxed and stress-free! You could even avoid being penalized or going viral (after all, there are other tourists and they might record you throwing stuff away). What’s more, this also applies to your house, because it could actually generate waste even while you’re not at home!

“Man throwing trash in river bashed in social media”. Not a tourist, but you get my point.

So, what can you do to avoid bringing trash while traveling? Lauren Singer of wrote an excellent article titled “How To Travel Without Waste: Tips For The Eco-conscious Traveler” and we would like to share her points with you, with our own explanations. (The full link to her website is here:

  1. Book direct flights if you can. Avoid unnecessary expenses in your flight ticket by booking direct flights. You can also avoid additional fuel emissions when doing this.
  2. Offset your emissions. If you’re willing to shoulder your part in offsetting carbon emissions during your flight, feel free to check that option while booking. Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, and Air Asia offer the offset option (usually found at the part where you add meals or luggage or when you choose seats), and they use the money you gave for planting trees and doing other environmental projects that could offset their airlines’ carbon footprint.
  3. Pack lightly and efficiently. Budget travelers know this by heart. Why bother with additional baggage when you can pack your items using your hand-carry bag only? By doing this, you also help in lightening up your mode of transportation (whether by land, sea, or air), which helps in reducing its fuel emissions.
  4. A day or two before you leave, go through your perishable food. If you’re going out of town for some time, chances are the food in your house (even those in the refrigerator) will be wasted by the time you return. Avoid letting them rot away; as the article suggested, you could blend the fruits into a smoothie while you can give away some to your neighbors (unless there are other people in the house, in which case let them have it). Preparing the food prior your departure reduces the risk of food being thrown away, which is very wasteful.
  5. Put your home “to sleep” before leaving. Like any conscious homeowner, you know that plugged appliances, even if turned off, consume electricity, which will reflect in your bill (or warn you that your kuryente load is almost used up). Unplug anything that isn’t worth keeping plugged, or better yet, switch off the main switch from your house’s electrical board. This also reduces the chances of fire, since unattended circuitry is a potential fire hazard. Furthermore, check your water supply for leakages; shut down the main valve if necessary.
  6. Pack snacks for the flight + bring a reusable water bottle + reusable coffee cup + travel utensils. Sanitation is key. Why risk eating food that who knows how it might have been prepared, when you can eat food that you made yourself? This is useful especially during flights, since inflight meals tend to be expensive and unsatisfying/unappetizing. (However, you don’t have to do this to the extreme, that is, bringing your own food when you’re supposed to be having a gastronomical adventure; you’re just being a killjoy and burdening yourself with additional weight (food isn’t light to carry around, after all). Feel free to contact us at Atomic Traveller if you need local food recommendations.) Meanwhile, bringing reusable utensils and containers for drinks effectively reduces your trash while traveling, because you’re not leaving a trail of plastic cups, plastic spoons, and plastic forks for every meal you’re having. This helps not only you but the place you visit as well.
  7. Wear layers for the flight. In the Philippines, most destinations aren’t cold (except upland tourist spots such as Baguio), so this tip might not be applicable. However, some airplanes tend to have cold temperatures, and you can make the best out of this by doubling your clothing or using other clothing items as pillows or blankets while on flight.
  8. Go paperless for boarding passes + itineraries. Printing these documents are time-consuming and wasteful, since you only use them twice (once for your onward flight and once for your return flight) – you even use them once only if your flight is one-way. If you don’t have a printer in your house, you might even have to go to a computer shop and shell out some cash. So why bother? After all, as long as you can show any requesting authority (the security guard or the check-in counter attendant) a clear screenshot of your itinerary, you’re good to go. If you want, you can download the app for your airline so that you can show your boarding pass using the app (which is more credible than screenshots).
  9. Avoid snacks on the flight + be selective about beverages. Oh, this was partly discussed in No. 6 above. As already mentioned, inflight meals tend to be expensive yet unsatisfying, so be cautious about them.
  10. Save this checklist for the day you travel. The original article offers a checklist based on all the items mentioned above, so go visit them to see the list!

Aside from these tips, what else can you do? Just avoid littering the place where you’re going. Locate the trash cans once you arrive at your destination so that you know where to throw stuff away as soon as possible. If there’s no waste bin, you’ll have to stow your trash inside your bag in the meantime. Avoid throwing away plastic bags since they might prove useful in temporarily keeping your trash. Unless you have to, don’t keep appliances running on (including the air-conditioning unit) when you’re out of your room. All in all, be responsible for your surroundings.

So that’s it! Do you have any other tips/suggestions? Feel free to tell us. Happy traveling to all Atomic Travellers!