How To Reduce Food Waste When You Travel

Having the opportunity and the ability to wander freely across the world is a privilege. Many travellers want to continue their good ‘home’ practices of reducing their food waste whilst they travel, but how do you do it?

It isn’t as difficult as you may think. Food wastage is a common problem that is often generated when we aren’t being mindful of our impact. A few simple tips and you will be well on your way to minimising your food waste. Something as minimal as enjoying your coffee at the café can reduce food and plastic waste significantly!

Disclaimer: Travel For Change is a member of Amazon Affiliates and other affiliate brands. If you click on the links in this guide and decide to make a purchase, I may make a small commission in return at no additional cost to you.

Key Facts On Food Wastage:

- Annually we waste 1.3 billion tons of food – enough to feed 3 billion people

- Fruits and vegetables have the highest wastage rates of any food

- Food waste contributes to major exhaustion of resources, including water, land, energy, and labour

This guide is here to show you 10 simple ways to reduce your food wastage and support sustainable travel goals.

Keep It Cool

A cooler bag or box might seem like an impossible accessory to travel with. You can purchase Lightweight bags, wraps and boxes that will fit in your camper van, in the back of your car, on your motorbike or even in your backpack. Check out the PackIt Freezable Snack Bag made from non-toxic canvas and perfect for travellers.

You can store your veggie sticks and fruit snacks, nut butter, plant milk and leftovers that you can grab while you are on the move. Not only does it keep your food chilled, but protects it from spillages, being knocked around, and bruised at the bottom of your bag. It also saves you time and money!

Take The Leftovers

If you've just discovered your favourite restaurant, but the portions are too much for one sitting. Just ask the restaurant staff to pack the leftovers into your Reusable Container so you can eat it for lunch the next day.

Depending on where you are, portions and meals vary greatly and if you are travelling solo you might find yourself with lots of food leftover on the table. Take it home and enjoy it later.

Check to see if your accommodation provides breakfast. Hotels put on a huge array of food every morning for guests and much of this amazing food goes to waste. Kindly ask if you can pack the leftover food for lunch such as the fresh fruit, pastries, and bread.

Not staying at a hotel? That's okay, hostels and guesthouses often have a simple complimentary breakfast of coffee, tea, fruit and toast. Check if you can take extra when you leave to explore.

Donate To A Local Food Bank

It is estimated that American’s throw out 133 billion pounds of food each year! If we do the numbers over 40% of the food purchased is going straight to the bin! If you really can’t store the food, then across the world are various food banks, community projects and sadly, many people without a fixed home.

Before throwing away your food, consider how you can help another and pay it forward. Fresh fruit and vegetable produce is a common item that is discarded in the trash but it can be donated and put to good use which keeps it out of the landfill. 

Help The Street Dogs & Cats

In normal circumstances, you may have the option to compost your waste, but this can be a little tricky if you are travelling. Why not feed a stray animal? There are millions of stray and abandoned animals that roam the streets seeking sustenance to keep them going for another day.

It is common to see travellers feeding the stray animals across many parts of the world, though it is not encouraged to do so close by the cafe or restaurant. Instead, find a safe space to leave your leftover food and make sure it is an appropriate food item for an animal to eat.

If you see an animal in need please try and provide them with a container of fresh water. If you feel the animal requires further attention you can check the local animal rescue services in your region.

Enjoy Cooking

Suppose you are staying in a camper van or in a place where there is even a tiny kitchen. In that case, you can plan your meals very easily and therefore keep food waste to an absolute minimum. How about something simple like a healthy salad roll or wrap?

When you go shopping, try the local fruit and vegetable markets, you'll find that most of the goods are sold loose so you won’t have to dispose of any nasty plastic wrapping.

You can cook up a meal on a budget, and split the meal into individual portions that will last you a couple of days. The key to shopping is little and often. Meal planning can be hard on the road but if you have the chance to shop seasonal produce then you can save time and reduce food waste.

Consider purchasing a Vegan meal planner book for inspiration and easy recipes!

Try Organic Reusable Food Wrap

Beeswax wraps are a pretty replacement for plastic wrap and container, they can be used as storage for leftovers and snacks. Made from natural ingredients, they smell amazing and can fit a variety of bowls and jars to keep food fresh.

If you cant travel with Beeswax wraps or prefer not to use them then aim to move away from using cling wrap or single-use bags. Instead, consider reusable, Ziplock silicone alternatives that will keep food fresh and prevent it from drying out.

Buy A Reusable Water Bottle And Coffee Tumbler

Purchase an Eco-friendly Reusable water bottle or an Eco-travel mug for hot drinks such as coffee and tea or to keep smoothies perfectly chilled. Minimising the amount of single-use cups going to landfill is really important and the good news is you can save the environment one cup of coffee at a time.

Reusable glass or bamboo cups are beautiful to look at and suit all kinds of travel budgets. They also make excellent gift ideas for family and friends. A reusable Luxe Hydration Bottle will stop you from having to buy single-use plastic bottles as you travel! Clip one onto your backpack and you are all set for a sustainable adventure!

Share With The Community

If you are travelling as a group, consider planning and sharing a meal! Each person can bring their favourite dish to the table. Not only will this allow you to experience a vast array of different flavours and local cuisine, but its much more fun to share dishes which in turn reduces waste.

Travelling brings many ways to connect with new people and you might find there are many others out there looking to travel sustainably and Eco-friendly.

Potluck, community dinner, trivia nights, these are fantastic ways to reduce food waste by sharing what you have with those you meet in your next destination.

Final Thoughts

Reducing food waste whilst is a simple way to travel more sustainably. Once you have purchased your reusable items for storage and dining, you can then get to work at minimising waste and plastic at the same time!

The good news is that Eco-friendly alternatives offer fantastic value for money and they make amazing travel gifts for family and friends. Just remember to take them with you in your bag!

If you are travelling without the ability to bring reusable containers, that is okay, try to embrace some of the tips mentioned in this guide. Start enjoying your coffee at the cafe, donating to a local food bank or sharing a meal with your new friends.